Colby Expands Financial Aid to Help Middle-Income Families

Announcements4 MIN READ

New program will cap tuition, room, and board at multiple income levels

Cotter Union and Miller Library on a spring day.
By George SopkoPhotography by Ashley L. Conti
Contact: George Sopko ([email protected]) 207-859-4346
April 9, 2024

As part of its ongoing commitment to making a Colby education affordable for middle-income families, the College announced today a new financial aid program that caps the total amount families pay for tuition, room, and board at various income levels. Made possible by a $10-million gift from an anonymous donor, the expansion of the Fair Shot Fund creates a new model for supporting middle-income families whose children are admitted to the College.

The expanded program will position Colby as one of the only liberal arts schools in the country that guarantees a substantial cap on tuition, room, and board. It will also make a Colby education more affordable than many public, in-state institutions for middle-income families.

The new initiative, made possible through the contribution of a generous alumnus, will be available beginning with the Class of 2029. Under the program, families earning up to $200,000, $150,000, and $100,000 with typical assets can expect an annual contribution of no more than $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively for tuition, room, and board. Colby will also continue its $0 contribution policy where 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.

“We are truly grateful to the alumnus who continues to step forward to help the College open its doors wide for students from all backgrounds and further enhance the socioeconomic diversity of our campus,”

President David A. Greene

The Fair Shot Fund is part of the Colby Commitment, a comprehensive College-wide initiative aimed at recruiting and supporting extraordinary students by removing financial barriers that would otherwise preclude them from experiencing a Colby education. This includes meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need without loans so students have the opportunity to graduate without loan debt.

“While the Fair Shot Fund has been a real game-changer for many students since it launched in 2018, we’ve realized that there are still many families on the higher and lower ends of the middle-income spectrum who’ve fallen between the cracks and are left behind in terms of having access to the type of education that Colby provides,” said President David A. Greene. “This amazing gift will help change that, and we are truly grateful to the alumnus who continues to step forward to help the College open its doors wide for students from all backgrounds and further enhance the socioeconomic diversity of our campus.”  

Simplifying and Expanding Financial Aid

A core part of Colby’s financial aid work has focused on simplifying what has become an overly complex process with language that often causes unnecessary confusion for families and can dissuade students from applying.

“Our view is that students and their families should not think that Colby is out of their reach financially nor be discouraged by the complex process of applying for and receiving aid,” commented Matt Proto, vice president and chief institutional advancement officer at Colby. “The Fair Shot Fund is especially unique because it doesn’t just cap tuition, but also includes room and board. It is part of a menu of financial aid initiatives that continues to show how talented students from families at all income levels will apply and enroll if we can communicate to them about these important policies in a straightforward and simple way.”

Just as important has been developing first-generation and low-income programs to support student success while attending Colby. This includes guaranteeing completely funded research opportunities, internships, and global experiences with no financial strings attached, in addition to providing grants to help first-year students manage unanticipated expenses.

“Expanding our financial aid programs will send an important signal to families,” Associate Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Randi Maloney added, “that Colby is a place committed to making extraordinary educational opportunities attainable to the most talented students from all backgrounds.”

As Colby continues to receive a record number of applications as well as requests for financial aid, it has more than doubled its financial aid budget over the last 10 years. What has resulted is a student population that represents an incredible range of backgrounds and perspectives. The College’s most recent class, the Class of 2027, represents 42 U.S. states, 50 countries, and 445 high schools; 18 percent will be the first in their family to attend and graduate from college, and 16 percent are Pell Grant recipients, a need-based federal financial aid program.