Haverford College is the latest exclusive school to replace student loans with grants in an effort to increase accessibility in a climate of skyrocketing tuition.

The small Quaker college will eliminate loans for freshman next year and will reduce the loan burden of current students, though it hasn't been determined by how much, said president Stephen Emerson.

"Even though we're not the richest institution in the world, we thought this was extremely important that we do this," said Emerson.

To finance the program, the school is establishing a new endowment, called the Next Generation Fund, in which all students who receive financial support are asked to give back what “their means allow and the spirit moves” throughout their lives.

 

 

It was inspired in part by two Haverford alumni who recently paid back the financial aid they had received from the school plus interest and in today’s dollars so that two other students would receive the same amount they had been given.

 

 

He said he first proposed overhauling financial aid to make the school more accessible for students from all economic backgrounds last February when he interviewed for the job as president.

 

 

"The board responded by hiring me. They could have said no," he said.

"The board responded by hiring me. They could have said no," he said.

Then at a board meeting two weeks ago he said he proposed the no-loan plan. On Dec. 10, Harvard announced it was offering deep discounts to middle and upper-middle class students, setting of a chain of no-loan offers at other elite schools, including Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact staff writer Kathy Boccella at 610-313-8123 or kboccella@phillynews.com.