“It is principally about access and affordability,” President William Adams said of Colby’s new policy, which takes effect in fall 2008. “As comprehensive fees rise, we can do and we should do more. We don’t want any student not to come to Colby because of concerns about paying off student loans.”
Colby’s move has garnered considerable national attention, Thomas said, but the effect on admissions is impossible to predict.
Thomas said the timing of a similar initiative for Maine residents, announced last fall before application deadlines, resulted in an additional 200 applications from Maine—a 49-percent increase over last year. The no-loan policy will have an effect on Colby’s general applicant pool, he said. “Is it going to be five percent, ten percent, twenty percent? I have no idea.”
As this issue went to press, Vassar and Columbia had just joined the “no-loan club.” More colleges will have to follow suit, Thomas predicted, as they compete for the top students in the nation and abroad.