Colleges & Universities that Offer the Largest Tuition Discounts to Low-Income Families

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If you are interested in attending a public or private college or university, then you may be wondering which private institutions typically provide the largest tuition discounts to low-income families.  A school’s tuition discount reflects the difference between the school’s stated annual cost of attendance, which includes more than just tuition, and the average net price paid by students.  A school’s net price is the average annual cost of attending school that is not covered by financial aid.  Families with higher annual incomes typically pay higher net prices.


Most schools do not expect that middle- and low-income students will pay the full cost of attendance.  In addition to potentially being eligible for merit scholarships, students with family incomes below $75,000 are the most frequent recipients of need-based financial aid.  The table below demonstrates that tuition discounts are extremely common.


Although a tuition discount is not guaranteed to any student, a family’s income bracket can indicate the approximate discount that a student may expect to receive.  The tuition discounts offered by different schools can vary widely, and depend on the practices of the school itself, the qualifications of the applicant, and the financial profile of the applicant’s family.


The tables below, which are organized by income bracket, present the public and private colleges and universities nationwide that offer the largest tuition discounts to low-income families, then show these universities by location.  The cost of attendance and net price figures correspond to in-state tuition rates. The cost of attendance data was sourced from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), a federal government-sponsored national database of higher education institutions, for the 2017-18 school year.  The net price data was sourced from the IPEDS for the 2016-17 school year.

 

Top Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount by Public and Private Status:

 

Top Public Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount


Institution Name

Location

Cost of Attendance

Average Net Price

Tuition Discount

         

Income Bracket: $0-30,000

California State University at Los Angeles

California

$19,995

$1,681

92%

University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

Texas

$15,573

$2,382

85%

University of North Texas at Dallas

Texas

$16,246

$3,000

82%

Virginia Military Institute

Virginia

$27,450

$5,409

80%

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Massachusetts

$20,704

$4,811

77%

University of California at Los Angeles

California

$28,702

$8,233

71%

University of Minnesota at Crookston

Minnesota

$20,374

$6,112

70%

Lake Superior State University

Michigan

$21,021

$6,466

69%

University of California at Santa Barbara

California

$29,620

$10,134

66%

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Virginia

$28,073

$9,526

66%

         

Income Bracket: $30,000-48,000

California State University at Los Angeles

California

$19,995

$3,637

82%

University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

Texas

$15,573

$3,144

80%

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Massachusetts

$20,704

$4,817

77%

University of North Texas at Dallas

Texas

$16,246

$4,271

74%

Virginia Military Institute

Virginia

$27,450

$7,816

72%

University of California at Los Angeles

California

$28,702

$9,559

67%

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Virginia

$28,073

$9,809

65%

Dalton State College

Georgia

$12,340

$4,516

63%

West Virginia University Institute of Technology

West Virginia

$18,264

$6,742

63%

University of Minnesota at Duluth

Minnesota

$20,952

$8,203

61%

         

Income Bracket: $48,000-75,000

California State University at Los Angeles

California

$19,995

$6,458

68%

Virginia Military Institute

Virginia

$27,450

$9,422

66%

University of North Texas at Dallas

Texas

$16,246

$5,974

63%

University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

Texas

$15,573

$6,488

58%

University of California at Los Angeles

California

$28,702

$12,593

56%

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Massachusetts

$20,704

$9,780

53%

University of Minnesota at Crookston

Minnesota

$20,374

$10,062

51%

University of California at Santa Barbara

California

$29,620

$14,788

50%

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Virginia

$28,073

$14,335

49%

West Virginia State University

West Virginia

$19,412

$9,880

49%

 

 

 

Top Private Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount

 

Institution Name

Location

Cost of Attendance

Average Net Price

Tuition Discount

         

Income Bracket: $0-30,000

Berea College

Kentucky

$32,294

$452

99%

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee

$63,248

$1,168

98%

Williams College

Massachusetts

$67,700

$2,780

96%

Amherst College

Massachusetts

$68,500

$5,311

92%

Brown University

Rhode Island

$67,439

$5,335

92%

Colgate University

New York

$67,500

$5,637

92%

Middlebury College

Vermont

$67,464

$5,141

92%

Barnard College

New York

$68,762

$6,225

91%

Bowdoin College

Maine

$65,980

$5,866

91%

Pomona College

California

$67,225

$5,832

91%

         

Income Bracket: $30,000-48,000

Williams College

Massachusetts

$67,700

$3,798

94%

Berea College

Kentucky

$32,294

$2,197

93%

Swarthmore College

Pennsylvania

$65,774

$4,422

93%

Brown University

Rhode Island

$67,439

$5,459

92%

Barnard College

New York

$68,762

$6,207

91%

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee

$63,248

$6,043

90%

Colby College

Maine

$66,780

$7,211

89%

Dartmouth College

New Hampshire

$68,527

$7,316

89%

Haverford College

Pennsylvania

$68,952

$7,889

89%

Rice University

Texas

$59,458

$6,989

88%

         

