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For Second Year in a Row, Harvard College Expands Financial Aid as Cost of Attendance Rises 3.5 Percent

The Harvard Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is located at 5 James St.
The Harvard Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is located at 5 James St. By Santiago A. Saldivar
By Michelle N. Amponsah and Emma H. Haidar, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard College plans to increase tuition and expand financial aid for the 2023-24 academic year, raising the threshold for cost-free attendance to $85,000 a year, according to a press release Thursday.

The change in financial aid — a $10,000 increase from last year’s threshold of $75,000 — comes as the College plans to raise the total cost of attendance by 3.5 percent to $79,450.

“Building on its long-standing commitment to increasing opportunity for all talented students regardless of their economic resources, the University is announcing another expansion of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI) for low- and middle-income families,” the Admissions and Financial Aid Office wrote in its announcement.

The Admissions and Financial Aid Office estimated that roughly 25 percent of families will not have to contribute to tuition, room, or board due to the expansion.

Families making under $85,000 annually will also receive a $2,000 stipend for “move-in costs and other expenses incurred in the transition to College,” continuing an initiative first launched by the College in 2016.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 called the changes to the College’s financial aid program “revolutionary,” citing the stipend and the reduced student earnings expectation.

“I, as a first-generation, huge financial aid recipient, am thrilled with what the College was able to do,” Fitzsimmons said in an interview Thursday. “And the context of it is a very challenging financial picture in the country and in the world right now.”

The College first eliminated the student summer work expectation from financial aid rewards in 2020, replacing it with scholarship funds. Last year, the College increased the threshold to $75,000 from $65,000 and provided a $2,000 grant to students whose family income fell below the threshold.

“The further expansion of our financial aid program underscores our continued, unwavering commitment to making Harvard affordable for all deserving students,” said Director of Financial Aid Jake Kaufmann ’93 in Thursday’s press release.

The College’s total cost of attendance — which currently sits at $76,763 for the 2022-23 academic year — has also risen steadily in the past decade. The College typically hikes tuition by around 3 to 4 percent each year.

More than $3 billion has been awarded in undergraduate financial aid since the creation of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, which was established in 2004 and seeks to “raise awareness of college affordability for students interested in all kinds of colleges and universities.”

Prior to expansions of the financial aid program made in 2022 and 2023, the College last increased financial aid during the 2012-13 academic year.

—Staff writer Michelle N. Amponsah can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @mnamponsah.

—Staff writer Emma H. Haidar can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HaidarEmma.

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