Personal finance

The best private and public colleges for financial aid: Some ‘have really stepped up,’ expert says

Products You May Like

Ongoing problems with the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid have delayed financial aid award letters — and have even prevented many high school seniors and their families from applying for aid at all.

As of June 14, only 45% of the high school class of 2024 has completed the FAFSA, according to the National College Attainment Network. That represents a 12% decline compared with rates for the class of 2023 a year ago.

“That’s over 300,00 students that simply didn’t apply for financial aid, and many of those students have the highest need,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “That is a crushing blow.”

Without financial aid, the price tag at some four-year colleges and universities — after factoring in tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation and other expenses — is now nearing $100,000 a year.

But even though college is getting more expensive, students and their parents rarely pay the full amount.

Beyond federal aid, many may also be eligible for financial assistance from their state or college.

To that end, The Princeton Review ranked colleges by how much financial aid is awarded and how satisfied students are with their packages. The 2024 report is based on data from its surveys of administrators and students at over 650 colleges in the 2023-24 school year.

“Because of the difficulty with the FAFSA, some colleges have really stepped up and addressed financial aid and cost of college directly and aggressively,” Franek said.

More from Personal Finance:
FAFSA issues may cause drop in college enrollment, experts say
Harvard is back on top as the ultimate ‘dream’ school
More of the nation’s top colleges roll out no-loan policies

That, in turn, will bring more families in the door, according to Nancy Goodman, founder of College Money Matters, a nonprofit focused on helping high school students and their families make informed decisions about paying for college.

“Some colleges are known for more financial aid and I think they will be more attractive, for sure, to students,” she said.

Top 5 private colleges for financial aid

Among the top five schools on The Princeton Review’s list, the average scholarship grant awarded in 2023-24 to students with need was more than $68,000. Of all the financial aid opportunities the FAFSA opens up, grants are the most desirable kind of assistance because they typically do not need to be repaid.

Yale University
Yana Paskova / Stringer (Getty Images)

1. Yale University
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Sticker price: $87,150
Average need-based scholarship: $71,577
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $15,573

2. Vassar College
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
Sticker price: $85,220
Average need-based scholarship: $61,252
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $23,968

3. Williams College
Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts
Sticker price: $85,820
Average need-based scholarship: $70,764
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $15,056

4. Pomona College
Location: Claremont, California
Sticker price: $86,814
Average need-based scholarship: $65,925
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $20,889

5. California Institute of Technology
Location: Pasadena, California
Sticker price: $82,758
Average need-based scholarship: $74,013
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $8,745

Top 5 public colleges for financial aid

Among the five schools on this list, the average scholarship grant awarded in 2023-24 to students with need was more than $20,000.  

University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

1. University of Virginia
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Sticker price (in-state): $35,284
Average need-based scholarship: $27,233
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $8,051

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Sticker price (in-state): $22,814
Average need-based scholarship: $17,853
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $4,961

3. New College of Florida
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Sticker price (in-state): $20,271
Average need-based scholarship: $17,607
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $2,664

4. University of Michigan — Ann Arbor
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sticker price (in-state): $31,688
Average need-based scholarship: $26,613
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $5,075

5. Truman State University
Location: Kirksville, Missouri
Sticker price (in-state): $22,354
Average need-based scholarship: $11,610
Average total out-of-pocket cost: $10,744

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Mortgage demand drops, as homebuyers wait for lower rates
NBA says Amazon will be its new media partner, rebuffing Warner Bros. Discovery attempt to match deal
Education Department to pause student loan payments for millions amid legal battle
General Motors is set to report earnings before the bell
How Project 2025 could impact your tax bracket and capital gains under a second Trump term

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *