Any prospective student seeking some form of higher education probably understands the major risks of acquiring heavy, if not crippling, individual debt. Or some don’t, getting them into an even worse situation. Student loan debt accounts for a tremendous amount of the total debt of U.S. citizens, and it only looks to grow.
For people considering Northwestern University for college, or for those already there, there is some exciting news. Northwestern will no longer suggest that students take out loans for covering tuition. Instead, those who would qualify for financial aid will instead see their costs covered by a mix of grants, scholarships, and work study programs. Alan Cubbage, spokesman of the upcoming plan, also explains that current undergraduates will have their debt capped if it exceeds $20,000, and begin receiving grants and scholarships as well.
Cubbage went on to explain the current aid system has class tuition costs averaging over $40,000 for graduations, and combined with things like board or other necessities, another $20,000 is normally added. This new program will, essentially, keep crippling debt off of students and open up channels for students from all economic and academic backgrounds. More than half of the current alumni already qualifies for financial aid, so the results look promising.
Northwestern isn’t kidding when they want to open up options for everyone, either. Students who don’t typically qualify for federal student loans or loans from private banks can still seek higher education, as Northwestern’s grant and scholarships are privately funded.
Taking it a step further, they are also covering the Illinois Monetary Award Program, a type of grant which is still being discussed for approval based on budgetary needs. Northwestern wishes to grant this statewide scholarship to those who need it while the program awaits approval in 2016.
Northwestern is receiving much support in its goals to help facilitate higher education. Roberta Buffet Elliot, for example, donated $101 million to the college organization to support its coverage goals for new alumni. Thus far, Northwestern is setting an example as a standard for how to best help students become better educated without saddling them with immense debt. This process is to take effect fall of this year for new and current undergraduates.