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50 Colleges Pledge No Loans for Their Students

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At least 50 colleges have signed a pledge that they will remain fully committed to meeting their students’ financial aid needs without necessitating student loans — regardless of the impact of the economic crisis on their endowments, reports the non-profit Project on Student Debt. Although there are thousands of colleges and universities across the United States, these 50 schools enroll some 8% of all four-year college students in America, making them a significant minority — and for the other 92% of you, a hopeful trendsetter.

Among the schools committing to a no-loan policy are Yale, Harvard, and Tufts University (my alma mater!),  To see if your college is included, scan to the bottom of this post for a complete list.

At a school like Harvard, where the annual bill will run $50,000 for tuition, room and board, this commitment means that the average financial aid award is $40,000. Harvard and many other Ivy League colleges, provide significant need-based aid to families earning as much as $120,000/year. At public universities, like UCLA, UCSD and UC-Berkeley, the cut-off for “need-based aid” is much lower — typically around $60,000 or less, which means families earning upwards of that amount may be forced to take out loans.

Some schools that had previously had no-loan commitments have backed away from the pledge, says that Project on Student Debt. The economic crisis has battered their endowment funds, forcing budget cuts to financial aid. Such schools include Williams College and Dartmouth.  Harvard University, on the other hand, which suffered a 30% reduction in its endowment, has maintained its no loan commitment.

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