The Board of Trustees voted Saturday to keep the College need-blind but to take other steps to increase revenue from students.
The loan cap will increase from its current level of $3,000 per year to $3,500 in the first year, $4,500 in the second year and $5,500 after that. The College will also take steps such as more strictly enforcing financial aid application deadlines, targeting merit aid to increase the number of wealthier students enrolling and admitting a somewhat wealthier group of international students, for whom the College is already need-aware.
Decisions on these issues are not over. The College will conduct annual assessments of alumni giving, endowment performance and tuition revenue.
The Board will decide by fall 2015 if the College is meeting its revenue and fundraising goals. If not, they can order more aggressive strategies to increase student revenue or end need-blind admissions beginning with the class enrolling in 2017.
The vote is the culmination of a year-long review of the College’s finances. Town halls were held for community input in the fall, and SGA, Staff Council, Alumni Council and the faculty all passed resolutions expressing support for maintaining need-blind admissions.
The Board indicated the College can no longer rely so heavily on its endowment, which now funds more than 50 percent of costs, a much higher percentage than at most peer institutions. An increase in student revenues is intended to lessen the burden on the endowment.
The College will also continue to meet 100 percent of full demonstrated need, though changing that policy was never on the table.
President Raynard Kington expressed his support for the decision in a statement.
“By retaining our need-blind admission and financial aid policies, while resolving budgetary shortfalls through increased philanthropic support and net student revenues, we can maintain our simultaneous commitment to excellence and access, thus ensuring that a Grinnell education remains available to all for years to come,” Kington said.
Check back for the full story on Friday.