Lafayette College announced today that it is taking two steps to improve access to its education for low-income and middle-class families. 

First, applicants for the 2022-23 academic year who attend high schools at which 75% or more of students qualify for free or reduced lunch are no longer required to complete what some scholars and community-based organizations have called “the most onerous form in college admissions” in order to receive financial aid.  

Second, applicants for the 2022-23 academic year from families with total family incomes of up to $150,000 and typical assets for families in this income group will have their financial need met through grants and work-study, without any loans.

“These two actions allow us to welcome talented students who know that Lafayette is the right fit for their growth and success,” says Lafayette President Nicole Farmer Hurd. “They can now dedicate their attention to academic knowledge, personal growth, and professional development instead of worrying about costs, loans, and debt.”

Tuition at Lafayette this academic year is $55,874. The total cost of attendance for first-year students, including room and board, is $73,784.

In a bold and unprecedented move among exclusive liberal arts colleges, Lafayette is waiving, for families from qualifying high schools, its requirement to complete the complex College Scholarship Service Profile, or CSS Profile, in order to receive financial aid. Created by the College Board, the CSS Profile is a financial aid application used for determining demonstrated need for institutional grants and is a supplemental form to FAFSA. It provides colleges and universities a deeper and more precise look at an applicant’s financial background, important when awarding finite institutional resources.

But “how many times do we need to ask students and families to prove they are low-income?” Hurd asks. “It’s demeaning, and it discourages applications from economically disadvantaged students who could excel at Lafayette and make meaningful contributions to our community.”

Combined with an increase in the no-loan policy from $50,000 to $150,000 in family income, the two moves will “make our institution as strong as possible and maintain our high level of student talent while attracting even more students from our own backyard and around the country,” says Hurd, who was the founding CEO of the largest college-access program in the country, the College Advising Corps, before coming Lafayette’s 18th president July 1.

“These changes add dimension to the College’s financial aid approach and create considerable opportunity to support many more Leopards in the years to come,” she says. 

Creating such a robust change in financial aid policies brings with it an obligation to develop and enhance campus life and academic support programs, Hurd adds. 

“We will partner with our advising and campus life offices to review and enhance any resources and support to assist students over their four years,” she says.

The College will report back findings from this new approach in order to help guide other institutions and improve access for low-income and underrepresented students.  

“This move is not only about increasing access and success for low- and middle-income students at Lafayette,” Hurd says. “This is about demonstrating the importance of schools like Lafayette in increasing opportunity. Liberal arts colleges are changing lives through personalized instruction and meaningful connections. We need to recognize our importance in developing leaders and activating talent across our nation.”

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Our goal is for all admitted students to receive the aid they need to realize their educational dreams. We are committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students.

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