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Colby College receives $50M donation to its financial aid program

The Miller Library at Colby College is seen, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Waterville, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
The Miller Library at Colby College is seen, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Waterville, Maine.

Colby College in Waterville is receiving a $50 million donation to benefit its financial aid program.

Colby Vice President Matt Proto said the gift from the Lunder Foundation — one of the largest in the school's history — will go towards a financial aid endowment that he expects will benefit thousands of families over many years.

Proto said the new funding will allow the school to continue efforts to bring in more students from varied backgrounds, such as first-generation students, rural students, and those from Maine.

"We want to ensure that students from Maine see themselves at Colby, as well," Proto said. "I know that's actually really important to Peter and Paula, and the Lunder Foundation. To ensure that talented students from Maine see Colby as an option for them. And this gift will certainly allow for more Maine students to enroll at Colby."

While annual tuition, room and board at Colby exceeds $80,000, Proto said the average financial aid package is more than $66,000, and the school can meet 100% of a student's demonstrated need without student loans.

"So that allows students to graduate, literally, with the opportunity to be debt-free from student loans, to allow them to make choices, to what they want to do with their lives, without being burdened with that debt," Proto said.

44% of Colby students receive some form of financial aid. About 18% of students in Colby's latest class are first-generation.