Harvard Offers Free Tuition to Low-Income Students

With a yearly tuition of about $65,000, a Harvard education is far out of reach for the poorest American families. That's why the university recently announced that students from low-income families don't have to worry about how to pay for it – they can get it for free.

(Photo credit: Patricia Drury / Flickr)

The announcement came in late September that the offer stands for undergraduates. Previous Harvard President Larry Summers said the college should go out of its way to open up the doors to low-income families, since they represent a small fraction of elite academia.

"When only 10 percent of the students in elite higher education come from families in the lower half of the income distribution, we are not doing enough," Summers said. "We are not doing enough in bringing elite higher education to the lower half of the income distribution."

His successor, Drew Faust, continued the program, which extends to families who earn $60,000 or less a year with an honor student graduating from high school soon. 

Per the Harvard Gazette:

“We expect that nearly 60 percent of the students admitted to the Class of 2017 will need financial assistance in order to attend,” Sarah C. Donahue, director of financial aid, tells the student newspaper.  “Their families will pay an average of only $12,000 per year. About 20 percent of Harvard families, those with normal assets making $65,000 or less annually, will pay nothing at all.” 

For information about how to apply for the program, visit Harvard's financial aid page.

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