Today, Grinnell effectively writes off more than 60 percent of its tuition — that's more than any other school except Harvard University, Kington says. But it's also more than Grinnell can afford without compromising the quality of its education.
"We don't get in a room and say, 'OK, do we give more aid here or do we give a raise to a professor over here?' It's never that stark, but behind the curtain, what's happening is this tradeoff," says Kington.
Grinnell is one of many hoping to save money by turning some of its student grants into loans instead. People borrow for other things, he says.