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10 Great Colleges That Won't Make Students Take Loans


The schools on our list of best college values do a great job of reducing their sticker price through generous financial aid awards, limiting debt at graduation among students who do borrow to less than the national average. But some schools go even further, by taking loans off the table when it comes to financial aid packages. After all, loans aren't so generous, they have to be repaid.

In recent years, about six dozen schools have adopted no-loan policies, whereby scholarships and grants replace loans in financial aid packages. Some colleges limit no-loan packages to students whose family income falls below specific levels (such as $60,000 a year). Others have eliminated loans for all students who are eligible for financial aid. The programs don’t necessarily eliminate loans altogether. Even at schools where borrowing isn't part of the deal, a student’s financial aid package is based on what the school estimates a student's family can afford to pay. Some families can't or choose not to pay the full amount, which means students may have to borrow to make up the difference. And some students borrow to cover expenses that aren’t included in the budget covered by their financial aid package or to avoid having to take an on-campus or summer job.


The 10 schools on this list earned top marks in our combined 2016 rankings (which include private liberal arts colleges and private universities as well as public colleges). All 10 exclude loans from all financial aid packages, regardless of family income.


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