I believe there is a strong case for modest student loans as part of a well-designed financial aid package. Today more than ever financial aid dollars are limited, even at well-endowed private colleges. These resources can be spread much further, thereby helping more students, if aid packages include a loan component. Importantly, if loans are capped at a modest amount, they are fully consistent with the core educational values of encouraging hard work and personal responsibility.
At Grinnell College, where I serve as president, under our long-standing need-blind admissions policy, we select students based on their merits and not on their ability to pay. For all domestic students who qualify for admission, we are committed to meeting 100% of full demonstrated financial need via a combination of three key elements: federally subsidized loans, currently capped by Grinnell at $2,000 per year; contributions from students from their on-campus and summer work earnings; and direct grants.