Rice University has announced a new program to expand scholarships for middle-class students by offering free tuition to students with a family income below $130,000.
The Rice Investment program was created to make higher education more affordable.
Under the program, full tuition scholarships will be awarded to degree-seeking undergraduates who are eligible to receive need-based financial aid and with family incomes between $65,000 and $130,000. Students with family incomes between $130,000 and $200,000 will receive scholarships covering at least half of their tuition.
"Talent deserves opportunity," Rice President David Leebron said. "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."
According to a press release from the university, the Rice University Board of Trustees has enthusiastically endorsed the new program.
"The Rice Investment will give more students from middle-income families an extraordinary opportunity at an extraordinary university," said Bobby Tudor, the chairman of the university’s board.
Beginning the next school year, undergraduate students who qualify for the Rice Investment will no longer be required to take out loans as part of their need-based financial aid packages. Loans will be replaced by scholarships and grants.
Students will be expected to contribute toward the cost of attendance through moderate earnings from summer and academic year jobs, the University said.
The scholarship will take effect in fall 2019 and impact all degree-seeking undergraduates, including continuing students, who are eligible for aid based need.