10 of the Colleges With the Most Financial Aid

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5. Bowdoin College

Tuition (both in-state and out-of-state): $ 43,000
Average Financial Aid Package: $8,867
Average Percent of Need Met: 100%

Financial aid director Steve Joyce said that this east coast university tries to avoid loans when possible and provide true awards instead (that don’t need to be paid back). “We replaced our standard loan offer with additional grants back in 2008 so our financial aid award includes only a work study job and the rest is grant,” Joyce explained. Even students who aren’t receiving aid can benefit from Bowdoin’s financial aid program. According to the school’s website, “If parents need help paying remaining billed charges, first year students may elect to borrow up to $5500 in low interest, federal Stafford loan money.”

6. California Institute of Technology

Tuition (both in state and out of state): $38,000
Average Financial Aid Package: $8,373
Average Percent of Need Met: 100%  

Caltech offers awards to both domestic as well as international students, which is hard to come by at many colleges. According to the financial aid office, the school’s aid is based on “demonstrated need by the student and family.” While many schools are facing budget cuts that lower their available aid, Caltech is working hard to satisfy its students’ financial needs. Sophomore Sarah Lin explained that the merit-based program has helped fund a lot of her expenses. “Caltech’s aid has truly helped me afford an education,” she said. “Fortunately, I don’t have to stress about the cost of textbooks and credit fees (costs specific to credit cards), so I can dedicate most of my time to my studies.”                                                                                                          

7. Willamette University

Tuition (both in-state and out-of-state): $39,012
Average Financial Aid Package: $7,970
Average Percent of Need Met: 92%

This small Oregon liberal arts school is able to offer substantial amounts of aid to its students. In addition to need-based financial aid, the university gives out academic merit awards ranging from $5,000-$15,000. It also grants music, forensics, and theater scholarships based on talent. Students can apply for the Mark O. Hatfield Scholarship, which covers full tuition. The award is based on excellent academic record and demonstrated commitment to service and leadership.

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