Williams Replaces All Financial Aid Loans with Grants

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Nov. 1, 2007 — The following e-mail letter was sent today to all students, faculty, and staff from Williams College President Morton Owen Schapiro.

To the Williams Community,

I am very pleased to announce that, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, the College has decided to eliminate loans from all financial aid packages and replace them with grants.

This applies to all future aid awards, including those of current students. First-years, sophomores, and juniors will see the change reflected in their award letters for 2008-09.

This move is the latest in a series of steps the College has taken in recent years to ensure that a Williams education is affordable, and it is based on our growing sense that loans, even small ones, affect a range of student decisions, from which colleges they consider attending to which post-college careers they pursue.

Previous steps had reduced the amount of loans we expected financial aid students to take. For students from families with the lowest incomes that expectation has in recent years been zero. But other financial aid students had been expected, depending on income, to borrow cumulatively over their four years $3,800, $7,800, or 13,800. No more.

This move also comes at a time when the College has succeeded in increasing the socio-economic diversity of entering classes. In fact, the Class of 2011 is the first in history to have more than half its members qualify for Williams-based aid. Even more have won scholarships outside the College.

We consider the estimated cost of this change, around $1.8 million, to be a sound investment of College resources in the growing diversity of our student body and in the future of our financial aid students, who now will be free to make post-graduation plans without the inhibition of college debt.

Best regards,
M. Schapiro