This University Is Offering Free Tuition For Families That Make Less Than $130K

Rice University
Flickr | faungg's photos

The cost of attaining a degree from a university is enough to make anyone question whether it’s really worth it. The U.S. is reportedly one of the most expensive places to send your child to college, with parents paying a yearly average of $58,464 toward their child’s education (including tuition fees, transport, books and accommodations).

That’s incredibly high considering the median household income in the U.S. was $56,516 not too long ago.

But all hope is not lost: Rice University, one of the nation’s top 20 universities, has announced that it will now offer free tuition for students from middle-income families. The Rice Investment program will offer students with family incomes between $65,000 and $130,000 full tuition scholarships.

Moreover, students with family incomes between $130,000 and $200,000 will receive half-scholarships covering 50 percent or more of their tuition. If the family makes below $65,000, not only will the student get a full-tuition scholarship, but they won’t have to pay any fees, with room and board ALSO covered.

rice university photo
Flickr | izoom

“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,” Rice President David Leebron said in a press release.

scholarship photo
Getty Images | Johannes Simon

According to Leebron, the move has been a long time coming as Rice alumni have consistently expressed an interest in keeping tuition affordable at their alma mater. The alumni will play a big role in The Rice Investment as the university readies to launch a $150 million fundraising campaign to support the program.


Leebron pointed out that the move will “continue to reflect [Rice’s] roots,” as the Houston, Texas, school didn’t charge any tuition at all for decades after it first opened in 1912. “Rice changed its charter in 1965 to begin charging tuition, but immediately began offering scholarships to eligible students,” Leebron stated.

college photo
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

While it remains to be seen whether other universities will follow suit (how nice would it be if they did?), it’s inspirational that an influential university like Rice is working toward inclusivity based on merit.

What are your thoughts on this news? Do you think more universities should offer programs like these?

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Chelsea Davis
Chelsea is a freelance journalist based in New York City whose passion revolves around traveling the world, immersing herself in foreign cultures, and of course, eating and drinking everything delicious. She covers all things food, drink and travel and is always up for an adventure, whether that means an adrenaline-pumping excursion or trying a new cuisine. Follow her on Instagram at @cheycheyfromthebay and keep up with her latest work at

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