To keep Harvard College affordable for students from every financial background, Harvard College will increase its financial aid budget for the 2013–14 academic year by $10 million, or 5.8 percent, bringing the total to a record $182 million. Since 2007, Harvard’s investment in financial aid for undergraduates at the College has increased by 88 percent.

More than 60 percent of Harvard College students annually receive need-based scholarship aid, paying on average $12,000 toward the cost of tuition, room, and board. As a result, approximately 20 percent of families pay nothing and many College students graduate debt-free.

“Despite the budget challenges posed by less-than-robust endowment returns and threatened federal funding cuts, I’m pleased that we have again renewed our commitment to making a Harvard College education affordable for any student, regardless of financial means,” Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean Michael D. Smith said. “Our message is simple. Getting admitted to Harvard College is difficult.  Affording Harvard College shouldn’t be. By enabling us to attract the best and the brightest to Harvard from all backgrounds, our financial aid program strengthens the experiences of all our students, including those not receiving support.

“Much of the credit goes to the enormous generosity of our committed alumni, who donate millions of dollars each year to support financial aid at the College,” Smith continued.  “In doing so, they form an important partnership that spans generations of Harvard students and graduates, and which will continue when today’s students ultimately give back to help future generations.”

Since 2004, Harvard has dramatically reduced the amount that families are expected to pay to send a child to Harvard College. Harvard has a policy of “zero contribution” from families with normal assets making $65,000 or less annually. Families with typical assets and incomes up to $150,000 will pay from zero to 10 percent of their income, depending on individual family circumstances. Families with annual incomes of more than $150,000 may still qualify for need-based assistance. Students are also asked to contribute to the cost of their education through term-time and summer work.

For students not receiving need-based aid, the total cost of attendance (including tuition, room, board, and fees) is scheduled to increase by 3.5 percent, to $56,407. At an institution such as Harvard with a generous, need-based financial aid program, this “sticker price” is not necessarily what families pay. Current students, prospective applicants, and their families can estimate their personal costs by using Harvard’s Net Price Calculator.