College to reduce student indebtedness in response to pandemic and economic uncertainty
GRINNELL, Iowa — In response to the financial hardship that many families are experiencing because of the pandemic, Grinnell College will eliminate student loans in financial aid packages and replace them with scholarships. This no-loan initiative endorsed by Grinnell College’s Board of Trustees will be effective Fall 2021 for all new and continuing students eligible for need-based financial aid and is intended to lower the debt burden on students. This will make it possible for a student to graduate debt-free, although some students may choose to borrow as part of their family’s financing plan.
“We are engaging in this initiative because we believe that education benefits not just individuals but communities and, in that benefit, is a crucial engine of democracy. Grinnell is deeply committed to preserving access to the transformative experience of a liberal arts education,” says Grinnell College President Anne F. Harris. “A Grinnell education is a shared endeavor — a partnership of Grinnell College, our students, families and alumni. We’ve been listening to the concerns of students and families, and this initiative will help our students as they approach graduation and face an uncertain economy.”
This initiative builds on Grinnell’s commitment to preserving academic continuity and equal access to education during this time. It is estimated that the College will spend $5 million annually on this no loan initiative. Grinnell has contributed more than $10 million this year in additional financial aid and unanticipated student needs that have arisen out of the pandemic. More than 60% of enrolled students are currently offered student loans as part of a need-based financial aid package, and in 2019, the average borrower graduated with cumulative student educational debt of approximately $20,000. The no-loan initiative is expected to decrease the average student indebtedness significantly.