Villanova Should Be Free for Families Earning Less Than $100,000

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Olivia Pasquale

The University currently has no financial threshold that triggers a full tuition financial aid package.

Zoe Manning, Staff Writer

On Sept. 8, 2022, Princeton announced that tuition would be free starting next year for most families with an income of less than $100,000 per year, increasing the threshold from $65,000. Room and board would also be included in this aid package, giving full financial support to families who are below the threshold.

Currently, all of the Ivy League institutions, in addition to other universities, such as Duke, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and the University of North Carolina, provide excellent financial support to low-income families through various programs in which a majority of tuition is covered. These aid packages are meant to lessen the financial burden that attending college can put on families and also heighten a student’s experience during their undergraduate years by impacting their financial choices. For example, experiences such as studying abroad will become more feasible due to these improved aid programs.

Financial programs that cover a large portion of tuition can also affect students’ plans post-graduation since low-cost undergraduate tuition may allow graduate school to be a possibility. Many students are thrust into the workforce immediately in order to pay off large amounts of student loans, but now they will have more freedom in choosing a route after college. 

In the 2022-2023 school year, the estimated annual freshman cost of attendance was $77,705 for students across all colleges. Though Villanova is need-blind for all domestic applicants and does provide financial aid, a sum this large can be difficult for families making less than $100,000 annually to afford for four years. 

According to a representative from Villanova University, “Villanova considers numerous factors—of which family income is one—when awarding financial aid packages. There is currently no financial threshold that triggers a full tuition financial aid package.” 

Therefore, Villanova should follow in Princeton’s footsteps and provide free tuition for families earning under $100,000 annually as it will encourage more students to attend college as a whole and increase the graduation rate. 

Freshman Morgan Maselli shared that she would be in support of Villanova choosing to expand its financial aid program and allow some students to attend for free.

“I think that free tuition for families earning under $100,000 a year is a great initiative because everyone deserves to have access to a great education, regardless of their financial circumstances,” Maselli said.

This financial aid program would allow more students who may have previously believed they would be unable to attend Villanova due to financial issues to enroll in school here, and more students would be ensured that they reach graduation.

However, some students feel that this initiative may create tension, as it can be unfair for other students whose families make close to $100,000 annually.

“It is difficult to distinguish where the cutoff should be for free tuition,” freshman Marina Saad said. “Families who are right above the $100,000 mark may think it is unfair that they are not receiving as great of a benefit compared to families who make slightly less than them.” 

Though it can be difficult to please all families by creating a cutoff for free tuition, implementing a program such as this can reap great benefits, making the college years a less stressful time for families and allowing students to make the most of their time at Villanova.