17 Colleges That Give the Most Financial Aid

Students discussing colleges that give the most financial aid

As college costs continue to rise, many families worry they might not be able to afford college.

For example, the average cost of attendance in 2018–2019 school year was $35,676 at private colleges and $9,716 for public colleges, according to a US News & World Report. After you include room and board, you are looking at another $15,000 to $20,000.

Consequently, student debt has increased. The average student debt for a college graduate in 2020 is $38,000, according to Debt.org. To ensure you graduate with manageable student debt, your college list should include some generous colleges.

Check out fourteen of the most generous colleges below. These colleges made the Financial Aid Honor Roll in Princeton’s Review’s 2020 Edition. Some of them meet 100% of demonstrated need – a few without any loans. Although the average net price is listed below, your net price will be based on your family’s financial circumstances.

>> RELATED ARTICLES: How to Use The Net Price Calculator

1. Bowdoin College (ME)

Bowdoin College
Source: Bowdoin College

Undergraduate Students: 1,812
Cost of Attendance: $73,800
Average Net Price: $22,810

Average Net Price by Income:

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$5,866
$30,001-$48,000$9,246
$48,001-$75,000$15,195
$75,001-$110,000$25,189
$110,001+$38,038

Find your personal Net Price for Bowdoin College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

2. California Institute of Technology (CA)

Caltech
Source: Caltech

Undergraduate Students: 961
Cost of Attendance: $74,763
Average Net Price: $24,245

3. Average Net Price By Income:

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$1,774
$30,001-$48,000$11,127
$48,001-$75,000$11,764
$75,001-$110,000$23,978
$110,001+$42,479

Find your personal Net Price — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first-year, undergraduate student at Caltech.

4. Gettsyburg College (PA)

Gettysburg College

Undergraduate Students: 2,411
Cost of Attendance: $71,350
Average Net Price: $25,597

Average Net Price by Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$12,851
$30,001-$48,000$20,368
$48,001-$75,000$18,661
$75,001-$110,000$25,764
$110,001+$37,322

Find your personal Net Price for Gettysburg College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

5. Grinnell College (IA)

Grinnell College
Source: Grinnell College

Undergraduate Students: 1,660
Cost of Attendance: $70,346
Average Net Price: $22,844

Average Net Price by Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$12,851
$30,001-$48,000$20,368
$48,001-$75,000$18,661
$75,001-$110,000$25,764
$110,001+$37,322

Find your personal Net Price for Grinnell College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

6. Pomona College (Claremont, CA)

Pomona College
Source: Pomona College

Undergraduate Students: 1,567
Cost of Attendance: $75,080
Average Net Price: $15,840

Average Net Price by Income:

Find your personal Net Price for Pomona College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$5,832
$30,001-$48,000$8,153
$48,001-$75,000$7,183
$75,001-$110,000$22,832
$110,001+$39,670

7. Princeton University (NJ)

Source: Princeton University

Undergraduate Students: 5,246
Cost of Attendance: $69,020
Average Net Price: $9,327

Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$1,248
$30,001-$48,000$1,071
$48,001-$75,000$5,524
$75,001-$110,000$15,958
$110,001+$31,423

Find your personal Net Price for Princeton University — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

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8. Reed College (OR)

Reed College
Source: Reed College

Undergraduate Students: 1,415
Cost of Attendance: $76,960
Average Net Price: $31,815

Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$14,885
$30,001-$48,000$16,887
$48,001-$75,000$21,790
$75,001-$110,000$30,216
$110,001+$46,394
Source: Based on 2017-18 data from National Center for Education Statistics.

Find your personal Net Price for Reed College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

9. Rice University (TX)

Rice University's website
Source: Rice University

Undergraduate Students: 3,970
Cost of Attendance: $67,402
Average Net Price: $20,237

10. Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$6,167
$30,001-$48,000$10,247
$48,001-$75,000$10,716
$75,001-$110,000$23,503
$110,001+$43,200

Find your personal Net Price for Rice University — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

11. Thomas Aquinas College (CA & MA)

Thomas Aquinas College
Source: Thomas Aquinas College

Undergraduate Students: 1,114
Cost of Attendance: $38,116
Average Net Price: $24,857

12. Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$14,452
$30,001-$48,000$15,086
$48,001-$75,000$17,731
$75,001-$110,000$22,036
$110,001+$29,600

Find your personal Net Price for Thomas Aquinas College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student usually factoring only needs based aid.

13. Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

Vanderbilt University
Source: Vanderbilt University

Undergraduate Students: 73,148
Cost of Attendance: 6,856
Average Net Price: $19,959

Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$1,168
$30,001-$48,000$6,043
$48,001-$75,000$11,146
$75,001-$110,000$14,814
$110,001+$34,694

Find your personal Net Price for Vanderbilt University — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

14. Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY) 

Vassar College
Source: Vassar College

Undergraduate Students: 2,323
Cost of Attendance: $75,780
Average Net Price: $23,687

Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$4,360
$30,001-$48,000$7,982
$48,001-$75,000$15,602
$75,001-$110,000$19,315
$110,001+$40,559

Find your personal Net Price for Vassar College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

15. Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

Washington University in St. Louis
Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Undergraduate Students: 7,253
Cost of Attendance: $76,910
Average Net Price: $28,540

Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$5,716
$30,001-$48,000$6,580
$48,001-$75,000$9,528
$75,001-$110,000$21,665
$110,001+$45,022

Find your personal Net Price for Washington University in St. Louis — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

16. Williams College (MA)

Williams College

Undergraduate Students: 2,033
Cost of Attendance: $75,520
Average Net Price: $22,667

Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$2,780
$30,001-$48,000$3,798
$48,001-$75,000$8,188
$75,001-$110,000$15,615
$110,001+$44,676

Find your personal Net Price for Williams College — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

17. Yale University (CT)

Yale University
Source: Yale University

Undergraduate Students: 5,742
Cost of Attendance: $76,490
Average Net Price: $18,627

Average Net Price By Income

Family IncomeAverage Net Price
$0-$30,000$4,978
$30,001-$48,000$4,392
$48,001-$75,000$6,986
$75,001-$110,000$13,223
$110,001+$35,873

Find your personal Net Price for Yale University — an estimate of what you can expect to pay as a first year, undergraduate student.

Wrap Up

In summary, the colleges listed this post are among some of the most generous. These are the colleges that give the most financial aid (not factoring in loans). If you have the academic chops to get into these colleges, then go for it. If you are lucky enough to get in, you could conceivably graduate with very low student debt or, perhaps, none at all.

_______________________
Source for Net Price Data:
– TheCollegeScorecard.ed.gov (data retrieved 8/2019)
– National Center For Educational Statistics (2017-18 data for Reed College,

Rice University and Thomas Aquinas College)