Colgate University received a billion-dollar endowment, allowing the institution to finance a college affordability initiative that replaces federal loans with university grants to help low-income students receive an education.
Yahoo! Finance reported that the New York-based school initially created the Colgate Commitment to address the burden of student loan debt. Now, starting this fall semester, 600 freshmen can take advantage of the program because of the generosity of Colgate alumni.
“We have a $1.3 billion endowment for a relatively small school. We have very strong alumni support. So we went to our alumni and said: ‘We want to start taking away student loans,'” said Colgate University President Brian Casey in an interview with Yahoo.
Extending College Affordability
At first, the no-loan initiative offered grants instead of federal loans to students whose families earn less than $125,000. However, the university adjusted the program’s income threshold last June, allowing enrolled students with family incomes up to $150,000 to reap the benefits.
“We are determined to include as many students as possible along the way as we dedicate additional resources for this initiative, which is of such profound importance to the University and its students,” Casey said in the news release.
Furthermore, declaring an annual family income of $80,000 or less allows students to attend the university tuition-free.
When asked whether the cost of college offers a satisfying return on investment, Casey remarked that the value of education is more than just a degree.
“There’s lots of ways you can measure the value of an education,” he said. “We’re explicitly not teaching them careers, but we’re teaching them how to be thoughtful people in the world and empathetic people.”
“We also want them to be educated citizens. We want them to be contributing members of their local communities in the state. We want them to be leaders. We want them to be thoughtful,” Casey added.