Colgate Pursues $100 Million for Financial Aid 

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By Dan DeVries October 3, 2023

Colgate University is seeking at least $100 million in new endowment gifts to support continued growth of the Colgate Commitment, the University’s expansive approach to making a Colgate education affordable and accessible to all admitted students.

This new fundraising push, part of Colgate’s $1 billion Campaign for the Third-Century, aims to eliminate federal loans for all Colgate students by replacing loans with Colgate grants. In addition, these funds will increase the number of aided students and increase aid dollars to meet the true cost of attendance — including healthcare, travel expenses, textbooks, and other classroom supplies.

“Significantly increasing access to a Colgate education is one of my most important responsibilities,” said Colgate President Brian W. Casey. “Colgate seeks students of extraordinary promise, and we must make sure that those who wish to enroll at Colgate can make this possible.” 

Colgate’s work to increase financial aid and decrease student debt has grown in stages since the launch of its original No-Loan Initiative in 2020. In 2021, Colgate launched the Colgate Commitment, which now eliminates federal loans for aided students with family incomes of up to $175,000. Additionally, accepted students with a combined family income of $80,000 or less pay no tuition. 

The University continues its longstanding tradition of meeting 100% of the demonstrated need of all accepted students. The average debt for aided students in the Class of 2023 is $10,577. Currently, 42% of the Class of 2027 is receiving financial aid from Colgate with an average award of $61,810.

Improving financial aid packages through the elimination of loans makes Colgate a more attractive option for prospective students, positively impacting both the diversity and caliber of applicants and the University’s admissions yield — considerations of even greater consequence following recent Supreme Court rulings on admission practices. The University has seen a significant increase in applicants in the last two years, a trend which connects with the introduction of the No-Loan Initiative and the Colgate Commitment.

For Fiscal Year 2022, Colgate’s total financial aid budget was $68.8 million. Of that amount, just 28.2% was sourced by the endowment. By growing the financial aid endowment through donor support, Colgate can depend on this permanent resource to fund a larger share of its recurring financial aid obligations. Reaching the goal of $100 million in endowed financial aid is the pathway to ensuring the promise of the Colgate Commitment and represents a promise from past and current donors to future students that they will have the financial support they need to access everything a Colgate education has to offer.