Financial fit is an incredibly important concern for all students in the college process. Most schools give some scholarships and financial aid, but not always enough to make the school affordable. There are a number of schools, however, that commit to meeting 100% of all admitted students’ demonstrated financial need.
But what does that mean? This means that if College X looks at Sally’s financial information and determines that her family can afford to pay $20,000 that year for college, that the school will meet the difference with financial aid. A school that costs $50,000 a year but doesn’t meet 100% of demonstrated need may calculate that Sally’s family can afford to pay $20,000 but the school only offers $20,000 in grants, scholarships, and loans, which leaves Sally’s family with an unmet need of $10,000.
But, as I’ve stated before, loans do not count as financial aid. If a college meets your full demonstrated need but does so using a significant amount of loans, the school is not a financial fit for you. Colleges that meet 100% of demonstrated need without loans don’t bar students and their families from taking out loans, but only have them do so if they need help paying the family’s calculated contribution.
Bear in mind, though, that each college uses its own formula for calculating financial need. It is entirely possible that College X could calculate your family’s estimated financial contribution (EFC) to be $25,000 and another could calculate it to be $14,000. This is one reason why many students like to apply to a variety of schools and compare financial aid packages.
Below you’ll find a list of schools that meet 100% of demonstrated need for domestic students with grants and scholarships alone.
100% of Need without Loans for All Incomes
- Amherst College
- Bowdoin College
- Claremont McKenna College
- Colby College
- Columbia University
- Davidson College
- Harvard University
- Haverford College
- Pomona College
- Princeton University
- Stanford University
- Swarthmore College
- University of Pennsylvania
- Vanderbilt University
- Washington and Lee University
- Yale University
100% of Need without Loans for Some Incomes
- Brown University – <$100,000
- Connecticut College – <$50,000
- Cornell University – <$75,000
- Dartmouth College – <$100,000
- Duke University – <$40,000
- Lafayette College – <$50,000
- Lehigh University – <$50,000
- MIT – <$75,000
- Northwestern University – Pell Grant Recipients
- Rice University – <$80,000
- Vassar College – <$60,000
- University of Chicago – <$75,000
- University of Virginia – <200% of Federal Poverty Line
- Washington University in Saint Louis – <$60,000
- Wellesley College – <$60,000
- Wesleyan University – <$40,000