Colleges and Universities Increase Financial Aid for Low-Income Students

Duke University announced a new financial aid plan that will eliminate the family contribution for students from families with annual incomes below $60,000. In addition, all students from families with incomes below $40,000 will no longer receive student loans as part of their financial aid package. All assistance for these low-income students will be in the form of scholarship grants. Students from families with higher incomes but who still qualify for need-based financial aid will benefit from a cap on student loan debt.

Duke estimates that the new plan will increase its financial aid budget by $12.7 million annually, about 17 percent.

The California Institute of Technology is also eliminating loans from financial aid packages for low-income students. However, this has little to do with African-American higher education. African Americans make up about one percent of all students at the university.

Swarthmore College eliminated all loans from its need-based financial aid packages. The switch from loans to scholarship grants will increase Swarthmore’s $20 million financial aid budget by less than 10 percent.

Pomona College is also eliminating student loans from its financial aid packages. The new program will add an estimated $2.3 million to the college’s financial aid budget, which currently stands at $21.6 million.