The investment in a Lafayette experience, as with most private national liberal arts colleges and universities, is considerable. While the College meets 100% of demonstrated need for all students, more substantial assistance is necessary. Starting with the 2022-23 incoming class of first-year students, the College will increase its no-loan threshold from $50,000 to $150,000. In other words, domestic students with a total family income up to $150,000 and with typical family assets for their income levels will have institutional needs met by grants and work-study.

Additionally, Lafayette is leading the way among elite liberal arts colleges and universities as it ends the use of the CSS Profile for first-year students entering the College in fall 2022 who attend high schools designated as high poverty (>=75% of the high school’s students receive free and reduced lunch). Students who qualify for this exemption also earn a waiver from submitting this form for the duration of their time at Lafayette.

The moves already have received coverage in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The College is making these decisions in response to several key indicators that predict what will occur over the next 10 years in relation to the number of prospective students in our primary geographic market. These decisions are designed to position Lafayette for future success as well as eliminate barriers that can make low-income students feel unwelcome and excluded.

These steps forward may concern current Lafayette students who believe they would benefit from these initiatives. They can be assured that the Financial Aid Office works to meet 100% of demonstrated need and provides support strategies for students who may graduate with college loan debt. The financial aid team is eager to discuss those strategies with current students. 

Creating such a robust no-loan threshold brings with it an obligation to review and enhance where necessary campus life and academic support programs, ensuring access to them regardless of a student’s financial aid status.

The College also will work with the College Board to report back findings from this new approach to the CSS Profile in order to help guide other institutions and improve access for low-income and underrepresented students.

These initiatives add dimension to the College’s financial aid approach and create considerable opportunity to support many more Leopards in the years to come.  

CSS Profile

Created by the College Board, the CSS Profile is a financial aid application used for determining demonstrated need for institutional need-based grants and is a secondary form to FAFSA. The CSS Profile provides some colleges and universities a deeper and more precise look at an applicant’s financial background, important when awarding finite institutional resources.

Some feel that using the profile forces low-income applicants to further prove they are poor, with the application acting as another barrier to access and creating shame by placing the focus on finances rather than an applicant’s talent and ability. An additional burden to low-income students is a fee associated with the use of the profile that applicants must pay in order to share what’s collected with participating colleges, although the College Board recently announced that fees will be waived starting with the 2022-23 academic year for applicants from families whose adjusted gross incomes are $100,000 or less.

Many larger university systems have stopped using the profile while many elite liberal arts colleges and universities still rely on the detail it provides.

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