Financial Aid Refigured

The College announced two significant changes to financial aid on September 1. As of September 2012, families with incomes below $65,000 will be able to send their children to Harvard at no parental cost, an increase from the current $60,000 ceiling (established in 2006); this change applies to returning undergraduates and those matriculating with the class of 2016. (According to a chart on the financial-aid website, close to 1,200 scholarship students now in the College are from families with incomes of $60,000 or less.)

At the same time, the expected parental contribution for newly enrolling students and their successors will grade up from 0 to 10 percent of income for families whose incomes fall between $65,000 and $150,000; the prior ceiling for this formula, introduced in late 2007, was $180,000. Those families in the range of $150,000 to $180,00 will, according to the news release, “be asked to pay slightly more than 10 percent of income”—grading up to 16.5 percent, an increase of as much as $11,700 in their annual bill compared to the prior formula. (According to the website, slightly fewer than 600 families of students now receiving scholarship aid have incomes from $140,000 to $180,000.)

The College’s financial-aid payout—$166 million this year—will likely increase even with the new scholarship parameters, given that the term bill for tuition, room, and board ($52,652 now) will continue to rise. Part of the aid, in turn, is funded by the unrestricted tuition funds the College collects. 

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