Article by a University of Rochester grad who emails:
I have been following your blog for a while. Your issues are ones that are very near and dear to my heart.
These programs don’t completely make college tuition affordable because most of these programs only cover tuition and 50 percent or more of college costs can be due to room, board, fees, and other expenses at public schools. But these
programs are recognizing that college tuition is spiraling out of reach for low and middle-income families and trying to correct it. I think they are a step in the right direction.
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Michigan State University, Miami University in Ohio, the University of Pennsylvania, and Rice University have all eliminated loans from the financial aid packages of low-income students. Princeton University offers loan-free packages to all students who qualify for financial aid. Other schools, like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford universities, eliminate the parental contribution for low-income students but retain the student contribution. So the student may still require loans to cover tuition.
Basically, I agree with the author's take. School-based aid is never going to level the playing field, but competitive, well-endowed schools are often beacons for the rest of the field.