Colleges With "No Loans" Financial Aid Policies

Summary: Student loans are often a significant part of a financial aid package. Some schools want to help students leave school without debt, and have introduced “no loans” financial aid policies. This article explores what that really means.

Worried about what student loans might mean to your future? So are some colleges and universities. In fact, several colleges and universities have adopted generous “no loans” financial aid policies. As the cost of attendance rises, more and more colleges are looking for alternative ways to reduce the amount of loans students need.

If you are concerned about paying for college, you may want to do some research and identify the policies at your prospective schools. Remember, it’s always smart to shop around when picking a school, as some schools may fit your family’s budget better than others.

What is a “no loan” policy?

Many colleges with “no loan” financial aid policies aren’t truly eliminating all loans. Rather, they are reducing a student’s need for loans (based on their family’s income) to attend their school. Each school will have their own policy and requirements, but here are some examples:

  • Some colleges may require a minimum student contribution that could include part-time student employment.
  • Other schools may limit student eligibility based on the student’s financial need, while some will implement a blanket policy that applies to all students.
  • Certain schools may not completely eliminate loans from a financial aid package, but they may use other methods of funding, such as grants, to reduce the amount that you need to borrow.

Either way, if you attend a school with a “no loan” policy, your average debt at graduation is likely to be much lower than if you graduate from a school without such policies.

Are you eligible for your college’s no loans policy?

Keep in mind that schools which have adopted a “no loans” policy will have certain qualifications to meet, and it is possible that not all students will be eligible. For example, if you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant or if your family’s annual income is below $75,000 you may qualify for your school’s program.

And keep in mind every school is different, so do not rule yourself out without researching the school’s policy or discussing your options with the financial aid office!


  1. Fill out the FAFSA.
  2. Contact your prospective school’s financial aid office. Ask them if there are any other forms they require, or if you need to provide additional information to qualify.
  3. Before you accept admission to a school, do the necessary research! Compare financial aid packages and offerings for more than one school. Ensure you are choosing a school that is a good financial fit, and not just a good academic fit.