Washington University Removes Federal Loans From Financial Aid Packages

Federal loans will be replaced by university grants and scholarships, allowing students to graduate college without going into debt.
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Updated on October 4, 2023
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  • Washington University has a new "no-loan policy," allowing students to graduate college without any debt.
  • The policy removes federal loans from financial aid packages and replaces them with university grants and scholarships.
  • The school also uses need-blind admissions and provides a fully funded undergraduate education for in-state students whose families make $75,000 a year or less.

Washington University in St. Louis unveiled its new "no-loan" policy, removing federal loans from financial aid packages and replacing them with university grants and scholarships.

The move would ensure that no student would graduate saddled with debt, often with high-interest payments that far exceed the amount the loan was initially worth.

Tuition and fees for the 2023-2024 school year totaled $83,760, $61,750 of which accounted for tuition to the private research university. Additionally, the school estimates that students will spend approximately $5,000 on other expenses, including books, supplies, and travel.

"We are deeply committed to making a WashU education accessible for all talented students who earn admission," Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said in a statement.

"We have worked hard to make good on our promise to remove financial barriers for all admitted undergraduate students, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds. We want to get them here, support them during their time here, and prepare them to do great things. Now, when they graduate from WashU, they will do so debt-free."

The new policy is one of several measures the institution is taking to make attendance more affordable.

Last year, the university switched to need-blind admissions and does not consider applicants' ability to pay for their education when making admissions decisions.

Additionally, in 2019, Martin announced the WashU Pledge, a promise to pay for a full undergraduate education — including tuition, fees, housing, and meals — for students from Missouri and Southern Illinois if their families make $75,000 a year or less.

"We are making this 'WashU Pledge' first because it's the right thing to do … we are Washington University 'in St. Louis.' That means we have a unique responsibility to provide opportunity for students in our extended region — to the four corners of Missouri and our neighbors in the southern portion of Illinois," Martin said in the October 2019 statement.

Since then, scores of schools have developed their own free tuition programs for qualifying students as institutions search for ways to make higher education more accessible and equitable.