The Best Colleges for Financial Aid

Colleges That Are the Most Generous With Aid

Rising tuition costs have forced many families around the country to reassess which universities they can afford and rethink the value of college in general, but as this year’s Princeton Review analysis of colleges shows, many schools continue to help students shoulder the burden with generous financial aid packages, even as costs go up. More than one dozen schools offer enough aid to satisfy 100% of their students’ financial needs on average while many others meet the vast majority of their students’ needs, according to the Princeton Review, which surveyed administrators at 613 colleges about student aid doled out during the 2010-2011 school year. In many cases, Princeton found schools gave financial aid packages that averaged in excess of $30,000 or even $40,000 a year, significantly offsetting the tuition burden. “We’ve seen so much concern among kids and families about college costs, but the biggest mistake is to cross off a school from your list early in the college research process because you feel the sticker cost is too high,” Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review, told MainStreet. “The price may be high, but students need to look at the average financial aid package before they rule anything out.” Among the schools that the Princeton Review surveyed, 10 earned the highest score possible (99) for meeting 100% of the financial needs of their students and offering generous aid packages to a significant percentage of the undergraduate student population. The schools run the gamut from small private schools to large public schools, and many count among the most prestigious institutions in the country. We’ve listed the schools here alphabetically. Photo Credit: velcr0


Carleton College

Location: Northfield, Minn. Tuition (without room and board): $42,690 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 55% Average Financial Aid Package: $35,456 Photo Credit: roy.luck


Claremont McKenna College

Location: Claremont, Calif. Tuition: $41,995 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 51% Average Financial Aid Package: $35,329 Photo Credit: cmc.edu


Columbia University

Location: New York Tuition: $43,088 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 60% Average Financial Aid Package: $40,937 Photo Credit: mattjiggins


Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Location: Needham, Mass. Tuition: $39,000 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 100% Average Financial Aid Package: $32,439 Photo Credit: Tostie14


Pomona College

Location: Claremont, Calif. Tuition: $39,572 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 53% Average Financial Aid Package: $35,838 Photo Credit: The Consortium


Princeton University

Location: Princeton, N.J. Tuition: $37,000 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 58% Average Financial Aid Package: $35,411 Photo Credit: antonioG4


Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, Pa. Tuition: $40,816 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 52% Average Financial Aid Package: $36,571 Photo Credit: EAWB


Thomas Aquinas College

Location: Santa Paula, Calif. Tuition: $22,850 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 81% Average Financial Aid Package: $19,324 Overall Student Satisfaction with Aid: Ranked #10 Photo Credit: Thomasaquinas.edu


Vassar College

Location: Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Tuition: $44,050 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 63% Average Financial Aid Package: $40,631 Photo Credit: baslow


Yale University

Location: New Haven, Conn. Tuition: $40,500 Percent of Undergrads Receiving Aid: 52% Average Financial Aid Package: $39,270 Photo Credit: marc_smith


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