Minimizing Debt

Quote from Emily Mendoza '14

Our financial aid philosophy includes the belief that students should contribute to their education, but their debt burden shouldn't limit their future career choices.

Because grants and scholarships make up 84 percent of the average financial aid package, our graduates leave Macalester with lower than average student loan debt.

  • Macalester’s Class of 2009 had 25 percent lower student loan debt than the national average, according to a recent analysis by the Project on Student Debt, produced by the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success.
  • A statewide comparison yields similarly strong results: The average debt for Class of 2010 Macalester graduates was $19,649, compared to the Minnesota average of $29,058.
  • For the Class of 2010—the most recent data available—Macalester’s average student debt load ranked third lowest among the Minnesota institutions, public and private, that provided data.
Chart of need-based aid

Even as tuition has increased, the percentage of Macalester’s overall tuition paid through loans and government grants has declined from 21.9 percent in 2005–06 to 15.5 percent in 2010–11. Donors provide funding for the much-needed Macalester grants and scholarships that students don’t need to repay.

Managing Resources Wisely

Each year, approximately 2,000 students and their families invest in Macalester by enrolling. We honor and respect each investment by guiding the college’s finances with goals that are intentional, thoughtful, and in tune with our mission. Remarkable advances in financial stewardship sustain and drive the college’s momentum:

  • Careful budgeting and endowment management over the past several years have allowed Macalester to navigate global economic challenges without noticeable disruption to campus operations.
  • Last year marked the college’s 37th consecutive year with a balanced budget.
  • Macalester continues to generate administrative cost efficiencies and maintain one of the lowest administrative staff-to-student ratios among its peers.
  • Macalester’s endowment has outperformed its policy benchmark over the long term and ranks in the top quartile of endowment portfolios over ten years.
Chart of family incomes.