Fee generosity?

In the context of reports about bursary support in English universities it is instructive to consider some recent developments from the Ivy League:

First, from the Chronicle:

Yale University said on Monday that it would reduce the average cost of studying in New Haven, Conn., by at least half for families with annual incomes below $120,000. The announcement came just a month after Harvard University announced a similar plan to reduce debt among students from middle- and upper-middle-income families. Under Yale’s plan, most families who earn $60,000 to $120,000 will contribute 1 to 10 percent of their income per year. Families with earnings of $120,000 to $200,000 will pay an average of 10 percent of their income per year, seeing a reduction of about 33 percent. Parents earning less than $60,000 will not have to contribute to their child’s education.

In an interview, Richard C. Levin, Yale’s president, said that the university’s leaders had been considering the move for a couple of years but that two factors had influenced the timing of the announcement. One was that federal lawmakers have recently urged colleges to spend a larger percentage of their endowments on student aid. The other was the growth of Yale’s wealth: The university had a 28-percent return on its $22.5-billion endowment in the last fiscal year.

Interesting that, whilst there is no OFFA equivalent, nevertheless there is a perceived pressure to improve student aid provision. And the scale of the endowment remains breathtaking.

And from the Economist, a report that Yale is simply following Harvard:

yale logo

Yale, Harvard’s bitterest rival, revealed its plans on January 14th. Students whose families make less than $60,000 a year will pay nothing at all. Families earning up to $200,000 a year will have to pay an average of 10% of their incomes. The university will expand its financial-assistance budget by 43%, to over $80m. Harvard will have a similar arrangement for families making up to $180,000. That makes the price of going to Harvard or Yale comparable to attending a state-run university for middle- and upper-income students. The universities will also not require any student to take out loans to pay for their tuition, a policy introduced by Princeton in 2001 and by the University of Pennsylvania just after Harvard’s announcement. No applicant who gains admission, officials say, should feel pressured to go elsewhere because he or she can’t afford the fees.

Which is good news for those who get in and pretty easy to do for Yale and Harvard given their endowments but it is no doubt the subject of much grumbling from other, less wealthy, institutions (and Princeton, where they did this seven years ago).

(with thanks to Caryl T for the spot)

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