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Lafayette College’s Board of Trustees has voted to dramatically increase student financial aid beginning with the class entering next fall. Lafayette will introduce its new Trustee Scholars program and enhance the existing Marquis Scholars program. Both programs include need-based aid and awards that are not based on need.

Lafayette’s top annual non-need-based award will increase by 25 percent, from $10,000 to $12,500. Incoming Marquis Scholars, among the College’s most capable and motivated students, will receive an annual minimum award of $12,500 (totaling $50,000 over four years) or a grant in the full amount of their demonstrated need if the need is more than $12,500. The College enrolls 60 Marquis Scholars each year.

Lafayette will launch the Trustee Scholars program with 32 students enrolled in the first year. Students named Trustee Scholars will receive an annual minimum award of $7,500 (totaling $30,000 over four years) or a grant covering their full need if the need exceeds $7,500.

Marquis Scholars and Trustee Scholars are selected from among the College’s most promising applicants. When the full complement of 60 Marquis Scholars and 32 Trustee Scholars is enrolled in each class at Lafayette, there will be 368 students — more than 18 percent of the College’s total enrollment — receiving no-need awards or full-grants-to-need under these programs.

The enhanced Marquis Scholars program and new Trustee Scholars program make up just one portion of the financial aid that Lafayette provides to students and their families each year. This year the College’s financial aid office administered more than $25 million in grants, scholarships, loans and campus employment aid. This includes $13 million in outright, College-funded grants and scholarships that are benefiting 44 percent of Lafayette students.

Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf said, “We recognize the continuing public concern about the rising costs of higher education. This major increase in financial aid reflects our commitment to making a Lafayette education more affordable for students and parents.”

Lafayette students benefit from more than 350 endowed scholarships funded by alumni and other supporters, a number that is growing rapidly because of the $143 million Lafayette Leadership Campaign, publicly announced on October 24, 1997. The largest single goal of the campaign, which is the most ambitious fundraising effort Lafayette has ever undertaken, is to add $30 million to the College’s endowment for financial aid.

Besides their special financial-aid award, Marquis Scholars receive additional benefits, including distinctive educational experiences, most notably a College-funded, three-week, study-abroad course during the interim session between semesters. This January, 47 Marquis Scholars and 123 other Lafayette students will be taking seven courses on four continents, including courses in China; East Africa; Israel and Greece; Berlin, Prague and Munich; England, Scotland and Ireland; the Bahamas, and London.

Marquis Scholars also participate in cultural activities in major U.S. and Canadian cities and on campus, and in mentoring programs with Lafayette faculty.

“The Marquis Scholars program is already helping Lafayette attract truly exceptional students in a highly competitive marketplace,” said Barry W. McCarty, dean of enrollment services. “Increasing our financial aid for the best and brightest students will further strengthen Lafayette’s competitive position.”

Among the 598 first-year students in Lafayette’s Class of 2002, 48 percent are receiving financial aid from the College that fully meets their demonstrated need. Need-based awards range from $2,000 to $30,000 per year. The average award is $15,585.

The College also makes Lafayette more affordable through a program called Higher Education Loans to Parents, or HELP, now in its 15th year. HELP loans of up to $7,000 per year are available to families that demonstrate need or whose calculated ability to pay does not exceed Lafayette’s total cost by more than $5,000. Lafayette pays all interest on the loans, and no repayment toward principal is required while the student is in school. Repayment begins when the student graduates, with eight years to repay.

In addition to awarding $13 million in grants and scholarships, the College will pay out more than $600,000 this year in interest on behalf of families with HELP loans. At any given time, 25 percent of Lafayette families are taking advantage of HELP Loans, and 30 percent of all families use the program sometime during a student’s four years on campus.

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