More than 20 schools have “no-loan” policies, meeting 100% of the undergraduate’s need for financial aid without debt, according to CNBC.
Grinnell College in Iowa is one of them. It offers grants in the school’s financial aid packages instead of loans. For Anne Harris, president of the college, “the clarity of that has been invigorating.”
“Doing this doesn’t solve all the issues that are out there but it is a decisive step forward,” said Harris, whose school implemented a no-loan policy for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The move allowed sophomore Beck Lambert to attend the school after not being able to afford college.
“I did not want to be in debt for the rest of my life. When you’ve lived with debt looming over your shoulders, it can be terrifying,” said Lambert, who is now a history major on track to be the first in the family to graduate from college.
Students like Lambert aren’t the only ones to benefit from no-loan policies. Colleges have, too.
At Davidson in North Carolina, application volume has jumped to 6,500 from around 4,500 in 2007, when the school eliminated loans. That has improved the percentage of students who choose to enroll after being admitted in addition to the school’s academic standing.
“We’ve seen a far more diverse student body,” said Doug Hicks, Davidson’s president. “A student body that’s far more interesting.”
However, no-loan policies don’t mean free. Students still may be obligated to for the expected family contribution as well as costs like books and fees.
Schools with no-loan policies
- Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts)
- Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine)
- Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)
- Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire)
- Davidson College (Davidson, North Carolina)
- Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)
- Grinnell College (Grinnel, Iowa)
- Harvard College (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
- Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
- Pomona College (Claremont, California)
- Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey)
- Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts)
- Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania)
- University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee)
- Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, New York)
- Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)
- Wesleyan University (Middleton, Connecticut)
- Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts)
- Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)