There’s a small war going on between America's top private colleges and this battle for top students is welcome news for families around the country. Many of these top schools are announcing changes in their financial aid policies that will significantly reduce the cost of college, even for families with six-figure incomes.
New initiatives unveiled this week by Harvard, Yale, Penn, Swarthmore, Williams, and Duke will replace loans with grants in their student aid packages. Students that qualify for financial aid will receive that aid in grants, rather than being required to take out loans.
In addition, some schools will also cap expected family contributions at 0% to 10% of the family’s earned income. Under a plan announced by Harvard University, families earning more than $60,000 will be expected to pay a small percentage of their annual income for tuition and room and board, rising to 10 percent for those earning between $120,000 and $180,000 a year. Harvard will also no longer consider the equity in a family's home when calculating whether it qualifies for financial aid. This will make the cost for many families attending Harvard no more than $18,000 a year, comparable to that of major public universities.
Furthermore, many California private colleges, such as Cal Tech, Pomona, and California Lutheran University, announced that they will begin matching the college tuition for students who are also admitted to California public universities.
Families are worried about sinking deeper into debt or dipping into retirement savings to cover tuition and many of the top private colleges in the nation are accelerating their efforts to enhance access and affordability. Some of these initiatives include:
- Reducing loans with grants, and changing need-analysis formulas
- Tuition cuts, freezes, and guarantees
- Tuition and student aid matches
- Eliminating loan interest
If you would like a list of these private colleges to read about their price and cost-control initiatives, click the following link to download the PDF document.
Read the NAICU's press release, Private Colleges Innovate to Combat Sticker Shock.