April 4, 2015

Stanford University: Redefining Who Pays For College.

stanford university

As a new employee of Stanford University, I’ve spent much of the last few weeks becoming acquainted with the values and missions that make this institution successful.

Thus far, my education on the topic has largely centered on the faculty/staff side of things as related to my position, so I was delighted to take a moment and learn of a student-centric policy that has recently been expanded:

Zero EFC for qualifying families.

For those of us who are either long past our undergraduate days and/or without college-aged children, EFC is shorthand for the Expected Family Contribution—and if you want to attend college, your EFC is extremely important.

It is the tool used to determine how much a student and their families should be responsible to pay for the cost of college. Of course, the higher your EFC, the more you are responsible for paying, so reducing the EFC to zero means you pay nothing.

If you’re a college kid or a parent, “pay nothing” is suddenly a big deal.

Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, Stanford has announced it will expand two of it’s already generous financial aid programs. First, for undergraduates with a family income of under $125,000 and typical assets, the EFC toward tuition will be zero.

For family incomes of under $65,000 and typical assets, the EFC toward both tuition as well as room and board will be zero. These limits have been increased from $100,00 and $60,000, respectively.

Most importantly, per Stanford’s news release of the expanded policy, scholarships or grant funds will be used to pay for these costs instead, meaning students won’t simply be left to either pay for it themselves or take out extra loans.

However, students will still be expected to pay $5,000 per year of their own monies, perhaps from savings or part-time work.

Stanford University, a private institution, has long been a forerunner in the belief that education should be available without barriers of financial status.

Provost John Etchemendy has previously shared,

“Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances,”

and the proof is in the pudding.

In a February, 2015 news release, Stanford informed us that “a total of 67% [of students] receive scholarship support from either Stanford or external sources,” and even better, an estimated 77% of undergraduates from the institution graduate with no student debt at all. Given that nearly 70% of graduates from both public and nonprofit colleges across the country carry debt—significant debt, at that—the benefit of these financial aid programs are astounding.

While I’m no longer a student and can’t appreciate these cost benefits myself, I can only imagine if these had been in place when I was applying for colleges well over a decade ago and how much of a burden would have been lifted had I been so fortunate to have an expected zero EFC—my family and I could have easily saved tens of thousands of dollars over the course of my education.

This new policy will release low and middle class families of expected contributions and open doors for youth all over the world.

All in all, I feel proud to say I work for an institution that is making significant strides in equalizing financial options for quality students. Acceptance rates at Stanford remain strict, but with hard work and superior motivation, programs such as these are remaining accessible.

Best of luck class of 2020, and welcome!

For more information visit here or here.



Hey, Uncle Sam! Bank on Students to Stabilize Our Economy.


Author: Trish Zornio

Editor: Emma Ruffin

Photo: Flickr


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