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Amherst Joins Princeton and Davidson on List of No Loan Colleges 

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Graduating college debt-free... that sounds pretty incredible, doesn't it? No student loan debt seems too good to be true. Well, Amherst joined Princeton and Davidson this summer as the only colleges whose financial aid packages do not include any student loan component... that's right. Any student can graduate Amherst, Davidson, or Princeton without a penny in student loans. These three colleges do not put any limitation on income levels that qualify for their programs.

At these three colleges, your financial aid package will be made up entirely of work-study and grant aid. The way these programs basically work is this... You complete the financial aid forms and receive an assessment of your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). The difference between your EFC and the Cost of Attendance is your financial need. These colleges are basically promising that the financial aid package used to cover your financial need will not include any student loans. You and your parents will still be responsible for covering the EFC portion and may choose to take out student loans to cover some of your expected family contribution. That's up to you, but the Amherst and Princeton are doing what they can to make it feasible for you to graduate debt-free.

The programs at Amherst, Davidson, and Princeton are the most generous of a new wave of financial aid initiatives aimed at eliminating or minimizing student loan debt. Several colleges and universitites, (including Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Penn, and Emory) eliminate student loans for low-income students. Some state schools (such as Michigan State, Indiana, and UNC-Chapel Hill) offer similar programs for low-income students from within their respective states.

If you want to see a fairly comprehensive list of U.S. colleges and universities who have created programs to help students graduate debt-free, take a look at the Project on Student Debt's website.

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