Income Bracket: $48,000-75,000

Berea College

Kentucky

$32,294

$2,596

92%

Dartmouth College

New Hampshire

$68,527

$6,199

91%

Colby College

Maine

$66,780

$7,524

89%

Pomona College

California

$67,225

$7,183

89%

Barnard College

New York

$68,762

$8,078

88%

Williams College

Massachusetts

$67,700

$8,188

88%

Rice University

Texas

$59,458

$9,595

84%

Tennessee Wesleyan University

Tennessee

$31,550

$5,166

84%

Trinity College

Connecticut

$68,970

$11,196

84%

Middlebury College

Vermont

$67,464

$11,186

83%

 

 

 

Top Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount by Location:


Top Northeast Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount

 

Institution Name

Location

Cost of Attendance

Average Net Price

Tuition Discount

         

Income Bracket: $0-30,000

Williams College

Massachusetts

$67,700

$2,780

96%

Amherst College

Massachusetts

$68,500

$5,311

92%

Brown University

Rhode Island

$67,439

$5,335

92%

Colgate University

New York

$67,500

$5,637

92%

Middlebury College

Vermont

$67,464

$5,141

92%

Barnard College

New York

$68,762

$6,225

91%

Bowdoin College

Maine

$65,980

$5,866

91%

Swarthmore College

Pennsylvania

$65,774

$6,120

91%

Tufts University

Massachusetts

$68,372

$6,629

90%

Lafayette College

Pennsylvania

$66,640

$7,769

88%

         

Income Bracket: $30,000-48,000

Williams College

Massachusetts

$67,700

$3,798

94%

Swarthmore College

Pennsylvania

$65,774

$4,422

93%

Brown University

Rhode Island

$67,439

$5,459

92%

Barnard College

New York

$68,762

$6,207

91%

Colby College

Maine

$66,780

$7,211

89%

Dartmouth College

New Hampshire

$68,527

$7,316

89%

Haverford College

Pennsylvania

$68,952

$7,889

89%

Colgate University

New York

$67,500

$8,942

87%

Bowdoin College

Maine

$65,980

$9,246

86%

Middlebury College

Vermont

$67,464

$9,505

86%

         

Income Bracket: $48,000-75,000

Dartmouth College

New Hampshire

$68,527

$6,199

91%

Colby College

Maine

$66,780

$7,524

89%

Barnard College

New York

$68,762

$8,078

88%

Williams College

Massachusetts

$67,700

$8,188

88%

Trinity College

Connecticut

$68,970

$11,196

84%

Amherst College

Massachusetts

$68,500

$11,372

83%

Middlebury College

Vermont

$67,464

$11,186

83%

Brown University

Rhode Island

$67,439

$12,181

82%

Wellesley College

Massachusetts

$66,984

$12,150

82%

Hamilton College

New York

$66,170

$13,249

80%



 

Top Southern Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount

 

Institution Name

Location

Cost of Attendance

Average Net Price

Tuition Discount

         

Income Bracket: $0-30,000

Berea College

Kentucky

$32,294

$452

99%

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee

$63,248

$1,168

98%

Davidson College

North Carolina

$63,903

$6,643

90%

Rice University

Texas

$59,458

$7,206

88%

University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

Texas

$15,573

$2,382

85%

Tennessee Wesleyan University

Tennessee

$31,550

$4,957

84%

University of North Texas at Dallas

Texas

$16,246

$3,000

82%

Virginia Military Institute

Virginia

$27,450

$5,409

80%

Johns Hopkins University

Maryland

$67,580

$14,236

79%

McDaniel College

Maryland

$52,910

$12,310

77%

         

Income Bracket: $30,000-48,000

Berea College

Kentucky

$32,294

$2,197

93%

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee

$63,248

$6,043

90%

Rice University

Texas

$59,458

$6,989

88%

Davidson College

North Carolina

$63,903

$8,468

87%

Johns Hopkins University

Maryland

$67,580

$9,384

86%

Tennessee Wesleyan University

Tennessee

$31,550

$4,936

84%

St. John's College

Maryland

$64,029

$12,541

80%

University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

Texas

$15,573

$3,144

80%

University of Miami

Florida

$62,150

$15,596

75%

         

