As the cost of higher education continues to rise and student loan debt remains a major concern for federal and local lawmakers, some universities are working to make post-secondary education more affordable.
Wesleyan University recently joined at least 40 other colleges across the country that have either entirely, or partially, taken steps to eliminate loans from their financial aid packages.
“Having already eliminated loans for highly aided students, this should help middle-income families eligible for financial aid find Wesleyan more affordable. We are improving the University’s financial aid offerings to be able to build and maintain a dynamically diverse community, including socioeconomic diversity,” said President Michael S. Roth.
“From free computers to enhanced health insurance coverage, Wesleyan is making its education more accessible. We have also committed to increasing the percentage of the University’s overall budget dedicated to financial aid.”
Yale and Connecticut College are two other Connecticut-based higher education institutions that have made similar decisions. Yale eliminated student loans in 2008 and Connecticut College also has eliminated or reduced loans based on family income.
Most universities in the state, however, have maintained the option for students. The University of New Haven and University of Connecticut, for example, have decided not to take on the no-loan policy.
Spokespeople for both universities told The Connecticut Mirror that they have not eliminated student loans from financial aid packages and did not have plans to eliminate them from future packages.
Overall, 15% of Connecticut residents have student loan debt, according to a 2022 report from the Office of Fiscal Analysis and Office of Legislative Research. There are 540,900 borrowers that average around $35,681 in student loan debt each — totaling around $19.3 billion statewide
The decision from Wesleyan comes about two months after it announced it was ending its legacy admissions process. It is also another step toward what Gonzalez and Roth, in a joint statement, called the importance of building “a diverse, energetic learning environment comprised of people who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit."