Washington University in St. Louis announces no-loan policy, replacing federal loans with scholarships and grants

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Students across the country are dealing with the burden of hefty loans as college degrees keep getting more expensive.

Washington University is looking to change that for its students by adopting a “no-loan policy,” which would remove federal student loans from financial aid packages and replace them with scholarships and university grants.

Isabella Hodson is a senior at the university and knows the countdown to graduation is ticking.

“The real world is right around the corner,” Hodson says.

So does the time until she has to start worrying about the $20,000 in loans waiting for her.

“I think students should be able to have a debt-free experience leaving college and not be anxious about graduating like I am, “ Hodson says. “I know that’s kind of hanging over my head.”

Washington University’s “no-loan policy” will start in the fall of 2024.

The school’s goal is to allow all students who get into the university to be able to go to college without going into debt.

“While studying I feel like students should not have to worry about all of this,” Hodson says. “They should just be able to go to school.”

Freshman Daniel Huinda says he always knew he was going to major in engineering. However, the biggest thing standing in his way was how much it would cost him.

“The schools that I was looking at for engineering were all public and state schools and they were all charging me 40-50-$60,000 and so cost was just a huge factor in where I went to school,” Huinda says.

Huinda says this will open the door for more students who maybe wouldn’t have applied because of financial barriers.

“Getting a world-class education at a world-class campus is a huge, huge opportunity for students looking to go to college to have the opportunity to go to a school like here and not have to worry about finances,” Huinda says.

Washington University tells First Alert 4 that the funding for this program comes from the Gateway to Success initiative, where in 2021 the school made a $1 billion investment into financial aid for students.

Although this is a step in the right direction, Hodson says the work isn’t done in offering the best aid to all students.

“I feel like a more individualized review of each person and the aid they require would also be beneficial,” Hodson says.

First Alert 4 asked what this means for current undergraduate students with loans. We are waiting to hear back from WashU.

President Joe Biden proposed canceling up to $20,000 in student loan debt for low- and middle-income borrowers but the program was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in late June.

The clock is ticking for millions of student loan borrowers. In just over 22 days, student loan payments will resume for the first time in over three years.

The loans started accruing interest again within the last week.

More on the “no-loan policy” can be found here.