The 12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid

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By Naomi Craft

12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid: The question of financing college expenses is top of mind for every college student. Most aspiring students find in-state public universities harder to afford which makes the chief university unreachable in terms of affordability. Thankfully, there are other options that can take the burden off your shoulders.

There are universities that provide financial assistance to help students pursue their education. However, having too many options can leave you wondering which one is the best for you. Here, we have highlighted the 12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid. We will discuss the type of assistance and the list of Colleges that give the most scholarships.

12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid

Various factors cross your mind while choosing to attend college. Be it the decision to choose an affordable college or take out a loan to get a degree. Fortunately, there are many universities that provide grants and scholarships in terms of financial aid.

Studies show that many students find college as a ‘Difficult to afford’ option to pursue higher studies. Here, you can find suitable university options that offer to help decrease the financial burden. Take a quick scroll to check which is the best one for you among the 12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid.

12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid

Types of Available Financial Aid

Understanding the type of aid that can take away the cost of covering the finance is a key element of this discussion. For this, you have to understand the types of financing options available to you. Here, we have explained the types of aid that are offered by the 12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid for cutting off expenses. Check below the options that are the best fit for you according to your needs:


Unlike loans, grants are monetary assistance that does not need to be repaid by the students. Grants are provided by the federal government to help college-going students.

In addition, state governments, colleges, and many non-profit organizations provide this source of financial aid. Check your eligibility and apply for available grant options. It is mostly offered to students who are in need of financial assistance.


Similarly, scholarships are also cost-effective options since you do not have to pay them back. Scholarship focuses on various elements to support the student’s education. It is provided according to the academic background and other achievements. You will be exposed to either merit-based or need-based scholarships.

A Merit-Based Scholarship is an approach taken by universities to attract scholars. These scholarships are accessible to students who have a good grade history or other achievements. Students having athletic and artistic profiles are also eligible for such scholarships. Usually, the students who get merit-based scholarships are required to maintain their grades up to a certain level.

Whereas Need-Based Scholarships are offered to students with financial conditions. Students’ eligibility is tested for getting the benefits of these scholarships. Mainly, you have to come under a specific household income level in order to get the scholarship. Moreover, there are chances that there will be other requirements like grades and extracurricular activities.


As everyone must have heard about the term ‘loan’. It is the money borrowed from a financial institution with a promise of repayment in a specified term with interest. This option is suitable for those students who cannot apply for the previously mentioned financial aid. The basic two options are federal student loans and private student loans. Among these two, federal student loans are an affordable option since the US Department of Education lends it. However, it is often insufficient to cover the expenses completely. Therefore, many choose to go for private student loans.

Federal Work-Study

The federal work-study is an option to work and study at the same time. The government provides part-time jobs to students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses. Again, it is applicable to those who are in need of financial assistance. This option will be available only in those universities that participate in the Federal Work-Study Program. Check if this option is available before enrolling in the university.

Also Check- Fullbright Scholarship: A Flagship Foreign Exchange Scholarship

Top 12 Colleges That Give The Most Scholarships

Below we have given a generalized explanation of financial assistance offered under the below-stated Colleges that give the most scholarships. Everything has been discussed from the type of offered scholarship to the university’s average financial assistance. Read below the colleges that can provide you with assistance in covering the cost. Hence, making education affordable for you. Most of the below-listed colleges follow a need-blind admission policy.

Vassar College

Situated in Poughkeepsie, New York, promises to provide monetary aid to above 60% of students and aims to provide 100% assistance to students with weaker financial situations. Vassar College includes financial aid options such as grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships. In the previous year, the college granted monetary assistance to students with household incomes up to $270,000.

Location124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York 12604
Stricker Price$70,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$50,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$45,000+

Princeton University

Princeton University

Princeton University aims to encourage students towards education irrespective of their financial background. The financially disadvantaged students will face no complications while getting admission to this university. Once admitted, the university promised to offer 100% financial assistance to students’ demonstrated financial needs. It is basically the difference between the cost to attend college and your Expected Family Contribution.

LocationPrinceton, NJ 08544, United States
Stricker Price$70,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$50,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$48,000+

Yale University

Yale University

Yale University is an Ivy League Institute that is financially affordable to students coming from all sorts of backgrounds. The university offers need-based aid so that it is accessible to all the scholars in need regardless of their financial background. Studies show that the university granted scholarships worth $180 million during 2019-20.

LocationNew Haven, CT 06520, United States
Stricker Price$77,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$59,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$41,000+

Also Check- Oxford Scholarships for Australian Students

Pomona College

Pomona College

Pomona College uses a need-blind admission policy that makes a pact not to consider students’ financial situation while deciding on admission. This is a private liberal art college located in Claremont, California. It promises to meet the 100% demonstrated financial needs of the enrolled students. Around 67% of its students get some type of scholarship to help make education affordable. The university focuses on meeting need-based aid by considering all possible family circumstances. Students will be accessible to scholarships, grants and work-study aid.

Location333 N College Way, Claremont, CA 91711, United States
Stricker Price$71,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$55,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$44,000+

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

It is a Nashville-based university that aims make education accessible to students in need through its need-based and merit-based scholarships. Vanderbilt University’s financial package does not include loans rather it focuses on need-based loans. In addition, there is no involvement of income level or cutoff for eligibility. This university will further meet the 100% demonstrated financial needs.

