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February 22, 2022

$3M gift to Colby College will expand aid to cover books, mousepads, winter scarves

brick building with bell tower and flagpole, students in foreground File Photo / William Hall Colby College helped invest in Waterville's revitalization.

While financial aid at many colleges reduces the tuition students pay to attend class, a $3 million gift to Colby College will make it easier for them to afford the textbooks.

The donation by Nancy Greer Weiland and Andrew Weiland will fund $1,250 “welcome grants” to cover incidental expenses — including books, computer equipment, dorm-room items and even winter clothing.

The grants will go this fall to about 100 incoming freshmen whose families meet certain financial aid criteria, according to a news release. Some qualifying students who are currently enrolled will also receive smaller grants for this spring’s semester.

The Waterville liberal arts school has an enrollment of 2,100, and about 42% of students currently receive financial aid in the form of grants. Colby charges $77,000 per year in tuition, room and board, and other fees.

But the “startup” costs of simply becoming a student can run high.

The Weilands, who both graduated from Colby in the 1960s and went on to careers in medicine and science, said the grant program was inspired by Nancy Weiland’s own experience.

“I came from a family of seven, and when I got to campus, I had no spending money, or very minimal spending money. It was tough,” Weiland said in the release. “It’s nice to give these kids financial aid to get them there, but once they get there, they have to be comfortable.”

The Weiland Welcome Grant program will ensure that first-year students receive the additional financial help they need for a smooth transition to campus life, said Colby President David A. Greene. 

“This gift means that students who come from lower-income families will be in a stronger position to succeed and thrive when they start on campus. We know that removing financial barriers allows students to focus on learning and taking full advantage of a Colby education,” he said.

Colby will be one of a "handful" of colleges and universities that provide financial assistance for incidental costs, according to the release.

Financial aid last year at Colby totaled $52 million, up from $28 million in 2014.

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