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Stanford’s Free Tuition and What BC Can Learn From It

Recently, it was announced that Stanford University would be offering free tuition to students whose parents made less than $125,000 a year.

This adjustment expands on Stanford's previous policy of offering free tuition to students from families making less than $100,000, thus including more students from typically "middle-class" and "upper-middle-class" families. Although this might not seem like a significant change—or particularly newsworthy—it is remarkable that a university can afford to offer tuition to such a substantial percentage of its student population.

Although it would be nice for every university to institute policies like Stanford’s, it is near impossible. Stanford's endowment is the 4th largest in the country, at around $21 billion, whereas Boston College’s endowment sits at around $2.2 Billion, ranking 40th overall, though 1st among the Jesuit schools.

Photo Courtesy of Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago / Facebook

Photo courtesy of Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago / Facebook

Jesuit universities in particular might seem like appropriate candidates to strive for generous financial aid. In fact, Loyola University is opening a groundbreaking Jesuit community college, Arrupe College, and expanding the dialogue for holistic, rigorous and, most importantly, free education. However, though the discourse on free education seeks to expand towards the general public, the plan for Arrupe College is centered on serving only those with significant financial difficulties.

Boston College is not an inexpensive school. The total cost for a year at BC (including tuition, room and board, etc.) hovers around $60,000 a year and has proven to be a substantial burden on many students. With BC’s relatively meager endowment, it is not surprising that the university can’t afford to offer free tuition. However, BC can afford to streamline the process, simplifying and alleviating some of the stress. By mimicking Stanford’s straightforward approach to financial aid, a university like BC can make financing an education less stressful.

BC's Office of Financial Aid lays out its current aid options on its website. Though students shouldn't expect to see free tuition anytime soon, future changes in BC's financial aid may be on the horizon.

The Office of Financial Aid could not be reached for a comment but the writer will update the piece when a representative is available to comment.

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Originally from New Jersey, welcoming Boston as my second home. I let soccer dictate my schedule. I cover events at Boston College and city news. Drop me a line or your two cents.