The Colgate Commitment

The Colgate Commitment marks a milestone in the University’s progress to make a Colgate education affordable to as many talented, high-achieving students as possible, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

 

For eligible domestic students, beginning fall 2021, this comprehensive financial aid initiative will:

  • eliminate tuition,
  • significantly reduce student debt, and
  • adjust tuition based on the family's income levels.
     

The Composition of the Colgate Commitment
 

Full Tuition Support

Students with an annual family income of $80,000 or less will attend Colgate tuition-free.

Aligning Income and Tuition Costs

Students with annual family income levels between $80,000 and $150,000 will pay a percentage of annual income toward tuition.

Expanding the No-Loan Initiative

Students with annual family income levels up to $150,000, an increase from $125,000, will have their federal loans replaced with grants.

The Colgate Commitment by Total Family Income 

(Assuming typical assets)
Books, pencils, and a waterbottle.
$80,000 or less
Books and pencils.
$80,000–$125,000
  • 5% of income toward tuition, on average
  • No-loan eligible
Books and a pencil.
$125,000–$150,000
  • 10% of income toward tuition, on average
  • No-loan eligible
A book and a pencil.
$150,000 or more
  • The University continues to meet 100% of the demonstrated need of all admitted students.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Colgate Commitment will go into effect starting in the fall of 2021 for both first year and continuing domestic students. All financial aid awards offered for the 2021-22 academic year will have considered students' eligibility. Awards for previous years will not be affected.

Effective for the fall of 2021, domestic students with a total family income of up to $150,000 (and assets typical for that income range), will be eligible for the Colgate Commitment, an expansion of Colgate's no-loan initiative. 

Total income is calculated using taxable income (e.g. wages, interest, business income, etc.) plus untaxed income (e.g. child support, social security, pension distributions, etc.).

Losses are added back into income (e.g. business losses, capital losses, and depreciation on real and/or rental property could be added back in to be counted as part of total family income). Business income includes income generated from sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, or rental income.

Assets include bank accounts, investments, home equity, and business net worth, for example, but do not include retirement savings.

Tuition-free means a student’s Colgate Grant will cover the amount of a student’s tuition charge for the academic year. A family may still have a family contribution assessed to go towards other components of the cost of attendance, such as room, board, books, etc. Colgate meets 100% of a student’s demonstrated financial need based on the full cost of attendance for the academic year.

Families will still need to make important decisions about their approach to financing their educational costs. The expansion will allow eligible students to have the federal subsidized and unsubsidized student loan component of their financial aid offer replaced with Colgate grants. Students and families will still be responsible for their family’s contribution to the cost of attendance, and may elect to include loans as part of their strategy for financing these costs.

Yes, although eligible students will not have loans automatically added to the initial financial aid offer, they will still have access to the Federal Direct Loan program upon request. Eligibility for the expansion of the no-loan initiative will neither impact a student’s nor a parent’s ability to borrow under the Federal Direct Loan program, or to seek financing through a private educational loan.

The financial aid policies for students attending off-campus study programs are unchanged. Colgate Grant recipients can receive additional financial aid to meet the extra costs for one semester-long and one extended-study program. A loan of no more than $1,500 will be offered to help cover the extra cost of the program, regardless of loans offered for on-campus study.

The Colgate Commitment is specifically for domestic students. However, Colgate has always met 100% of all admitted students’ demonstrated need, including international students. Colgate has never used loans to help cover the need of international students. When calculating a student’s level of need, we take into account all components of the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, housing, meals, and other academic costs), and a student’s ability to cover those costs based on the results of the financial aid application.

International students who do not apply for or receive Colgate financial aid upon admission are not eligible for aid in subsequent years, so there would not be any financial aid available throughout enrollment at Colgate, in that instance, including aid that comes from the Colgate Commitment.

No, Federal Work-Study and Colgate Work-Study will continue to be offered to eligible students, even if their total family income is less than $150,000. Students offered work-study as part of their financial aid may work in a part-time job during the academic year to earn the amount offered. Students with work-study awards will receive priority in hiring for most on-campus jobs. Generally, students work 10-12 hours per week to earn the amount in their financial aid offer.

As is currently the case, domestic student’s eligibility for financial aid is reevaluated prior to each academic year. Financial aid is offered on an annual basis, determined after careful analysis of the aid application materials submitted. If your family’s financial situation changes, the amount and type of financial aid offered may be adjusted in a subsequent academic year.

No, the amount of additional grant assistance moving forward is equal to the amount that would have traditionally been offered as a federal loan before the expansion of the No-Loan Initiative went into effect. Borrowers who request additional loans beyond the standard amount offered initially will not have higher levels of loans converted to Colgate Grant.

In Their Own Words

Students and alumni share how Colgate’s financial support impacted their lives.

Lizeth in her cap and gown at her high school graduation holding a Colgate pennant.

Lizeth Mora Guerrero ’24

“I'm motivated to use the education Colgate is providing me with and...”

A portrait of Noah.

Noah Bernstein ’20

“Having a college degree without debt gives me the flexibility to...”

A portrait of Janisa.

Janisa Middleton ’22

“The financial aid package that I received from Colgate was a major contributor to my...”