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Northeastern announces tuition and financial aid for next year

The university’s financial-aid investment next year is the largest in its history, while the tuition increase is the lowest in more than 30 years. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Northeastern University announced its lowest tuition increase in more than 30 years and its largest-ever investment in financial aid for the 2012-2013 academic year. The new figures continue a trend by the university of increasing financial-aid spending at twice the rate of tuition increases.

Tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year will be $39,320 — a 3.9 percent increase. However, when the unprecedented level of financial aid is factored in, the “net increase” in tuition, on average, will be 2.7 percent. Next year, the university will invest more than $188 million in financial aid to undergraduates — the highest in Northeastern history. These funds do not include government grants or loans.

“Northeastern continues to attract top students from around the world who are drawn to the unique value of our experiential-learning model,” said Jane Brown, Northeastern’s vice president for enrollment management. “This year, we set a record for the number of applicants seeking admission for the fall of 2012. We will continue to work closely with families to make a Northeastern education affordable. In addition to a substantial commitment to financial aid, we help families develop a financial plan to maximize all resources available to them.”

Northeastern also announced a new program through which students who receive need-based Northeastern grant assistance will be guaranteed a corresponding increase in aid with all future tuition increases. This initiative is an expansion of the “Northeastern Promise,” an existing program that guarantees eight semesters of consistent grant funding to undergraduate students, as well as a reevaluation of funding if a student or family encounters a major financial hardship.

Northeastern received 44,212 applicants for 2,800 seats in the fall freshman class — the most in the university’s history. The quality of the applicant pool is also stronger than ever. The number of applicants with SAT scores above 1400 has doubled since five years ago. More than one-quarter of the applicant pool has a high school GPA of 4.0 or higher.

A recent Northeastern survey of college-bound high-school students underscored the desirability of Northeastern’s educational model. Students ranked “the combination of rigorous coursework with real-world research and work experience” as the most desired attribute of a college education. They also expressed a strong interest in global experiential learning and the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members on research.