College tuition is still a rising concern for domestic students. Carrying student loans has also become a major obstacle for people to achieve higher education.
Rice University officials announced Tuesday, September 18 that they will provide full tuition scholarships to undergraduate domestic students from low- and middle-income backgrounds, which states as the latest effort by a major university to respond to rising concerns about soaring higher-education costs and burdensome student debt.
What Is Happening?
Rice University, based in Houston, Texas, has just unveiled The Rice Investment, a new financial plan that will offer significant tuition breaks to incoming and current students who come from low- and middle-income families starting Fall 2019.
Rice is frequently ranked as one of the nation’s best values among private schools. The school’s annual tuition is currently at $46,600.
“Talent deserves opportunity,” the university president David Leebron said, according to Rice News & Media. “We’ve built on our already generous financial aid to provide more support to lower-income and middle-class families and ensure that these students have access to the best in private higher education.”
The Rice Investment is part of a larger strategic plan the university announced earlier this year to address student debt and the costs of higher education. There’s no cap on the number of students who can apply to the program, which will be funded via the school’s endowment.
“This bold step reflects our founding principles,” Leebron continued in the statement. “When Rice opened its doors in 1912, we didn’t charge tuition. Rice changed its charter in 1965 to begin charging tuition, but immediately began offering scholarships to eligible students. This significantly builds on that legacy and on our commitment to make a Rice education accessible and affordable for students from all backgrounds.
Who Is Eligible?
Under the Rice Investment program, full tuition scholarships will be awarded to degree-seeking undergraduates with family incomes between $65,000 and $130,000 who are eligible to receive need-based financial aid. In addition, students who come from families with incomes between $130,000 and $200,000 will receive scholarships covering at least half of their tuition. Students whose families make below $65,000 will be able to receive grant aid that covers their full- tuitions and mandatory fees, room and board.
The university is also undertaking a $150 million fundraising campaign to support the program.
Because talent deserves opportunity, we're dramatically expanding scholarships for middle class families. The new program takes effect in fall 2019 and will impact all degree-seeking undergraduates.
— Rice University (@RiceUniversity) September 18, 2018
“The Rice Investment is just that – an investment in the limitless promise of all students who demonstrate talent, initiative and drive regardless of their background or their ability to pay for college,” Leebron said. “We are determined to continue to reflect our roots and make our education affordable for all admitted students, whatever their financial background.”
According to College Board data, the average price of attending a private research university was just under $60,000 before financial aid. The median income in the U.S. for families headed by parents of a typical age with college-age students was $90,120, according to 2016 U.S. Census data.