New Financial Aid Effort—Launched Against Backdrop of Record Early Decision Applications and Backed by $20M Gift from Berkley Family Foundation—Is Meant to Enhance Affordability

NYU building exterior

NYU is announcing the largest Early Decision I (EDI) applicant pool in its history, with an increase of 3% over last year. The university has more than tripled the number of EDI applications in the last decade, from 3,193 to 11,327. NYU continues to solidify its reputation and appeal among prospective students.

The increase comes amidst the introduction of “The NYU Promise,” an affordability/financial aid initiative unveiled by President Linda G. Mills, NYU’s 17th president, in her inaugural speech in October 2023. The effort ensures that NYU meets admittees’ demonstrated financial need, provides yearly increases to keep up with increases in tuition, and—beginning with next year’s entering first-year class—eliminates tuition for those whose families earn less than $100,000. Among the outcomes:

  • A 23% increase in students eligible for full-tuition scholarships.
  • A significant 10% increase in admitted students who will be the first in their families to attend college.
  • Over 330 students are expected to be eligible for a Pell Grant, a 36% increase from the previous year.

"We are thrilled to witness the continued enthusiasm and trust placed in NYU by students and families seeking an exceptional educational experience," expressed MJ Knoll-Finn, Senior Vice President for Global Enrollment Management and Student Success. "These admissions statistics show that we’re not only welcoming an outstanding cohort of admitted students, but also demonstrating that our commitment to inclusivity remains unwavering and that  our ongoing efforts to ensure access to quality education for all deserving students have never been stronger."

The NYU Promise aligns with the university's broader commitment to supporting students' financial needs, promising to meet the full demonstrated need of admitted, first-time, first-year undergraduates over the course of their four years at NYU’s New York campus. Over the last five years, NYU’s average financial aid award has increased by over $20,000, from $33,424 to $55,559.    

In support of the NYU Promise, the University is grateful for a very generous $20 million gift from the Berkley Family Foundation. The gift will help NYU provide tuition-free education to all first-year undergraduates from families earning less than $100,000 per year. This gift, and its creation of the Berkley Scholars Program, reflects the Foundation’s belief in the power of higher education at NYU. Trustees Chair emeritus William Berkley said, “The fact that someone I never knew at NYU decided that I should receive a scholarship was a life-changing experience for me. It was nothing short of astonishing. That moment set me on my path to the American dream.”

“These remarkable statistics not only underscore NYU's commitment to academic excellence but also highlight its dedication to fostering socio-economic diversity and supporting first-generation college students,” continued Knoll-Finn. “The NYU Promise stands as a testament to the university's pledge to make quality education accessible to all, ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder deserving students from achieving their academic dreams.”

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John Beckman
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