The 10 Colleges With the Most Generous Financial Aid

Posted on March 23rd, 2015

As college costs have risen, financial aid at most colleges hasn’t kept up, leaving students to make up the difference with loans.

According to Peterson’s, the average college only provides enough scholarships or grants to meet 70% of what low- and moderate-income students need to pay their college bill.

That’s one of the reasons the national student debt now stands at $1.2 trillion.

Few colleges meet full financial need

However, there are a select few–just 64 colleges, in fact–that pledge to meet 100% of a student’s financial need, which is based on the FAFSA and/or CSS/Financial Aid Profile.

But students who don’t qualify for financial aid are out of luck at most of these colleges, as well as many across the country.

That’s why it’s crucial for students who qualify for minimal or no need-based aid to seek out colleges that offer merit aid in order to make college affordable. Merit aid does not need to be paid back and can be awarded for academics, athletics, or other accomplishments to reduce the student’s overall cost of college.

Colleges offer a mix of need-based and merit aid

To offer significant merit and need-based financial aid, colleges must have a large financial aid budget.

Students wishing to minimize their college costs would be smart to seek out colleges known for being generous with their financial aid awards.

To make it easier for students to find affordable colleges,¬†Time¬†Money put together a list of 10 “Best Value” colleges that both pledge to meet 100% of a student’s demonstrated need and offer merit scholarships to students who don’t qualify for need-based aid.

The top colleges included 10 prestigious private colleges, including University of Chicago, Rice University, and Duke University, as well as some smaller liberal arts colleges, like Harvey Mudd and Kenyon College.

The 10 Colleges With the Most Generous Financial Aid

More financial aid, less student debt

As you can see, these colleges leave families with minimal debt at graduation. The figures include both student debt and Parent PLUS loan debt, which is significantly higher at most other colleges.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville leaves students and parents with an average of just $6,649 in debt–much less than the $30,000 average debt the student is left with at the average college (and that’s not even including parents–the average Parent Plus loan borrower owes about $20,300).

While these universities represent an elite group with low admissions rates, there are many other colleges that are more accessible to the average student that won’t leave families drowning in debt.

We help make college affordable for families by matching them with colleges that offer significant financial aid and scholarships while providing a quality education. If you need help finding affordable schools or figuring out how to pay for college, give us a call toll-free at 1-888-234-3907 or contact us using this form.

Category: Financial Aid

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