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Trustees enact major changes to financial aid

The Board of Trustees approved sweeping changes to the University's financial aid apparatus today. Under the new system, the parental contribution will be eliminated for students with family incomes of less than $60,000 annually. In addition, students with family incomes of $40,000 or less will see loans replaced with grants.

Furthermore, students from families with incomes up to $100,000 will see reductions in loans, and students above that line will have loans capped. The changes will take effect in the fall 2008 semester for all students receiving need-based aid.

"The strength of the University depends on its ability to select and recruit students on the grounds of ability, dedication and promise, not on a family's financial circumstances," President Richard Brodhead said in a statement. "We have deliberately focused these new investments on relieving the burden not only for parents with incomes below the national media but for students from middle-income families as well."

University officials said the changes are the fruit of the Financial Aid Initiative, a $300-million push to raise funds that is slated to end in one year. Of the target, $230 million was to go toward undergraduate need. Brodhead said in a statement that the initiative has reached $240 million.

The new system resembles trumpeted renovations to the financial aid structures at other elite universities. Princeton University in 2001 announced that it would eliminate all loans for students qualifying for need-based aid. And Harvard University eliminated family contributions for students with family incomes of less than $40,000 in February 2004; loans were slashed but not eliminated in the $40,000 to $60,000 income bracket.

Officials said in a statement that they expect the changes to benefit approximately 2,500 students.


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