College reaffirms "no loans"
In a meeting held in late October, trustees of the College reaffirmed their 2008 decision to replace student loans with grants, and approved a recommendation to extend the no-loan policy through the Class of 2020.
“We think it makes us distinctive because not many institutions are doing this,” President William “Bro” Adams said. According to Adams, the policy not only gives the College an advantage in the recruiting and admissions process, but also helps students graduate with less debt.
In 2008, the College was among a number of institutions that pledged to eliminate packaged loans, according to an Oct. 27 press release, “Amidst Student Loan Crisis, Colby Reaffirms ‘No Loans.’” Since then, the economic crisis has forced many of those colleges to retract their commitments. Adams now estimates that the number of schools with no-loan policies has decreased to “probably 10 or fewer.” The College is among the few schools that retained the no-loans policy.
“It would be difficult in this environment to defend moving away from [the policy] because, while the College is in relatively better financial shape, the economy is not,” Adams said.
The money for the grants comes from both financial endowment restricted to financial aid as well as from other unrestricted revenues. “Every student who receives financial aid at Colby benefits. The policy now affects roughly 41 percent of all Colby students,” Adams said. According to the press release, “The average first-year financial aid package is $39,230. Colby awarded more than $25 million in grant aid during the 2010-2011 academic year.”
The presentation of loan policy recommendations at the recent trustee meeting resulted in the decision to aggressively promote the extended no-loan policy to prospective students.
Because the program was initiated in 2008, there will be a thorough analysis of its effect on the current student body to determine statistical information about the “recruitment, enrollment and retention of aided students.”
In the fall of 2015, the Board of Trustees will discuss the possibility of extending the no-loan policy to the classes of 2021 and beyond.