Williams Announces Nation's First All-Grant Financial Aid Program

April 13, 2022

Williams students, faculty and staff,

I am pleased to announce a major enhancement in Williams financial aid.

At their meeting last week, our Board of Trustees voted to convert our entire financial aid program into the nation’s first “all-grant” program. Starting with the fall 2022 semester, all students receiving financial aid will receive 100 percent of their Williams award in the form of grants that do not need to be repaid. We will eliminate loans from all financial aid awards and will no longer require students to hold work-study jobs.

Families will still receive the same amount of support under this new program. Williams will simply replace loans and required campus jobs and summer work with an equivalent amount in grants. As you can imagine, the move will also significantly simplify the financial aid process.

This follows recent revisions to our financial aid methodology that already reduced the parent contribution for many families.

The all-grant program will benefit 1,100 current students, or roughly 53 percent of our undergraduate student body, at a cost of $6.75M per year. The move will expand our financial aid budget to $77.5M/year—one of the most generous per capita in the nation, thanks to support from alumni.

It brings me great joy to share the news of the all-grant program with you. I came to Williams inspired by our commitments to liberal arts excellence and affordability. Those same commitments are central to our strategic vision for the future. The new program is a crucial step in our quest for what we are starting to call “true affordability”—a program that encompasses the costs of both attendance and full and equal participation. Williams’ financial aid program is already distinctive in including free course books and materials, health insurance, summer storage, optional funding for travel courses and internships, and more. The new program extends that commitment to opportunity, by clearing obstacles and freeing students to make the most of your education.

The new program will not preclude you from working on campus if you choose to. The difference is that you will be free to choose the employment options that are right for your goals and will be able to keep your earnings for savings, family support or other needs.

Students who currently qualify for financial aid will receive additional details about the all-grant program from Student Financial Services. I encourage you to direct any questions to them. As you do so, I hope you will join me in thanking Dean of Admission and Student Financial Services Liz Creighton ’01, Director of Student Financial Services Ashley Bianchi and their entire team for making this program their labor of love—they have been working to make this a reality for years. I also want to thank our Board of Trustees, whose commitment to both excellence and true affordability shaped their decision to fund the program. And I want to thank our alumni, whose past gifts made the all-grant program possible, and whose future support will ensure its success.

And of course to our students and their families, as well as our faculty and staff. Together, you make this one of the most remarkable educational communities imaginable. My colleagues and I will continue working to clear a path, so that everyone can thrive at Williams.

Maud S. Mandel
President
Professor of History; Program in Jewish Studies