LocationNashville, Tennessee 37240
Stricker Price$68,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$52,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$50,000+

Williams College

Williams College

Williams is among one of the most generous colleges situated in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Students enrolling on this university will get financial assistance through 100% demonstrated need, work-study aid, scholarships and grants. This is the only institution that gives out free study material to students getting financial aid. The university considers factors like income, size of the family, number of dependents etc during financial aid applications.

LocationWeston Hall 995 Main Street
Williamstown, MA 01267 USA
Stricker Price$74,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$51,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$51,000+

Grinnell College

Grinnell College education is affordable to students of all backgrounds. This pledge to offer 100% demonstrated needs without loans. Over 4,000 colleges in the US can promise such a statement. 89% of its students get monetary help in payment of their education expenses. Whereas, 65% of its students receive need-based assistance where the average grant/scholarship is worth $52,847. This year, the college has granted $66.6 million worth of scholarships and grants to its students.

Location1115 8th Ave, Grinnell, IA 50112, United States
Stricker Price$72,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$45,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$37,000+

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis follows a need-blind admission policy. In addition, the university motivated students to opt for financial assistance regardless of family income band. The monetary needs of the students are met through work-study, scholarships, and grants instead of loans.

LocationMSC 1041-105-05
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis
Stricker Price$76,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$50,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$55,000+

Haverford College

Haverford College

Haverford College is situated at Lancaster Ave, Haverford. It aims to meet fully demonstrated financial needs with its annual budget worth $30 million. This includes foreign students, transfer, and undocumented students. About 47% of its students receive some type of monetary aid and about 44% get college grants. The financial package also includes work-study aid and loans.

Location370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041, United States
Stricker Price$78,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$52,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$52,000+

Also Check- Post-Graduate Scholarship Programs for Australian Domestic Students

California Institute of Technology

The California Institute of Technology is based in Pasadena, California. This is widely known as Caltech. The university covers students’ expenses through cost-effective ways by offering grants and need-based aids. So, the students do not have to pay back the borrowed amount. At present, the university is focusing on providing need-based scholarships rather than merit-based.

Location1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125, United States
Stricker Price$71,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$49,000+
Average Awarded Scholarship/ Grant Package$50,000+

College of Atlantic

College of Atlantic

Students who receive some sort of monetary benefit under the College of Atlantic are more than 80% of the total. The Bar Harbor-based college provides assistance through merit-based, need-based and work-study financial aid. The college focuses on reducing out-of-pocket costs. In addition, the college offers each student $1,800 in support for experiential and travel-related learning.

Location105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, United States
Stricker Price$54,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$36,000+
Out-of-Pocket Expense$18,000+


Skidmore College

Skidmore college is located in Saratoga Springs, New York. Like any other college, this also offers to meet 100% of demonstrated financial needs of students. Around 55% of its students are getting financial assistance in some form. The college gives out around $51,000 as the average first-year aid package.

Location815 N Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, United States
Stricker Price$76,000+
Average Need-Based Assistance$47,000+
Out-of-Pocket Expense$28,000+

How To Apply For Financial Assistance?

After going through the 12 Most Generous Universities for Financial Aid, you have to apply for assistance. By now, you must have learned about the colleges that tick off the factors you want in financial assistance.

It is the college’s turn to get information about you through the application process. Every college has its own way of collecting applications. Yes, it can be tiresome but always worth it in the end. The procedure can lead you to get financial assistance through scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study aids.

Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Firstly, students are instructed to complete the FAFSA which is a free application that is used for deciding the federal student aid. It is short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This makes college an affordable option for U.S. students and families.

This itself is not a financial aid, but it is a step towards getting one. The forms are available on the portal for a specified time period. Most states and colleges set their own deadline by which you have to submit the form.

Information provided on the form helps the federal and state governments, along with the colleges to decide on financial aid for each student. Keep the deadlines in mind while filling out the forms, as the aid is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

By completing FAFSA, students are provided with an index number that is derived from the provided information. This number is called the Expected Family Contribution which is used to decide your suitability for the type of financial aid.

You can check your EFC by logging in to the FAFSA form and opening the SAR (Student Aid Report). A formula is used considering the family’s taxed and untaxed income. After reviewing your EFC, the concerned college/ university decides on your eligibility and a monetary award.

As you submit the form, the colleges have their own financial aid officer to handle the federal aid. You can check the status of your form right after submitting it online, and the processing starts usually within 7 to 9 days. However, the colleges have their own timeline for reviewing the forms. Stay in touch with the concerned college financial aid officer for updates.

Financial Aid Award Letters

Soon, the colleges will prepare a financial aid package and issue the Financial Aid Award Letter to the student. The letter basically reads out financial aid options available for your according to your eligibility. It defines the multiple sources of all the different types of financial assistance.

The package will be created keeping in mind to make the college more affordable to you. You will be asked to send back the letter after accepting/ rejecting the different financial sources. Sometimes the awarded aid may not be enough to fill in the gap but you can negotiate with the college or look for better options elsewhere.

Additionally, the institutions have their own aid as well. As we studied above, some offer needs-based while others offer merit-based scholarships. These sources can be helpful in filling up the remaining financial gap.


In the end, do your own research. Make notes from the above-shared information and try to come up with a decision. Below we have highlighted some of the important points to help in your decision-making process:

  • Do not call off a college because of its high sticker price. Instead, do some research and check the financial assistance offered by the college. Many times, the offered average financial aid package of the institute can make the sticker price affordable.
  • Apart from everything, timing is the key element. Keep up with the FAFSA and college deadlines. As previously mentioned, the complete procedure is highly effective on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Do not hesitate to negotiate the financial aid award. Consider all the factors that can get you a better deal as, ultimately, you are making an investment for your future.

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