WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. (NEWS10) – On Wednesday Williams College, the highly-selective liberal arts school in western Massachusetts, took a major step toward what it calls “true affordability” for all students receiving financial aid. Starting with the fall 2022 semester, the college will become the first in the country to completely move away from loans, as well as required campus and summer jobs in all of its financial aid packages. The components will be replaced with equivalent grant funds, dollar for dollar.

The changes greatly simplify the financial aid process for families, who used to have to manage a complex portfolio of grants, loans, and student work requirements. The college’s latest move immediately benefits more than 1,100 of Williams’ undergraduate students who receive financial aid from the school. Middle-income families will receive around $35,000 in extra grant aid over four years, while the college’s lowest-income families, whose aid packages already excluded loans, will receive almost $16,000 in additional grants.

The move will cost the college around $6.75 million each year, raising its total financial aid budget to $77.5 million per year- one of the most generous per capita in the nation. Williams College leaders described the initiative as the latest step in a longtime quest to reduce the true cost of college. “Williams’ leadership in liberal arts excellence and affordability drew me here and inspires me every day,” said Williams President Maud S. Mandel. “The school’s dual commitments to academic excellence and affordability are a model for ensuring access to an outstanding education. That’s why our financial aid packages go so far beyond the cost of attendance, to look at the true cost of participation.”

Dean of Admission and Student Financial Services Liz Creighton said Williams has long been a leader in college access and affordability. The new program expands financial aid packages to address the hidden and sometimes not-so-hidden costs, that Creighton says prevent students from taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them.