Rice University Announces Free Tuition for Low and Middle-Income Students

September 18, 2018, 1:25 PM UTC

Rice University will offer free tuition to low- and middle-income students starting in the fall of 2019. And it’s cutting costs for many others as well.

The school, based near Houston, Texas, has unveiled The Rice Investment, a new financial plan that will offer significant tuition breaks to incoming and current students. Those who are accepted to the school and whose families make less than $65,000 per year will be eligible for a grant that covers tuition and fees, room and board.

Students whose families make between $65,000 and $130,000 per year could receive full-tuition scholarships. And those whose families earn between $130,000 and $200,000 could see their tuition bills cut in half.

The school’s current annual tuition cost is $46,000.

“Talent deserves opportunity,” said Rice President David Leebron in a statement. “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 college 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. The university is also undertaking a $150 million fundraising campaign to support the program.

The average cost nationwide of college tuition and fees in the 2017-2018 school year was $34,740 at private schools, according to the College Board. That has more and more Americans wondering if college degrees are worth the cost.

As a result, more schools are looking at ways to make school more affordable. Detroit, two years ago, offered to give two free years of community college to all high school graduates.