Very few colleges have taken the initiative to offer students scholarships in place of loans. This summer, Amherst College in Massachusets joined the ranks of schools like Princeton and Davidson College by implementing a new financial aid program.
Amherst’s program is targeted to help students graduate debt-free. Under the new policy, students will receive scholarship money (which does not have to be paid back) in place of loans. The goal is for low-income students to graduate debt-free, thus enabling Amherst to diversify its student body across all income levels.
Offering this kind of assistance can be costly for schools. Davidson College expects to pay out $3.5 million per year for the next 4 years to offer scholarship money instead of loans, and Amherst estimates a cost of $3 million per year.
Some public colleges and universities have committed to help low-income students graduate debt free, as well. Colleges like the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia have pledged to assist students whose families are up to 200% above the federal poverty level.
The following is a list of schools that offer “no loan” financial aid to their students:
School – “No Loan” Aid for Families Earning Up To:
- Amherst College – No maximum
- Dartmouth College – $30,000
- Davidson College – No maximum
- Emory University – $50,000
- Harvard University – $50,000
- UNC Chapel Hill – 200% of federal poverty line ($24,000 to $37,000)
- University of Pennsylvania – $50,000
- Princeton University – No maximum
- Rice University – $30,000
- Stanford University – $45,000
- University of Virginia – 200% of federal poverty line ($24,000 to $37,000)
- College of William and Mary – $40,000 (VA residents only)
- Yale University – $45,000
These offers are a wonderful opportunity, especially for low-income students. As grant aid does not need to be paid back, they will be freed of the burden of loan debt come graduation day. Better yet, they have the opportunity to attend prestigious schools regardless of their ability to fund an education there, and the aid allows students the opportunity to spend time on internships rather than on work.
All the best,