As Americans are getting ready to start paying back their federal student loans, one prestigious Missouri university is choosing to buck the trend. Beginning next fall, undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis will not have to worry about getting federal loans.

Mike Runiewicz, is Director of Student Financial Services at WASH U.

“Dollar for dollar. We’re doing this because we know that attending college is expensive,” Runiewicz told Missourinet. “We know that students from low, limited, and moderate-income households sometimes feel pressured and feel burdened by the cost of attending college. We know that this is one way that we can reduce the burden on those families.”

He said that those loans will be removed from all financial aid packages and replaced with scholarships and university grants. How is the university going to pay for this program?

“I do think that the fact that we are in a really strong financial situation does help to cover the cost of a program like this,” he said. “We are still trying to determine exactly where the funding for this program will come, but the fact that the university brings in dollars through research and through other methods as well, certainly puts us in a great financial situation to be able to do something like this.”

According to Runiewicz, the university stands ready for a potential influx of new and transfer students.

“So all of the undergraduate students that we’re admitting, this program will potentially benefit. We’re absolutely ready to review any applications of any students who want to apply, and we are ready with the resources to provide that financial assistance for all of the students.”

The “no-loan” program applies to WASH U’s full-time undergraduate students, regardless of whether they live on or off campus.

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