University of California, Berkeley, has launched a new financial aid program for middle-class families, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced today.
The new program, named Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan (MCAP), caps parental tuition contribution at 15 percent of annual earnings, for families whose gross annual income is between $80,000 and $140,000.
The program is unprecedented; no other college has implemented a financial aid program specifically targeted to the middle class.
The university is launching the initiative because of California's high cost of living and the increase in tuition costs in recent years.
The cost of attendance at UC Berkeley for non-California residents is estimated to average $55,512 per year for students living on campus. For California residents, that figure is $32,634 per year.
"While our extraordinary commitment to financial aid has, in recent years, led to both an increasing number of lower-income students on the Berkeley campus and a reduction in their net cost of attendance, we see early signs that middle-income families who cannot access existing assistance programs are straining to meet college costs," Birgeneau said.
"As a public institution we feel strongly that we need to sustain and expand access across the socio-economic spectrum. This plan is part of our commitment to ensuring that financial challenges do not prevent qualified students from attending one of the preeminent public universities in the nation."