Northeastern will provide more than $350M in financial aid. Millions more will support COVID-19 efforts.

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

At a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty, Northeastern University will provide $355 million in direct financial aid—grants, not loans—to its students during the 2020-21 academic year. The record investment is part of the university’s ongoing commitment to make a Northeastern education available to talented students from all circumstances and backgrounds.

The aid investment represents an increase of more than 151 percent since 2006. In addition to $305 million slated for undergraduate students, the university is committing $50 million in aid for graduate students.

The steady increase in financial aid has allowed the university to dramatically reduce the average student loan debt among graduates. Between 2008 and 2019, average debt has decreased by 51 percent.

In response to the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Northeastern has raised funds specifically to support students and families who have experienced hardship. The university has raised more than $2 million so far to assist students and families, and to support faculty who are doing research to further our understanding of the pandemic and create solutions to mitigate its impact.

The creation of Northeastern’s COVID-19 Resilience Fund was announced in April  by President Joseph E. Aoun, who pledged to donate 20 percent of his salary to the fund. The university’s senior vice presidents and academic deans pledged to donate 10 percent of their annual salaries.

As it opens campuses, Northeastern will continue to meet the full demonstrated need of all freshmen and transfer students, as determined using the financial data families provide to the College Board and on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. More than 60 percent of first-year students receive some form of grant aid from Northeastern.

Undergraduate students will also continue to benefit from the Northeastern Promise, a compact that guarantees eight semesters of funding for students who receive need-based grant assistance from the university. Under the promise, need-based grant funds will automatically increase at the same rate as tuition, and are guaranteed not to decrease, regardless of any change in a family’s financial circumstances.

Undergraduate tuition for the 2020-21 academic year will be $54,360, an increase of 3.7 percent, a slightly lower increase by percentage compared to 2019. The cost of room and board has risen by 3.2 percent, to $17,480.

“Northeastern’s continued investment in financial aid affords students of all backgrounds the opportunity to receive an education that provides highly personalized learning journeys, access to experiential education opportunities throughout the world, and the skills to create a more just and equitable future for everyone,” said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management.

The university also provides 166 full-tuition scholarships to Boston Public Schools graduates and hosts college readiness events for these students and their families to help them navigate the financial aid process.

This year, Northeastern received a record 64,400 applicants for the fall 2020 freshman class. The high demand of a Northeastern education is due in large part to the university’s leadership in experiential education, which enables thousands to integrate their classroom learning with opportunities to work and study around the globe.

As a result, 93 percent of Northeastern graduates over the past 10 years are employed full time or enrolled in graduate school within nine months of graduation.

And they bring with them a mindset of the importance of diversity and inclusion. Northeastern has been cited for its commitment to diversity among students, faculty, and staff and for developing programs that promote inclusion on campus.

The university’s achievements include scholarship programs for underrepresented minority students, professional development programs for faculty and staff, the university’s many cultural and resource centers, and community engagement in the neighborhoods surrounding Northeastern’s campuses and in cities and countries worldwide.

Northeastern’s diversity website serves as a primary resource for information on these efforts.

Diversity and inclusion are core tenets of the university’s academic plan, Northeastern 2025, which promotes the principle that diverse ideas, experiences, and perspectives strengthen professional, intellectual, and cultural agility.

In the ten-year span between the fall of 2011 and the fall of 2020, the percentage of underrepresented undergraduate minorities attending Northeastern, which include Black and Hispanic people, rose from 11.6 percent to 15.7 percent, an all-time high.

Northeastern’s commitment to providing students with more opportunities to work, study, and conduct research around the world is reflected in the rise in quality and quantity of students. The number of countries where Northeastern has placed students in experiential learning opportunities has increased by 143 percent since 2006. Students were placed in 11,787 co-op positions in 2018-2019, up from 6,301 in 2006-07. And Northeastern has more than 3,052 co-op employers in the United States and around the world.

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