Monday, December 01, 2008

Top Universities Liberalize Financial Aid Policies

The outrageous cost of higher education in America just got knocked down a few notches.

In tow with Stanford University, both Yale and Harvard have recently announced plans to make tuition at their institutions much more affordable for Americans with low and middle incomes.

At Stanford, students whose parents make less than $60K per year will soon pay no tuition and nothing for room and board, while those those whose families earn up to $100K per year still still pay zip for tuition.

Under the new plans, the average student attending Yale will pay half what he or she paid before. Students at Harvard with less than $60K in annual parental income will now pay zero to attend (though work study will be required), and parents with incomes up to $180K will pay only 10% of their combined incomes for each child in attendance.

Other major universities nation-wide are following suit, increasing aid to middle and low income families and substituting grants for student loans so students can graduate without having to shoulder a crushing debt burden.

On Planet Earth in 2008, access to higher education divides countries that "have" from those that "have not." While other developed nations offer a free college education to any citizen who can cut the mustard academically, here in the U.S. the unmanageably high cost of college has been shutting off economic and cultural advancement to large segments of our population for some time, now.

It's about time this untenable situation was addressed and remedied. Let's hope the recent trend toward making higher education affordable for all qualified students in America continues and accelerates. Fixing this problem is clearly a matter of national economic competitiveness, and therefore, ultimately, a matter of national security.


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