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Top 15 Schools with Best Financial Aid

Financial aid will play a role in helping you decide which university to attend since college can be a huge financial burden for many people. Many students don’t realize that financial aid can come in several forms and some schools have better financial aid programs than others. Before enrolling in a university, you should know how much debt you’re going to have coming out of college and be comfortable with it.

Unfortunately, financial aid packets can be confusing to those that don’t have experience in it, but if you can understand the information in the financial aid packages offered to you, you’re more likely to be able to figure out how to pay for college on your own and leave college with less debt. We want you to be prepared for when you start receiving financial aid packages, so here is information on the types of financial aid and a list of schools with the best financial aid options.

 

Understanding Financial Aid

Unfortunately, not all financial aid is created equal which means many students end up not using it all or not realizing that some financial aid will need to be repaid once they have graduated. Students and their families need clarity to know what they’re getting into financially when they decide to go to a university, but every school’s financial aid package will look different. Here are the three forms of financial aid to keep in mind as you’re reading over your financial aid offers and information about whether or not they need to be paid back after graduation:

  • Grants – Grants do not have to be repaid and can be awarded based on need, merit, or for minorities or those with disabilities. They come from the federal or state government or your school and tend to be highly competitive since they do not need to be repaid.
  • Scholarships – Scholarships also do not have to be repaid. They are usually awarded to very competitive applicants to entice them to attend that university based on a number of factors like academic performance or athletic abilities. These are typically provided by the university or private sources like corporations.
  • Loans – Loans are borrowed money that do have to be repaid after you graduate. Loans will accrue interest while you are in college, so you ultimately end up paying back more than you borrowed. They provide you with immediate access to funds to pay for college, but be careful because many students don’t realize how expensive or difficult it will be to pay back their student loans once they graduate, especially on high interest loans. Subsidized and low interest (5% or lower) loans are the best options for paying for your education if you’re using loans. Loans are offered by both the federal government and private institutions like banks.

 

Top Universities with the Best Financial Aid

Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for in a “good” financial aid package, here are the top 15 schools with best financial aid according to research from Student Loan Hero. These schools offer generous financial aid packages and say that they meet their students’ financial needs without loans. Many of the schools on the list are private schools which carry a higher sticker price, but make up for it in generous financial aid packages since private schools tend to have more of the financial flexibility to give out generous aid than public schools do.

 

Columbia University

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $55,521

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 2,973

Students whose full financial need was met: 99%

Annual tuition and fees: $55,056

 

Yale University

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $52,894

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 2,732

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $49,480

 

Williams College

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $51,890

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 1,014

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $51,790

 

Amherst College

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $51,775

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 1,066

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $52,476

 

Harvard University

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $51,308

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 3,687

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $47,074

 

Vassar College

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $50,820

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 1,548

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $53,090

 

Webb Institute

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $50,710

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 33

Students whose full financial need was met: 89%

Annual tuition and fees: $48,775

 

Duke University

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $50,312

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 2,651

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $51,265

 

University of Chicago

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $49,967

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 2,483

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $52,491

 

Colgate University

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $49,912

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 1,047

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $51,955

 

Princeton University

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $49,502

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 3,126

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $45,320

 

Haverford College

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $49,502

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 3,126

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $45,320

 

Dartmouth College

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $49,141

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 2,097

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $51,438

 

Stanford University

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $49,124

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 3,255

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $47,940

 

Barnard College

Average financial aid package for students with financial need: $49,012

Undergraduate students receiving gift aid: 998

Students whose full financial need was met: 100%

Annual tuition and fees: $50,394