Loan Policy FAQ

Wellesley was the first college to reduce loans across the board in the late 1990s.

Wellesley has always been committed to providing an affordable education for our students.  We lowered loans and increased grant aid over the years to help students graduate with reasonable financial aid loan levels. In 2008, we introduced three loan levels (starting with $0-Loan) keyed to the economic resources of the family.

What is the purpose of Wellesley’s enhanced financial aid policy?
Wellesley is committed to making education affordable to students, regardless of their families’ financial circumstances. Considered one of the most socio-economically diverse colleges in the country, Wellesley has a long tradition of need-blind admission for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The College meets 100% of a student’s demonstrated need; 55% of our students currently receive financial aid. Our new loan policy is part of our long-standing commitment to serving students and families.
How will Wellesley’s enhanced financial aid policy benefit students?
This enhanced financial aid policy eliminates loans for Wellesley students who have the greatest financial need and for whom debt after graduation can be an issue. It lowers loan packages by one-third for many other students. Specifically, the policy:
Who is eligible to have their loans eliminated or reduced?
Any student who qualifies for aid under Wellesley's institutional policies is eligible to have her loan eliminated or reduced if she meets the criteria.
What if students do not qualify to have their loans eliminated or reduced?
They will continue to benefit from Wellesley’s standard low loan packages, with a four-year debt of $15,200. This amount of debt is low relative to the aid packages of many colleges and universities. It is, in fact, significantly lower than the aggregate loan amounts in the federal student loan programs.
How does Wellesley calculate parental income?
When calculating parental income, Wellesley includes both taxed and untaxed sources of income. Taxed income includes such sources as earned income, interest income, and income from dividends. Untaxed income includes yearly contributions into 401/403 plans, cash flows from businesses and rental properties, corporate profits, and so on. The level of parental income also includes income from the noncustodial parent if parents are no longer together.
Does this initiative mean that, if a student qualifies to have her loan eliminated, she cannot have loans or will never have them in her financial aid package?
No. A student may choose to borrow to help with expenses. Typical situations include the following: a student with a heavy course load chooses to take a loan instead of Work-Study; a student studying abroad borrows because she cannot work abroad. Continuing students who miss renewal deadlines will have higher loans packaged if they have not requested extensions. Finally, a student can request a review of her financial aid offer, and a loan can be part of her new package. These situations can also affect the loan amounts for students in the reduced and standard loan categories.
How will the new loan policy interface with the relatively new policy of expanded access to study abroad?
Students who study abroad cannot work abroad; therefore, a loan is packaged in the amount that they would have had in work-study had they remained on Wellesley's home campus.
How will the new loan policy affect outside scholarships?
Wellesley students who are awarded outside scholarships continue to receive the fullest possible benefit of these scholarships. We use outside scholarship aid to reduce the “self-help” portion of a financial aid package – that is, student loans, Work-Study, and student contributions from summer earnings, before making any reduction in grant aid.
How does this policy benefit Davis Degree candidates?
Yes. Davis Degree candidates who are self-supporting will be evaluated relative to the new loan policy on the basis of their income and calculated contribution.
How does this policy benefit international students?
All international students who receive financial aid will have their loans eliminated and replaced with Wellesley grant aid. There are no stipulations about family incomes or contributions. This decision recognizes the difficulty faced by international students who return to their home countries and must repay a student loan. Exceptions include study abroad and aid applications completed past the deadlines.
What exactly are the enhanced loan levels?


Beginning Fall 2013 Eliminated Loan Reduced Loan Standard Loan
First Year $0 $1,800 $3,000
Second Year $0 $2,300 $3,500
Junior $0 $3,000 $4,200
Senior $0 $3,000 $4,500
Total $0 $10,100 $15,200


Wellesley is committed to keeping student loan levels low so that financial concerns do not limit a student’s choices upon graduation. Students typically have 10 years to pay off loans in manageable monthly payments. The loans are either low interest federal student loans or low interest student loans from Wellesley College.

See also: Frequently asked financial aid questions about:

See also:

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us in the Student Financial Services Office.

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