7 Schools That Drop Tuition Costs for Students in Need

With new tuition changes, more students may afford to walk Stanford University's vaunted campus. Kazuhisa OTSUBO [CC by 2.0]/Flickr

Stanford University made headlines recently after announcing that parents who make less than $125,000 per year won’t have to pay a dime toward tuition. And parents making under $65,000 will get free room and board for their child.

"Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances," said Provost John Etchemendy in a statement. "Our generous financial aid program accomplishes that, and these enhancements will help even more families, including those in the middle class, afford Stanford without going into debt. Over half of our undergraduates receive financial aid from Stanford, and we are pleased that this program will make it even easier for students to thrive here."

According to CNN, a typical year at Stanford without financial aid could cost up to $65,000, making it, and other similarly priced schools, too expensive for many students to attend.

Stanford follows in a long line of universities with hefty endowments that are using their extra funds to help educate students who might not be able to afford the tuition. Or, who might still attend but end up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.

Other schools who have adopted reduced or free tuition policies include:

Harvard: One of the world’s most famous universities states on its website, “This is simple: anyone can afford Harvard.” To make Harvard affordable, if a family makes less than $65,000 per year, it’s free. If a family makes under $80,000, financial aid is greatly expanded.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT notes on its website that families that make $75,000 and under will be given funding that will allow them to attend the school for free. In 2013-2014, 91 percent of MIT’s undergraduates received $125.7 million in financial aid from a variety of sources, MIT being the largest contributor.

Macaulay Honors College at City University of New York (CUNY): All students at Macaulay receive a full undergraduate tuition scholarship, a laptop computer, and a cultural passport to New York arts and cultural venues.

Curtis Institute of Music: At this prestigious music school all students are given merit-based full-tuition scholarships no matter how much or how little money a family has. In the 2014-2015 academic year, scholarships were $38,728 for undergraduate students and $50,701 for graduate students.

College of the Ozarks: Students at this school are also given free tuition. The College of the Ozarks does require that students take part in a work program. Every student must work for 15 hours per week and complete two 40-hour work weeks. The part-time work combined with federal and state grants and the College of the Ozarks scholarship make up a student’s complete tuition costs.

Berea College: Every student at Berea is given a Tuition Promise Scholarship. This means that the school is committed to providing an education to its students at no cost. Tuition for 2014-2015 totaled $23,400.

Many other schools including Yale, Columbia, Brown, Duke, Vanderbilt, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Texas A&M;, and Cornell offer similar scholarships and price cuts for students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to attend.