The Nation’s 62 Most Generous Colleges

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By Lynn O’Shaughnessy
A nationally recognized higher-ed expert and speaker, who is the author of The College Solution, a bestseller, and the creator of The College Solution blog. The 2nd edition of her book — The College Solution — will be released on Amazon on May 24, 2012.

Originally posted on on February 20, 2012.

The Nation’s 62 Most Generous CollegesWhat are the most generous colleges and universities in the country?

US News & World Report attempts to answer that question every year when it rolls out its lists of institutions that self report that they meet 100% of each student’s financial need.

Today I’m sharing the latest list that US News released last week. Not surprisingly, highly elite schools predominate. On the honor roll you’ll find members of the Ivy Leagues, for instance, as well as other prestigious universities like Rice, Stanford and Cal Tech along with prestigious liberal arts colleges such as Haverford, Middlebury, Smith and Carlton.

62 Most Generous Colleges and Universities

Winning the Educational Lottery

If you need money to go to college and you are accepted into one of these tough-to-crack institutions, you are an incredibly lucky person. In fact, you will have won the educational equivalent of the lottery. Most schools in this country, however, don’t possess the financial resources to meet anywhere approaching 100% of a person’s need.

If you’re confused about what meeting 100% of financial need actually means, here’s a quick explanation:

Any school will routinely base your need on what your Expected Family Contribution is. Your EFC is the dollar figure that at a minimum a college will expect you to kick in for one year of schooling. So if your EFC is $20,000 and the university costs $55,000, ideally you’ll get $35,000 in aid. At the schools on the list, you’d get that. At most of these schools, you’d receive all the aid in grants (free money),but some schools will include a small subsidized loan or work study.

At other colleges and universities, might get get 80% of your need filled or 68% or 93%. It’s going to be all over the board. You’ll have to judge just how generous all these other schools are by using the kind of tools that I’ve mentioned many times on this college blog. Here is one of those posts:

Measuring the Generosity of Colleges

Bottom Line:

By the time teenagers are seniors in high school, many of them chase after private scholarships after they realize that they will need help with college. As I’ve said many times before, this is the least lucrative source of college money. A dead-end for many. The most generous source of cash are the colleges themselves and to be in line for the biggest helping of grants and scholarships , you need to be the best student possible. The top way to help pay for college is to be an excellent student.

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