Colby Expands $0 Contribution Policy

Announcements3 MIN READ

New policy highlights leadership and commitment to expanding access

Photo by Gabe Souza
By George Sopko
Contact: George Sopko ([email protected])
October 20, 2022

To continue to open its doors wider for talented students from all backgrounds, Colby announced it has increased the household income threshold of its $0 contribution policy from $65,000 to $75,000. Under the expanded program, parents or guardians earning a total income of $75,000 or less with typical assets can expect to contribute $0 toward the cost of their student’s college education.

The updated policy will be available this academic year for all current Colby students who are eligible, as well as future enrolling classes. 

The $0 contribution policy is part of the Colby Commitment, a comprehensive College-wide initiative aimed at recruiting and supporting extraordinary students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and reducing the financial barriers that would otherwise preclude them from experiencing a dynamic Colby education.

Other key elements include meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need without loans so students have the opportunity to graduate without loan debt, as well as the Fair Shot Fund, where families earning up to $150,000 with typical assets can expect an annual parent or guardian contribution of $15,000 or less.

“The expansion from $65k to $75k will ensure that more than half of all U.S. families have the opportunity to benefit from our $0 contribution program,” said Randi Maloney ’09, Colby’s associate vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid. “Enrolling the most talented students from all backgrounds continues to be a top priority for the College, and we’re extremely excited about the positive impact this new policy will have on our community.”

A Leader in Financial Aid and Ensuring Student Success

Colby has more than doubled its financial aid budget over the past five years, and it was ranked number four above Harvard, Yale, and Princeton in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of colleges with the most generous financial aid programs. Additionally, the American Talent Initiative recently ranked the College number one in the Highest Rate of Pell Growth category, noting that from 2015-21 Colby “more than doubled its Pell student enrollment.”

As part of the College’s deep commitment to recruiting and enrolling exceptional students regardless of their financial circumstances, Colby has partnered with various organizations that aim to increase the percentage of talented low-income students attending the nation’s best colleges and universities. These include QuestBridge, the Posse Foundation, and a wide range of community-based organizations.

What’s resulted is a student body that represents an incredible diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. For the Class of 2026, 35 percent of U.S. students identify as people of color, 11 percent will be the first in their family to attend and graduate from college, and 14 percent are non-U.S. citizens. 

“The expansion from $65k to $75k will ensure that more than half of all U.S. families have the opportunity to benefit from our $0 contribution program.”

Randi Maloney ’09, Associate Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

The College has also simplified its financial aid and admissions processes, eliminating application fees as well as additional writing supplements, and going test-optional well before the pandemic. Just as important has been developing first-generation and low-income programs to help students be successful while they’re at Colby.

“From guaranteeing research opportunities, internships, and global experiences with no financial strings attached, to providing grants to help students manage unanticipated expenses when they arrive at Colby, our goal is to not only expand access but to ensure everyone in our community can thrive and make their greatest impact,” commented Maloney.