February 10, 2010 | Diane Johnson | 1 Comment Last year private colleges throughout the nation had to lay off staff, cut down on sports teams, halt construction projects, and even turn down thermostats all in the name of saving money. And in the meantime, schools are seeing even greater numbers of students and the financial aid keeps coming. However, now the weak economy is forcing some schools to limit the financial aid available after many doubled or tripled financial aid in order to attract greater numbers of students and also to reduce student debt. But now Dartmouth and Williams College will no longer be offering aid packages that formerly allowed students to attend without taking out loans. And other private schools are expected to follow suit which means students will have to take on more debt in order to earn a degree. Tuition is expected to increase by 4 to 6 percent this year and there are fewer resources available to students. And financial aid and even scholarships will start to suffer at private institutions. Last year schools were concerned enrollments would drop so they dug into their future savings in order to increase student aid. But now colleges are really shorthanded in funding this year. In recent years between 30 and 40 schools which were mostly private have replaced scholarships and grants with loans. At Dartmouth for example, students whose families earn above $75,000 are eligible to receive between $2,500 and $5,500 in loans. But students from families who earn less than that amount will still be able to receive free tuition and loan-free aid packages. Schools are now trying to set their budgets for next year and many are expected to increase tuition costs along with loan options and cut down on the money that they’re giving out. But many also recognize that those actions won’t be enough and they have to make staff cuts and eliminate certain sports programs. Funding coming in and going out of schools is making it difficult for students to earn a degree and for schools to stay open.