HOUSTON – Rice University on Tuesday announced a new initiative to make education more affordable for students from families with incomes under $200,000.

The initiative, an aid plan titled The Rice Investment, offers full-tuition scholarships and grants to students from middle-income families.

Full tuition scholarships “will be awarded to degree-seeking undergraduates with family incomes between $65,000 and $130,000 who are eligible to receive need-based financial aid,” a university press release stated.

Students with family incomes between $130,000 and $200,000 “will receive scholarships covering at least half of their tuition.”

The university also says students from low-income families, with household incomes less than $65,000, will receive even more support, covering not just tuition but also all of the mandatory fees and room and board.

“Talent deserves opportunity,” Rice President David Leebron said. “We’ve built on our already generous financial aid to provide more support to lower-income and middle-class families and ensure that these students have access to the best in private higher education.”

The response on campus to the scholarship program has been overwhelmingly positive. Leebron said the opportunity hopefully gives some students and parents comfort knowing they afford to go to one of the best universities in the country for free.

“If you’re middle-class, your tuition is going to be covered," Leebron said.

More than 4,000 students are enrolled at the private school this year.

“It’s been very difficult for middle class families to afford a college education, and we really wanted to address that,” Leebron said.

Tuition at Rice is almost $47,000 a year.

Leebron knows students and their families often times feel the pressure of paying for school.

"If the student is academically qualified to come to Rice, we want that family and that student to know that a rice education is affordable,” Leebron said.

According to Rice, the Rice Investment will also help with student debt. Beginning for the 2019-2020 school year, students from families with incomes up to $200,000 who qualify for The Rice Investment will no longer be required to take out loans as part of their need-based financial aid packages.

“Students will still be expected to contribute toward the cost of attendance through moderate earnings from summer and academic year jobs," stated a school spokesman.

On the web: http://rice.edu/thericeinvestment