Parents and students have both named Stanford University one of their top dream colleges — schools they wish they (or their student) could attend if cost and acceptance were not issues — for most of the past decade, according to surveys by The Princeton Review.
Part of the draw: The faculty here features a stunning array of innovative and important thinkers, including 20 Nobel laureates, more than 20 MacArthur fellows and three Pulitzer Prize winners.
Stanford is one of the hardest schools in the country to get into, accepting only 4% of applicants. Once there, the educational demands can be intense. Students often describe themselves as "ducks," because they try to appear serene while paddling desperately to keep going. (There's even a popular Facebook group called "Stanford University Places I've Cried," a tongue-in-cheek “tribute to the happiest place on Earth.”)
But the results speak for themselves. Not only does Stanford have a 94% graduation rate, but its former students also founded Google, Yahoo, Cisco and many other tech companies, and the typical student earns at least a six-figure salary 10 years after enrolling. At the same time, Stanford is generous with financial aid, with 65% of students receiving grants. Additionally, parents earning less than $100,000 are not expected to contribute anything toward their student’s college costs; those earning less than $150,000 aren't expected to pay tuition.
Stanford's Mission-style campus is a vast 8,100 acres, and most students use bicycles to get around. An NCAA Division I school, Stanford has a longstanding football rivalry with the University of California-Berkeley. Campus traditions include the Halloween Mausoleum Party, which is held at the Stanford Mausoleum, the burial site of Leland Stanford Jr. His father, a California governor and railroad baron, founded the university in 1885 in his son’s memory after the boy died at age 15.
Stanford University tuition and fees
Estimated cost and due date
Tuition and fees at Stanford University come to a total of $62,484. You also need to take into account room and board, books, and living expenses. Be sure to verify the payment date on the university's calendar or your student portal – late payments may include extra charges.
We understand it can be difficult to manage these expenses. However, there are several financial aid sources to explore, including student loans, grants, and scholarships. To learn more, read our detailed How to Pay for College guide.
Exploring financial aid options at Stanford University
Scholarships and grants
The typical grant aid for undergraduates at Stanford University is $50,762, which is composed of awards from federal, state, local and college programs. A popular source of college aid is the federal Pell Grant, which is given to students with lower incomes. Approximately 19% of Stanford University students receive a Pell Grant. To be eligible for Pell Grants and other types of financial aid, you must fill out the FAFSA.
All around the country, college-bound students have access to a variety of state-funded financial assistance options, typically restricted to local students. It might be worth taking the time to look into the eligibility requirements for your home state, such as California's Cal Grant program.
University scholarships, aka institutional aid
Two different kinds of financial help can be given through colleges. Need-based assistance is decided by your financial state, while merit-based aid is for all awards that are not tied to financial needs. Merit-based scholarships could be based on a student's school performance, creative abilities, leadership traits and more. For example, Stanford University awards scholarships to 60% of its incoming freshmen with an average award of $54,057.
It is recommended to also look for external scholarships. Different kinds of gift aid from a variety of local organizations are available to assist with college expenses, and some even have year round deadlines, meaning funds can be obtained after enrollment. To find out more, read our guide on college grants and scholarships.
Federal student loans
Federal student loans are a popular way to finance educational expenses. These loans are provided by the government and feature low-interest rates and flexible repayment plans.
Private student loans
Private student loans are another alternative. These are offered by private lenders such as banks and credit unions, but come with higher interest rates and less flexible repayment terms.
How to pay tuition bills at Stanford University
If you are awarded a loan, grant or scholarship, the funds will usually be sent directly to the university. Any remaining balance must be paid by you. Tuition payments can be made online at https://www.stanford.edu/.
The information included in this page contains data published in university sites, government public records and other vetted sources as of June 23, 2023. Be advised to validate this information with the university registrar or financial office.
This content was created with the assistance of AI technology and has been reviewed, edited and fact-checked by Money's editorial staff.