Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.63
Liaison Melissa Maigler
Submission Date July 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Stanford University
PA-8: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.83 / 4.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
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Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

Stanford’s admissions program is need-blind and all undergraduate aid is need-based, with the exception of athletic scholarships. Through the Financial Aid Program, Stanford meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all eligible students. Parents whose total annual income is less than $60,000 and who have assets typical for their income level are not expected to contribute toward educational costs. Parents with income between $60,000 and $100,000 are expected to contribute somewhere between $0 and the cost of room and board, ensuring enough scholarship funds to cover the cost of tuition at a minimum. Students are not expected to borrow to cover their educational costs.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

Early in 2011, Stanford created a new position for a director of diversity and programs for first generation students. In addition to serving as a resource for students, the director’s role includes outreach and coordination among other campus resources to meet the needs of first generation and low income students. Student Affairs staff and academic advising staff coordinate regularly with the Financial Aid Office to ensure availability of resources for students from low-income backgrounds.

A brief description of any programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

A plethora of summer programs are offered on campus to prepare students to attend either Stanford University or the college/university of their choice. Through programs like Stanford Summer Engineering Academy, first offered in 1998 to provide a rigorous introduction to engineering, math, and physical sciences programs for incoming Stanford freshmen and the Stanford College Prep program that partners with the charter East Palo Alto Academy High School to provide resources and support to first-generation and low-income minority students to succeed academically in high school and college, the university is reaching out to both potential Stanford students as well as members of the public in the local area. In summer of 2012 the inaugural Leland Scholars Program was offered to incoming freshmen from under-resourced high schools, at no cost to the students, to ease the transition to Stanford. Lastly, through the Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford students participate in programs that support students in local low-income neighborhoods. Some examples are the East Palo Alto Stanford Academy, Jumpstart, Stanford College Prep, Science in Service, and Ravenswood Reads.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

For the 2012-2013 academic year, Stanford undergraduates received more than $179 million in financial assistance, including over $166 million in scholarships and grants. These funds support the 68% of students at Stanford who receive some form of financial aid. 49% of all students receive need-based scholarships from Stanford. There are two basic criteria to establish eligibility for these funds: students must be admitted to Stanford and demonstrate financial need. Scholarships are used to meet students’ full need, giving all admitted students the opportunity to attend Stanford.

A brief description of any programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

A collection of resources for parents can be found with just one click from Stanford’s home page. A Parents’ Guide is published annually and distributed to all new parents. A parents’ helpline phone number and email address are available for all questions, big and small, year round.

A brief description of any targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

The Office of Undergraduate Admission is committed to outreach to underserved populations. In Fall 2013, admission officers incorporated over 75 visits to Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) as part of the regular travel. In addition, the office maintains a database of over 700 CBO’s and sends regular communications to each CBO. CBO leaders are encouraged to request assistance to conduct presentations to students throughout the travel season. The admission office is also actively engaged with the College Horizons, Questbridge and Cherokee Nation summer programs where officers mentor young students about preparation for the college admission process. The office also hosts a number of visiting groups on campus by providing information sessions and tours.

A brief description of other admissions policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

As part of the University’s commitment to a comprehensive holistic review process, each admission officer takes into account the context of the student’s background. This includes, but is not limited to, socioeconomic status, parent/guardian degree attainment, high school graduation and college placement rates, fee waivers, free and reduced lunch programs and CBO participation. The Office of Undergraduate Admission also participates in the QuestBridge Scholarship matching program. This year Stanford has selected 30 students as Quest Bridge finalists.

A brief description of other financial aid policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

All financial aid for undergraduates offered by the University is awarded by the Financial Aid Office based on financial need. The only exception is Athletic Aid. In addition, through Undergraduate Advising and Research, the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education partners with faculty, departments, research centers, and interdisciplinary programs to facilitate and promote research opportunities for undergraduates through a generous grant program.

A brief description of other policies and programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students not covered above:

In recent years, Stanford students have been increasingly interested in issues surrounding access and affordability. One student group that has focused specifically on first generation and low income students is FLIP, the First Gen and Low Income Partnership. Students from FLIP have organized welcome events for students and parents during orientation, regular study-breaks for students, speakers and resources for students both at Stanford and in their home communities. Stanford students have formed organizations like the Phoenix Scholars to support aspiring students from first generation and low income backgrounds. These are just 2 examples of the types of programs Stanford students have created.

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of any scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

By University policy, all Stanford undergraduates are enrolled full-time. Students attend part-time only with permission and support of the Office of Accessible Education (OAE).

A brief description of any onsite child care facilities, partnerships with local facilities, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

Stanford’s WorkLife Office provides a robust program to assist Stanford faculty, staff and students with their family needs, including on-campus child care facilities, child care subsidies, child care and adoption resources and referrals, lactation spaces for new mothers, maternity resources, school age child resources, and even elder care services. Undergraduates can receive assistance for child care expenses through the financial aid program. Additionally, a state of California child care subsidy program is available for students through Palo Alto Community Childcare, 4 C’s, or Choices for Children.

A brief description of other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Stanford practices Affirmative Action and therefore has a strong commitment to admitting and enrolling a student body that is both highly qualified and diverse. The University recognizes special circumstances and pays close attention to the unique educational contexts and life experiences of students from low-income families and nontraditional backgrounds. Veterans are an increasing population at both the undergraduate and graduate level at Stanford. The Student Services Center opened a Student Veterans Office in May of 2013 to support their needs. The Office of Accessible Education (OAE) at Stanford offers a comprehensive program for students with disabilities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels so that all students have an equal opportunity for personally and academically rewarding experiences. The OAE provides a wide array of accommodations, support services, auxiliary aids and programs to remove barriers to full participation in the life of the University.

Typically, 15% of the entering freshman class are first in their families to go to college.

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (accessibility and affordability indicators)?:

Indicators that the institution is accessible and affordable to low-income students::
Percentage (0-100)
The percentage of entering students that are low-income 15
The graduation/success rate for low-income students 91
The percentage of student financial need met, on average 100
The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt 77

The percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students:

The website URL where information about the institution's affordability and access programs is available:

Note: Between 15% and 20% of the entering students each year come from low-income backgrounds, so the lower boundary of that range is recorded as the percentage of entering students that are low-income.

The most recent 6-year graduation rate for Pell recipients is 91%, so that number is recorded as the graduation/success rate for low-income students.

The websites below support the information provided for this credit:


The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.