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Terrified of taking out student loans? I don’t blame you. Loans can tie you down for years and end up costing you multiple times the amount you originally took out due to the hefty interest charges.
Luckily, there are some ways around taking out loans. One of them is to seek a college committed to no students loans.
No loan schools provide students with financial aid packages that do not include loans. This means that while you may still have a parental contribution, student contribution, and/or work-study plan, any additional need will be covered by grants. Some students at no loan schools will still opt to take out loans so that they can reduce their contributions or work fewer hours, but at the end of the day, choosing a no loan school will significantly reduce your debt.
I was shocked to find out how difficult it was to find clear information about what schools offer these sorts of policies and their restrictions in a condensed place. Here is my best effort to provide you a one stop shop of where you can find schools who have completely replaced loans with grant and work-study in their financial aid packages for some or all students.
No Loan Schools for Everyone
The following colleges do not include any loans in their financial aid packages. These schools have made a commitment to replace all loans with grants and work-study programs for all students regardless of family income or state residency.
Claremont McKenna College
University of Pennsylvania
Washington and Lee
No Loan Schools for Low Income Students
There are also a number of schools that have eliminated loans for low income students. Below, you will find a list of schools who offer no loan aid packages to students whose families earn below a certain income threshold.
Brown University (Commitment to No Loans for Low Income Students) – Students whose families earn below $100,000 per year
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) – US students with family income under $60,000 per year
Connecticut College – Students with income under $50,000 or EFC under $5,000 per year
Cornell University (Loan Initiative) – Students with family incomes under $60,000 per year
Dartmouth University (Tuition Plan)– Students with family incomes under $100,000 receive full tuition grants
Duke University (Duke Loan Awards)– Students with family incomes under $40,000 per year
Emory University – Students with family incomes under $50,000 per year
Kenyon College – Available to the 25 students with the greatest financial need
Lafayette College (Loan Announcement) – Students from families earning less than $50,000 per year
Lehigh University (Lehigh Aid) – Students from families with incomes less than $50,000 per year
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Students with family incomes under $75,000 per year. However, MIT has a pretty high self-help expectation (work-study and outside scholarships) of $6,000 which has required some students to take out loans to cover some or all of this amount.
Northwestern University – Students with the greatest financial need. Majority will have incomes under $55,000. Students are required to be eligible for the Pell Grant and have need greater than 80% of the cost of attendance.
Oberlin College – Students who are eligible for the Pell Grant
Rice University – Students who have family incomes under $80,000
Tufts University – Students whose families earn under $40,000
University of Chicago (Odyssey Scholarship) – Students whose families earn under $60,000 in income.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Students whose families earn up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Line and who are enrolled full-time
Vassar College – Students whose family incomes are below $60,000 per year
Washington University in St. Louis – Students with family incomes below $60,000 per year
Wellesley University – Students with family incomes below $60,000 per year
Wesleyan University – Students with family incomes below $40,000 per year
Williams College – Williams once had a no loan policy for all students, but they had to revoke it a few years back due to financial difficulties. Some no loan packages are still available to low income students.
Regional No Loan Schools
In addition to these schools, there are additional schools that offer no loan financial aid packages for students from a particular regional area and who meet income qualifications. You can find a list of these colleges and universities and the regional requirement below:
Appalachian State University (Appalachian Access) – North Carolina residents entering as full-time freshmen students with incomes below the Federal Poverty Line.
Arizona State University (Obama Scholars Program) – Arizona residents entering freshman year with income up to $42,500 who are eligible to receive the Pell Grant. Students must also meet all course competencies and at least one aptitude requirement for admission described in their Freshman Admissions Requirements.
Boston University (Boston Public Schools Commitment) – Boston residents who graduate from the Boston Public Schools. Students must submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile by February 15th)
Colorado State University – Pueblo (Commitment to Colorado) – Colorado undergrads who qualify for the Pell grant and who have family AGI $57,000 or less may be eligible for a no loan plan
Fairfield University (Bridgeport Tuition) – Students from Bridgeport Public Schools and diocesan high schools with family incomes below $50,000 receive full tuition grants
Georgia Institute of Technology (Tech Promise) – Georgia residents with family incomes below $33,3000 and eligible to file a 1040A or 1040 E2. Requires a 2.0 GPA.
Indiana University – Bloomington (21st Century Scholarship Covenant) – Indiana residents who complete 21st Century Scholars Application in middle school which requires them to pledge to remain drug-, alcohol-, and crime-free and to maintain a 2.0 GPA). They also must be low income (eligible for the Federal School Lunch Program) and plan to enroll full-time in university.
Lamar University (Lamar Promise Program) – Texas residents eligible for the Pell Grant and who have incomes under $25,000 receive full tuition and fees in grants. Students are also required to maintain an adequate academic record.
Miami University (Ohio) (Access Initiative) – Ohio residents from families earning less than $35,000 per year receive full tuition and fees. Students must submit FAFSA by February 15th and must be enrolled full-time. Students must also maintain “satisfactory academic progress.”
Michigan State University (Spartan Advantage Program) – Michigan residents who are income with family incomes below the Federal Poverty Line. Students must be eligible for Pell Grants and be enrolled full-time.
North Carolina State University (Pack Promise) – North Carolina residents with family incomes less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Line and “limited assets.”
Sacred Heart University (Discovery Grant) – Students from Fairfield County, Connecticut high schools and income under $50,000 receive full tuition
University of Texas – Dallas (The Tuition Promise) –Texas residents who are Pell grant eligible with under $25,000 in family income receive full tuition and fees. Students must be enrolled full-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA.
Texas A&M University (Aggie Assurance) – Residents of Texas with AGI under $60,000. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and be enrolled full-time. The FAFSA must also be submitted by March 15th.
Texas State University – San Marcos (Bobcat Promise) – Texas residents whose families earn under $25,000 in AGI ($35,000 for graduates of San Marcos high school). Students must also submit their FAFSA by April 1st and maintain a 2.0 GPA.
University of California System (Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan) – California residents with a family income under $80,000 who submit their FAFSA by March 2nd. Available for the first four years as a UC undergrad for students who enroll as freshmen or two years for transfer students. Students must be enrolled at least half-time.
University of Florida (Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program) – Florida residents with family incomes under $40,000 and whose parents did not earn a college degree
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois Promise) – Illinois residents with zero EFC and income below the Federal Poverty Line
University of Louisville (Cardinal Covenant) – Kentucky residents with a family income below 150% of the Federal Poverty Line
University of Maryland at College Park (Maryland Pathways Program) – Maryland students with zero EFC
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (M-PACT Program) – Michigan residents with zero EFC who are pursuing a first bachelor’s degree
University of Tennessee (Tennessee Pledge Scholarship) – The Pledge Scholarship is available to Tennessee residents with under $40,000 in family income (approximately 200% of the Federal Poverty Line) and who maintain a GPA of 2.0. Applications must be submitted by December 1st and the FAFSA by February 15th.
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP Promise) – Students who are Texas residents with under $30,000 in family income receive full tuition in grants. Students must qualify for in-state tuition and must be enrolled in 30 credit hours/yr or more with a 2.0 GPA or higher.
University of Toledo (Blue and Gold Scholar Award) – Students who graduate from one of six Ohio districts (Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, or Toledo) with a 3.0 or higher receive full tuition in grants. Students must be eligible for the Pell Grant and file their FAFSA by April 2st (Blue & Gold Scholar Award).
University of Vermont (Commitment to Pell Grant Recipient Vermonters) – Students must be residents of Vermont and Pell-eligible