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Stanford scholarships, student loans and grants

How to pay for California's most competitive university.

Stanford might have a single-digit acceptance rate. But if you get in, the costs likely won’t get in your way.

That’s because it has a generous in-school financial aid program on top of federal funding. It’ll cover less than your total costs, but you could end up graduating with no or significantly less debt than other schools.

How much does it cost to go to Stanford?

Cost of attending StanfordAnnual cost
Room and board$17,255
Books and supplies$1,290
Other expenses$2,205
Total cost for the 2020-2021 academic year$78,218

While tuition is a large part of the cost of going to Stanford, there are other factors you need to consider. Fees, books and meal plans all contribute to what is considered the cost of attendance — not to mention housing. However, since transportation costs can vary depending on where you’re from, Stanford excludes travel expenses in its attendance costs.

First-year students also have to pay a $525 New Student Orientation Fee and a $250 document fee, which Stanford includes in the projected annual cost. And students who don’t have health insurance through their parents are required to purchase a health insurance plan. Stanford offers coverage through Cardinal Care.

Does Stanford offer a tuition payment plan?

Yes. Students who can’t afford the upfront cost of attending Stanford can opt to pay tuition, fees and room and board with its Installment Payment Plan (IPP). The IPP breaks up your balance into three monthly installments.

There’s no interest charge or fee to sign up for the IPP. The only requirement is that you enroll by the time your first payment is due. Payments begin two months before the beginning of the term.

Semester1st payment2nd payment3rd payment
FallJuly 15August 15September 15
WinterOctober 15November 15December 15
SpringJanuary 15February 15March 15

    Students can sign up by logging in to their online Axess account and make payments through Stanford ePay.

    How Stanford’s University Scholarships work

    About 70% of Stanford students receive financial aid and roughly 60% get aid directly from the school. In fact, University Scholarships are the primary source of funding for most students.

    Every accepted student is automatically considered for these needs-based scholarships depending on family income. The University Scholarship covers what your parents might have contributed.

    • Less than $65,000: No parent contribution.
    • $65,000 to $125,000: Partial parent contribution.
    • $125,001 to $225,000: Might qualify for assistance, especially if more than one child is in college.

    Here’s how the University Scholarship worked for the first-year class entering in 2018:

    Family incomePercentage qualified for a scholarshipAverage scholarshipAverage remaining cost
    Under $65,000100%$74,095$4,638
    $65,000 to $95,00099%$65,050$9,248
    $95,000 to $125,00098%$57,098$16,294
    $125,000 to $155,00095%$46,928$26,551
    $155,000 to $185,00092%$36,464$36,856
    $185,000 to $215,00095%$34,296$39,064
    $215,000 to $245,00085%$21,976$51,329
    Over $245,00044%$18,926$54,383

    As this table shows, even students with no parent contribution are expected to cover part of the cost. This can come out of pocket or with other financial aid programs — such as Stanford’s work-study program.

    Stanford Community Service Work-Study

    Stanford students can supplement their financial aid package by enrolling in Stanford’s Community Service Work-Study (CSWS) program. It involves working either on campus or in the surrounding community during the year. Students can also find CSWS summer jobs across the country.


    All students who receive financial aid may qualify for CSWS — except for international students. Seniors also aren’t eligible to work the summer semester after graduation. You can apply by filling out a form on the Stanford Financial Aid website.


    The financial aid office sets the maximum amount you’re allowed to earn per hour and semester. Summer 2019 wages are set at $19 per hour with a maximum total earning of $7,000.

    Are there other scholarships and grants available

    Yes, most states have their own scholarship and grant programs that have no affiliation with any particular school. Typically, these are only available to residents of that state, so you might want to look for funding where your parents live rather than California.

    On top of this, there are private scholarships funded by companies and wealthy individuals that you could potentially qualify for.

    Student loans to pay for Stanford

    Can’t cover everything with scholarships and work-study? You can also apply for federal loans or student loans from a private lender to pay for your remaining school expenses.

    The Department of Education and most private lenders recommend that students apply for federal loans before looking into private loans. That’s because they’re typically less expensive, have more flexible repayments and are easier for students to qualify for on their own.

    You can apply for federal loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

    Compare private student loan providers

    Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
    Stride Funding Income Share Agreement
    As low as 2%
    Up to $25,000
    2 to 10 years
    A student loan alternative for graduate students based on your future salary.
    EDvestinU Private Student Loans
    4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
    $1,000 - $200,000
    7 to 20 years
    Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
    CommonBond Private Student Loans
    3.74% to 10.74%
    $5,000 - $500,000
    5 to 15 years
    Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
    Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
    Varies by lender
    Varies by lender
    Varies by lender
    Varies by lender
    Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
    Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
    Starting at 0.99% with autopay
    Good to excellent credit
    Starting at $1,000
    5 to 20 years
    Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Bottom line

    Like many top-tier schools, Stanford offers students a generous financial aid package based on scholarships and grants. So while it might be more expensive than other colleges, students graduate with relatively little student debt compared to the national average.

    Find out more about your financial aid options by reading our guide to student loans.

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