Rice University launches free tuition initiative

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Joleigh Underwood

More stories from Joleigh Underwood

The GPA Game
May 30, 2019

In an attempt to make higher education more affordable, Rice University created a $150 million fundraising campaign to support The Rice Investment, a program offering free tuition to lower and middle class students beginning fall 2019.

According to Rice’s media website, students with family incomes under $65,000 a year will receive free tuition and board, while students from $65,000-$135,000 will receive free tuition and students under $200,000 receive half tuition.

A study done by CNBC shows that private college tuition has increased by 129 percent since 1988. Despite this, sophomore Jack Parker observes how crucial higher education is to success.

“It’s basically a requirement to have a sort of college education to get into the job market,” Parker said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate of solely high school graduates is 10 percent, which is triple than that of college graduates. Since attending college is almost mandatory, paying for it worries a lot of students.

“It’s definitely something that more and more kids are starting to struggle with as the tuitions skyrocket,” sophomore Claire Valdez said, “I think that it would not be bad at all if tuitions are lowered.”

Not only is Valdez concerned about increasing prices, but also how this affects students’ aspirations.

“I think if a student knows that a college is very expensive then they generally don’t even look at it because they know that if they can’t afford it they don’t want to get their hopes up,” she said.

Thanks to the generous financial aid, Rice is alleviating some of that pressure students are feeling and opening doors that were previously closed.

“Eliminating tuition like that helps smarter people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford that kind of education be able to go to a place where they would fit best,” Parker said.

Counselor Mrs. Courtnie Grigsby understands the importance of Rice’s investment, especially since she has helped many kids with preparing for college.

“What Rice University is doing illustrates loud and clear that while ‘talent is equally distributed, opportunities are not’ and the university is willing to do something about this,” she said.

Rice President David Leebron’s words coincide with Mrs. Grigsby’s, telling Rice Media and News that, “Talent deserves opportunity. 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.”

Students and adults alike are delighted to see an elite university like Rice make an effort to expand accessibility for kids from all walks of life.

Mrs Grigsby expressed this notion by saying, “Anyone who has put in the time and effort to prepare for college, should be given the opportunity to have this experience.”