Which Colleges Offer the Best Financial Aid Packages?
You may think that you can't go to the school of your choice because of cost, but that might not be the case. This article outlines some of the financial aid packages that prestigious colleges have to offer for students in need.
As tuition and living costs rise at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., some schools are taking measures to make higher ed more affordable - particularly for students demonstrating need. Many of the nation's most prestigious schools are providing generous financial aid packages.
Meeting Full Financial Need
When most people think of paying for a college education at elite institutions like Princeton, Harvard or Yale, they immediately envision costs exceeding $50,000 a year. Indeed, many students - or their families - do have to pay most or all of the high sticker price found in the Ivy League and at other prestigious schools. Individuals from families of relative wealth often have a considerable Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as determined by the FAFSA and College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile developed by the College Board.
But for students from less affluent families the price of attending an elite school can be very little - even zero. That's because more than 60 of the nation's best (and most expensive)colleges and universities meet full financial need of accepted students. Large endowments allow these institutions to cover students' cost of attending in the form of huge financial aid packages.
No-Loan Financial Aid
While colleges and universities have historically helped students cover tuition and living expenses, this has not usually been solely in the form of grants. Rather, a combination of grants, loans and work-study has typically been offered. Increasingly, however, schools are replacing loans with grants, further sweetening financial aid packages for students demonstrating need - particularly those from families in the lowest tax brackets. And students for whom loans are still a part of financial aid packages are seeing those capped at a reasonable percentage of family income.
So what institutions are providing the most generous financial aid packages? The list includes many of the nation's highest acclaimed schools. For instance, Princeton University eliminated loans in 2001 and the average aid package covers 100% of tuition. Harvard and Yale have also stopped issuing loans and capped the family obligation at no more than ten percent of annual income for households earning below $180,000. Other schools with some of the most generous, no-loan financial aid packages include Amherst College, Vanderbilt University, Swarthmore College, Haverford College, the University of Pennsylvania, Pomona College and Columbia University.
High-performing students demonstrating need have the opportunity of a lifetime if they are accepted into elite schools like Princeton, Harvard or Yale. They need not worry about paying exorbitant tuition bills or living costs and can instead focus on getting a world-class education. Unfortunately these individuals are in the minority of students, since many others at schools throughout the country are dealing with rising tuition and living costs - and drying up financial aid.