Three New England Colleges Eliminate Student Loans

Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, announced that beginning this coming fall it would eliminate loans for all students on financial aid and substitute them with scholarship grants. In making the announcement, Bowdoin president Barry Mills stated that the college is the only school with need-blind admissions and an endowment of less than $1 billion that has eliminated all loans from its financial aid packages.

Current first-year students at Bowdoin were expected to graduate in 2011 with an average debt load of $21,000. The new financial aid program is estimated to add $22 million to the college’s financial aid budget.

Blacks make up about 5 percent of the student body at Bowdoin College.

One day after the Bowdoin announcement, Colby College in Maine announced that it too would eliminate student loans from its financial aid packages for new and returning students. This past October, Colby College had eliminated loans for students on financial aid who were residents of the state of Maine.

Dartmouth College also announced sweeping new changes in its financial aid program. Now students from families with incomes of less than $75,000 will no longer be expected to contribute to the cost of tuition expenses. In addition, loans will be eliminated for all students on financial aid. Dartmouth will also expand its need-blind admissions policy to international students.

Dartmouth estimates that this new policy will add $10 million to its current $61 million financial aid budget.