March 22, 2007 / 12:27 AM / 12 years ago

Harvard gets more expensive, tuition up 3.9 pct

BOSTON (Reuters) - Harvard University’s undergraduate tuition will rise 3.9 percent next year to $31,456, increasing at a pace nearly double the U.S. rate of inflation, a Harvard statement showed on Wednesday.

The total cost of tuition, room, board and student services fees at the Ivy League school will rise 4.5 percent in the 2007 academic year to $45,620, Harvard said.

The total cost for a year at the oldest U.S. institution of higher learning is almost double the average undergraduate tuition at a private U.S college, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Department of Education.

More than two-thirds of Harvard’s entering class receives financial aid including scholarships and loans, while more than half qualify for scholarship assistance and an average total aid package of close to $34,000.

That brings the average cost of a Harvard tuition down to about $12,000, the Cambridge, Massachusetts university said.

The Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, announced by former president Lawrence Summers in 2004, slashed the amount low-income students must pay to attend the prestigious school.

This year’s freshman class has 30 percent more students from lower- and middle-income backgrounds than the entering class of 2004, Harvard said. Parents of admitted students whose annual income is less than $60,000 are not expected to contribute anything to tuition and fees, it added.

Harvard gave no reason for the higher tuition.

The university has embarked on a multibillion-dollar campus expansion that aims to turn itself into one of the world’s top hubs for stem-cell research and other life sciences.

The plan, announced in January and dubbed the Allston Initiative, will give a radical new look to Harvard’s campus over the next 50 years in the most ambitious expansion in the school’s 371-year history.

It calls for a science complex, museum space, new student housing, parks and a public square on more than 250 acres (100 hectares) of land, adding a campus in Boston’s Allston district across the Charles River from its main Cambridge campus.

Harvard, the world’s richest university with an endowment of nearly $30 billion, has stopped short of saying how much it would cost or who would pay for it.

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