The ability to attract rich students is crucial for colleges and universities

The ability to attract rich students is crucial for colleges and universities.

The Nation’s Most Generous Colleges

The tab that high-income students  pay allows these schools to defray  the cost of students who require a great deal of financial assistance. 

While there are nearly 2,800 four-year colleges and universities in the United States, there are just over five dozen that claim that they meet 100 percent of their students’ demonstrated financial need.

Below you’ll see the names of 63 institutions that say they meet this high financial-aid standard for freshmen. What all these schools have in common are high rankings from U.S. News & World Report. Because of their excellent rankings, schools on the list can attract plenty of wealthy students whose parents are willing to pay full price for top brand-name schools.

The ability to attract rich students is crucial for these colleges and universities. The tab that high-income students pay allows these schools to defray the cost of students who require a great deal of financial assistance. Some of the institutions on this list also enjoy large endowments, which makes generous financial aid packages doable.

The lists here were compiled from a document called the Common Data Set, published by the College Board. The percentage of need met, based on the most recently available data, is for freshmen.

Schools That Meet 100 Percent of Financial Need:

1. Amherst College (Mass.)

2. Barnard College (N.Y.)

3. Bates College (Maine)

4. Boston College (Mass.)

5. Brown University (R.I.)

6. Bryn Mawr College (Pa.)

7. Bowdoin College (Maine)

8. Bucknell University (Pa.)

9. California Institute of Technology

10. Carleton College (Minn.)

11. Claremont McKenna College (Calif.)

12. Colby College (Maine)

13. Colgate University (N.Y.)

14. College of the Holy Cross (Mass.)

15. Columbia University (N.Y.)

16. Connecticut College

17. Cornell University (N.Y.)

18. Davidson College (N.C.)

19. Duke University (N.C.)

20. Dartmouth College (N.H.)

21. Franklin and Marshall College (Pa.)

22. Franklin W. Olin College (Mass.)

23. Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

24. Grinnell College (Iowa)

25. Hamilton College (N.Y.)

26. Harvey Mudd College (Calif.)

27. Haverford College (Pa.)

28. Harvard University (Mass.)

29. Johns Hopkins University (Md.)

30. Macalester College (Minn.)

31-63

31. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

32. Middlebury College (Vt.)

33. Mount Holyoke College (Mass.)

34. Northwestern University (Ill.)

35. Oberlin College (Ohio)

36. Occidental College (Calif.)

37. Pitzer College (Calif.)

38. Pomona College (Calif.)

39. Princeton University (N.J.)

40. Reed College (Ore.)

41. Rice University (Texas)

42. Saint Olaf College (Minn.)

43. Scripps College (Calif.)

44. Skidmore College (N.Y.)

45. Smith College (Mass.)

46. Stanford University (Calif.)

47. Swarthmore College (Pa.)

48. Thomas Aquinas College (Calif.)

49. Trinity College (Conn.)

50. Tufts University (Mass.)

51. University of Chicago (Ill.)

52. University of Pennsylvania

53. University of Richmond (Va.)

54. University of Rochester (N.Y.)

55. University of Southern California

56. Vanderbilt University (Tenn.)

57. Vassar College (N.Y.)

58. Washington and Lee University (Va.)

59. Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.)

60. Wellesley College (Mass.)

61. Wesleyan University (Conn.)

62. Williams College (Mass.)

63. Yale University (Conn.)

While these schools say they meet all of the need, this doesn’t mean that the financial aid packages will be equally generous.

Most, if not all, of these institutions use the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, which is an aid application that allows schools to tweak their aid formulas in ways that can make awards stingier than you might think. For instance, while Amherst College and Boston College are nearly the same price, the average need-based package for Amherst is $47,553, compared with just $32,146 for Boston College.

More College Options

The colleges below claim to meet at least 94 percent of students’ financial need.

Schools That Meet 94 Percent of Need or Higher:

Albright College (Pa.)

Babson College (Mass.)

Bentley College (Mass.)

Berea College (Ky.)

College of the Atlantic (Maine)

College of Wooster (Ohio)

Colorado College

Denison University (Ohio)

Dickinson College (Pa.)

Emory University (Ga.)

Gettysburg College (Pa.)

Kenyon College (Ohio)

Lafayette College (Pa.)

Lehigh University (Pa.)

Saint John’s College (N.M.)

Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.)

Syracuse University (N.Y.)

Tulane University (La.)

Union College (N.Y.)

University of Notre Dame (Ind.)

University of Virginia

Wake Forest University (N.C.)

Wheaton College (Mass.)

What this list illustrates is that the schools with the most desirable financial-aid policies are elite or highly selective.

Affluent families, by the way, shouldn’t assume that they won’t qualify for need-based aid. The more expensive a college is, the more likely the student will qualify for some amount of financial help.

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