These days college affordability is a huge concern, and as a result, more students and their families are wary of applying to pricey private schools.
In addition to providing financial aid to meet needs, colleges and universities try to woo students with generous scholarship and grant packages as well.
That is a mistake. Yes, annual tuition and fees plus room and board at four-year, private universities are much higher — $49,870, on average — compared to public institutions at $21,950 — in the current academic year, according to the College Board.
However, about two-thirds of all full-time students receive aid, which can bring the sticker price significantly down.
Top Colleges With The Best Financial Aid 2020
10. Rice University
This private research university in Houston was originally founded as a tuition-free institution and it remains committed to affordability. Students with family incomes below $65,000 now receive grant aid covering not only full tuition but also fees and room and board
- Annual tuition and fees: $63,252
- Average financial aid package: $443,174
9. Yale University
This Ivy puts its money where its mouth is: Committed to meeting 100% of each applicant’s demonstrated need, Yale spends more than $140 million on the financial aid each year.
The average scholarship award is around $50,000 and more than 10% of the student body will pay nothing at all next year
- Annual tuition and fees: $72,100
- Average financial aid package: $56,602
8. Bowdoin College
This small liberal arts college on the coast of Maine is a triple threat: highly competitive, picturesque and price-sensitive. In fact, the school stopped using loans in their financial aid packages over a decade ago, replacing them with grants instead.
- Annual tuition and fees: $68,620
- Average financial aid package: $47,522
7. Washington University in St. Louis
At first glance, Wash U. is one of the pricier schools on The Princeton Review list. However, it is similarly committed to helping defray the cost without relying on loan debt. For starters, it has eliminated need-based loans to students from low- and middle-income families
- Annual tuition and fees: $72,192
- Average financial aid package: $47,335
6. Grinnell College
Grinnell is a college with the resources of a school 10 times its size, according to the admissions office. As a result, the school is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need. The average need-based scholarship for incoming freshmen is close to $45,000 and about 86% of first-year students receive some form of aid.
- Annual tuition and fees: $67,646
- Average financial aid package: $43,783
5. Williams College
While the total price at this top school comes to over $72,000 a year, Williams guarantees that it will meet 100% of a student’s financial need for all four years, including course materials, books and even the costs to study abroad.
- Annual tuition and fees: $72,270
- Average financial aid package: $55,621
4. Pomona College
As a member of the Claremont Colleges, a group of highly regarded schools just outside of Los Angeles, Pomona’s need-blind admissions policy stands apart. The school meets 100% of students’ financial needs with packages that consist entirely of grants, scholarships and work-study.
- Annual tuition and fees: $71,980
- Average financial aid package: $53,123
3. Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt’s financial aid packages do not include loans. In addition to gift assistance, the school is known for its three signature scholarships, which all cover full tuition and offer summer stipends to study abroad, complete service projects or conduct research. And they are renewable for all four years.
- Annual tuition and fees: $68,980
- Average financial aid package: $49,076
2. Princeton University
This is another elite Ivy League school that makes the top of many college lists. It’s also highly regarded for its war on student debt. Princeton was one of the first schools to eliminate all loans for students who qualify for aid.
Instead, awards come in the form of grants that do not need to be repaid and, as of the latest tally, nearly two-thirds of students receive grant aid.
- Annual tuition and fees: $62,750
- Average financial aid package: $51,365
1. Vassar College
Vassar is one of the most expensive colleges in the country and also one of the most generous. With a need-blind admission policy, Vassar awards more than $69 million in scholarships and more than 60% of its students receive financial aid.
Further, the average scholarship is nearly $50,000, making this top liberal arts school with a stunning campus harder to get into than afford.
- Annual tuition and fees: $68,110
- Average financial aid package: $49,190
Source: | College Board