I take some pride in the knowledge that over 20 years ago my alma mater, Bowdoin College of Brunswick, Maine (chartered in 1794) made the taking of SAT exams optional. In January 2008, Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees approved the elimination of loans for all new and then current students receiving financial aid. Loans were replaced by grants. Barry Mills, then President of Bowdoiin explained the college’s new aid policy so:
"This decision is intended to greatly enhance the college’s ability to attract and retain students of great promise, regardless of their economic circumstances. It reduces significantly the barriers to a Bowdoin education for students from low- and many middle income families, while permitting our graduates tp pursue career paths and graduate education based on talents, interests, and promise in a particular field, not on their capacity to repay student loans.
We are the first college in Maine to institute a “no-loan” policy for all students on aid. And Bowdoin’s policy is among the more ambitious announced thusfar, given the size of our endowment, the percentage of students at Bowdoin who receive aid, the size of the aid package provided, and Bowdoin’s committment to meet the full demonstrated need of its students for all four years."
The 2019-2020 all-in cost for a student at Bowdoin College is $56,000. Student grants under the Bowdoin no-loan policy range now from ±$5,000 to ±$25,000 per year.