31 Colleges with the Best Financial Aid: According to Education consultants in Mumbai

April 27, 02:45 PM

In this section, Education consultants in Mumbai give you a list of schools that claim to meet all their students' financial needs without having them take out any loans. What that means is that your family will only be asked to pay what they can afford, and the school will cover the rest of the costs with their institutional financial aid funding.

Many of these schools are need-blind, which means your financial status will have no bearing on your admission result.

You don't necessarily need to be low-income to have all your financial needs met. For example, Harvard doesn't ask for any contribution if family income is less than $65,000, and families will only need to contribute up to 10% of their income if they make between $65,000 and $150,000. Aid amounts operate on a sliding scale for families that make more than $150,000.

Students with the most financial need tend to get the most aid because many of these schools' financial aid initiatives are based on removing barriers to college access based on finances.

If you're interested in any of the schools below, just click the link to get information on admissions requirements:

School Location Financial Aid Notes
Amherst College Amherst, MA Need-blind. From the website: "Nearly 60% of our students receive financial aid."
Bowdoin College Brunswick, ME Need-blind. From the website: "Nearly half of our enrolled students receive grant assistance."
Brown University Providence, RI The average need-based award for students in the Class of 2022 was $50,108.
Colby College Waterville, ME From the website: "Students who do not complete an aid application for Colby institutional aid before admission will not be considered for College grant assistance for two award years unless there have been substantial changes to family financial circumstances."
Columbia University New York, NY Need-blind. From the website: "For students coming from families with calculated total incomes of less than $60,000 annually (and typical assets), parents are not expected to contribute to the cost of attendance."
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH No loans if family income is less than $100,000.
Davidson College Davidson, NC Need-blind. Around 51% of students receive need-based aid.
Duke University Durham, NC Need-blind. No loans if family income is less than $40,000 (sliding scale after that).
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 1 in 5 students pays nothing to attend Harvard.
Haverford College Haverford, PA No loans if family income is less than $60,000.
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Need-blind. From the website: "ability to pay is not considered as part of the admissions financial aid packages meet 100% of demonstrated financial need."
Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA No loans if family income is less than $75,000 (sliding scale after that). Loans are capped at $5,000 per academic year.
MIT Cambridge, MA Need-blind. No loans if family income is less than $90,000.
Northwestern University Evanston, IL All financial aid packages are loan-free.
Pomona College Claremont, CA Need-blind. At Pomona, 57% of students receive need-based scholarship aid from the College.
Princeton University Princeton, NJ Need-blind. From the website: "The average grant covers 100% of tuition."
Rice University Houston, TX No loans if family income is below $65,000. Full-tuition grant if income is between $65,001 and $130,000. Above that, half-tuition grant.
Stanford University Stanford, CA Need-blind. From the website: "About 58% [of students] receive aid from Stanford, including athletic scholarships."
Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA Need-blind. At Swarthmore, 56% of students received financial aid in 2018-19.
University of Chicago Chicago, IL Need-blind. From the website: "Free tuition for families with incomes under $125,000 per year (with typical assets), while families earning less than $60,000 (with typical assets) will have tuition, fees, and room and board covered by financial aid."
UNC-Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC Low-income North Carolina students may qualify for aid without loans through the Carolina Covenant.
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN Need-blind. In 2020, the median need-based scholarship given to first-year students was $47,800.
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA The average aid package for students in 2018-19 was $54,301.
University of Richmond Richmond, VA Need-blind. In addition to need-based aid, "all first-year applicants are considered for merit-based aid, including full-tuition scholarships and a variety of interest-based programs."
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN Need-blind. Financial aid awards do not include loans.
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY Need-blind. No or limited loans for low-income families.
Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA Merit scholarships are available.
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO No loans if family income is less than $75,000.
Wellesley College Wellesley, MA From the website: "Wellesley's financial aid policy eliminates loans for Wellesley students who have the greatest financial need and for whom debt after graduation can be an issue. It lowers loan packages by one-third for many other students."
Williams College Williamstown, MA No loans if family income is less than $75,000. Loans are capped at $4,000 per academic year.
Yale University New Haven, CT From the website: "Families whose total gross income is less than $65,000 (with typical assets) are not expected to make a financial contribution towards their child's Yale education."

Why Do These Schools Offer the Best Financial Aid?

You might have noticed that the schools in the table above are all pretty competitive private institutions. These private schools tend to be pretty elite, with strong alumni networks.

Successful alumni tend to donate more to their alma maters, leading to more financial aid funding and better financial aid programs.

They might have higher sticker prices than many public schools, but they tend to be less expensive for many students due to their financial aid programs.

Many of the above schools only offer need-based aid. They don't offer merit-based scholarships because, as I mentioned earlier, their financial aid initiatives focus mainly on removing barriers to education access. They don't have to offer merit-based scholarships to entice applicants because their applicant pool is already so strong.

What If You're Not Eligible for Need-Based Aid? 2 Alternatives

Some students might want to seek out financial aid even if they aren't eligible for many need-based programs. If you're one of these students, there's one important thing you need to know: if financial aid isn't need-based, then it's merit-based.

There are a couple of ways you can earn money for college regardless of financial need.

#1: Apply for Merit-Based Scholarships

Many scholarship programs don't consider applicants' financial needs at all when giving out awards.

Start your scholarship search with our guide to awards for high school seniors. Read over eligibility requirements carefully to make sure financial need isn't taken into account.

#2: Apply to Schools Where Merit-Based Aid Is Common

Few public universities or top private schools offer large amounts of merit-based aid—public universities can't afford to, and top private schools don't have to.

That being said, there are schools where merit aid is much more common. These schools use merit-based aid to stay competitive by attracting strong applicants.

The following schools tend to award merit aid to a high percentage (45% or higher) of students:

  • ● Hellenic College
  • ● Fort Valley State University
  • ● Oklahoma Baptist University
  • ● Vanguard University of Southern California
  • ● Webb Institute
  • ● Keiser University
  • ● Indiana Wesleyan University
  • ● Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • ● New England Conservatory of Music
  • ● Fairfield University
  • ● Trinity University
  • ● Oberlin College
  • ● Samford University
  • ● Denison University
  • ● The New School
  • ● Cooper Union
  • ● Furman University
  • ● Hillsdale College
  • ● Gonzaga University
  • ● San Francisco Art Institute
  • ● University of Puget Sound

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