Grinnell College announced that it will eliminate student loans in students’ financial aid packages as part of a “no-loan initiative” endorsed by the college’s board of trustees. In a press release, the college said the change is a response to the financial hardship that many families are experiencing because of the pandemic. The initiative will begin in the fall 2021 semester. “We are engaging in this initiative because we believe that education benefits not just individuals but communities and, in that benefit, is a crucial engine of democracy,” Grinnell President Anne Harris said. “A Grinnell education is a shared endeavor — a partnership of Grinnell College, our students, families and alumni. We’ve been listening to the concerns of students and families, and this initiative will help our students as they approach graduation and face an uncertain economy.” The college estimates it will spend $5 million annually on the no-loan initiative. Grinnell has contributed more than $10 million this year in additional financial aid and to cover unanticipated student needs that have arisen out of the pandemic. More than 60% of enrolled students are currently offered student loans as part of a need-based financial aid package. In 2019, the average borrower graduated with cumulative student educational debt of about $20,000.