Income Bracket: $48,000-75,000

Berea College

Kentucky

$32,294

$2,596

92%

Rice University

Texas

$59,458

$9,595

84%

Tennessee Wesleyan University

Tennessee

$31,550

$5,166

84%

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee

$63,248

$11,146

82%

Johns Hopkins University

Maryland

$67,580

$13,448

80%

Davidson College

North Carolina

$63,903

$13,225

79%

St. John's College

Maryland

$64,029

$13,724

79%

McDaniel College

Maryland

$52,910

$16,192

69%

Notre Dame of Maryland University

Maryland

$47,570

$14,617

69%

University of Miami

Florida

$62,150

$19,779

68%

 

 


Top Western Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount

 

Institution Name

Location

Cost of Attendance

Average Net Price

Tuition Discount

         

Income Bracket: $0-30,000

California State University at Los Angeles

California

$19,995

$1,681

92%

Pomona College

California

$67,225

$5,832

91%

Claremont McKenna College

California

$69,045

$7,089

90%

Pitzer College

California

$68,500

$9,203

87%

Harvey Mudd College

California

$72,228

$13,780

81%

Scripps College

California

$69,260

$14,610

79%

University of California at Los Angeles

California

$28,702

$8,233

71%

Lewis & Clark College

Oregon

$58,984

$18,703

68%

Mills College

California

$59,850

$18,867

68%

Whittier College

California

$59,620

$18,809

68%

         

Income Bracket: $30,000-48,000

Pomona College

California

$67,225

$8,153

88%

Claremont McKenna College

California

$69,045

$9,083

87%

Harvey Mudd College

California

$72,228

$10,073

86%

California State University at Los Angeles

California

$19,995

$3,637

82%

Pitzer College

California

$68,500

$15,010

78%

California Lutheran University

California

$54,683

$16,100

71%

Scripps College

California

$69,260

$21,045

70%

Lewis & Clark College

Oregon

$58,984

$18,747

68%

Saint Martin's University

Washington

$46,686

$15,079

68%

University of California at Los Angeles

California

$28,702

$9,559

67%

         

Income Bracket: $48,000-75,000

Pomona College

California

$67,225

$7,183

89%

Harvey Mudd College

California

$72,228

$13,359

82%

Claremont McKenna College

California

$69,045

$14,737

79%

Pitzer College

California

$68,500

$20,673

70%

California State University at Los Angeles

California

$19,995

$6,458

68%

Fresno Pacific University

California

$38,858

$12,485

68%

Scripps College

California

$69,260

$23,549

66%

Holy Names University

California

$50,996

$19,850

61%

Mills College

California

$59,850

$23,691

60%

Whittier College

California

$59,620

$24,229

59%

 

 

 

Top Midwestern Colleges & Universities by Tuition Discount

 

Institution Name

Location

Cost of Attendance

Average Net Price

Tuition Discount

         

Income Bracket: $0-30,000

Northwestern University

Illinois

$68,725

$6,416

91%

University of Notre Dame

Indiana

$66,395

$8,838

87%

Beloit College

Wisconsin

$57,142

$8,404

85%

Grinnell College

Iowa

$63,114

$9,185

85%

St. Olaf College

Minnesota

$56,430

$9,555

83%

Kenyon College

Ohio

$65,840

$11,993

82%

Oberlin College

Ohio

$68,672

$15,096

78%

Albion College

Michigan

$55,260

$12,521

77%

Gustavus Adolphus College

Minnesota

$53,750

$12,472

77%

Kalamazoo College

Michigan

$56,230

$12,827

77%

         

Income Bracket: $30,000-48,000

Northwestern University

Illinois

$68,725

$9,054

87%

Beloit College

Wisconsin

$57,142

$9,539

83%

Carleton College

Minnesota

$66,414

$11,405

83%

Grinnell College

Iowa

$63,114

$12,913

80%

University of Notre Dame

Indiana

$66,395

$13,451

80%

Oberlin College

Ohio

$68,672

$14,090

79%

St. Olaf College

Minnesota

$56,430

$11,958

79%

Kenyon College

Ohio

$65,840

$14,286

78%

Albion College

Michigan

$55,260

$12,607

77%

Kalamazoo College

Michigan

$56,230

$12,764

77%

         

Income Bracket: $48,000-75,000

Northwestern University

Illinois

$68,725

$11,480

83%

University of Notre Dame

Indiana

$66,395

$13,979

79%

Beloit College

Wisconsin

$57,142

$12,691

78%

Kenyon College

Ohio

$65,840

$14,788

78%

Macalester College

Minnesota

$64,136

$14,304

78%

Carleton College

Minnesota

$66,414

$15,350

77%

Grinnell College

Iowa

$63,114

$15,504

75%

Oberlin College

Ohio

$68,672

$17,632

74%

Albion College

Michigan

$55,260

$14,703

73%

St. Olaf College

Minnesota

$56,430

$16,107

71%


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