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.

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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.

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Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.