Harvard College Increases Undergraduate Costs by 3.5 Percent

The cost to attend Harvard College, the undergraduate division of Harvard University, will increase 3.5 percent for the 2012-13 academic year.

The $54,496 price, up from $52,652 for this year, includes tuition, fees and room and board and will affect students who don’t receive need-based financial aid. Harvard will increase its aid budget to a record $172 million, according to a statement today from the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based school.

More than 60 percent of undergraduate students are expected to receive a grant based on financial need. Families with normal assets who make $65,000 or less aren’t required to contribute to their child’s education, and those with incomes of as much as $150,000 pay from zero to 10 percent of their income.

“Need-blind admissions, supported by generous financial aid, is the bedrock of Harvard’s effort to attract the most talented undergraduates in America and across the globe, regardless of their ability to pay,” Michael D. Smith, dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences, said in the statement.

Harvard, one of the eight Ivy League schools in the northeastern U.S., is the wealthiest school in higher education with an endowment of $32 billion as of June 30. Alumni of Harvard College include Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein. President Barack Obama is a graduate of Harvard’s law school.

Lower Threshold

Harvard lowered the threshold for those who pay from zero to 10 percent of family income to $150,000 from $180,000, beginning with the class that will graduate in 2016. Those families will be asked “to pay slightly more than 10 percent of income,” Harvard said on its website in September 2011. Also beginning with the class that enters this September, the school increased the income threshold for families that have no contribution to $65,000 from $60,000.

“These adjustments help to meet heightened demand for aid precipitated by ongoing challenges in the United States and the global economies,” Jeff Neal, a Harvard spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Demand for aid is most acute at the lower end of the economic spectrum, and Harvard modified its policy and expanded its investment to respond to this need.”

Applicants to Harvard College will find out on March 29 if they have been accepted.

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