We have great news! There are a lot of schools across the United States that cover 100% of student financial need.
Getting 100% of your financial need covered doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have to pay for some of your college expenses. This will depend on your demonstrated financial need and decisions made by your specific college.
Schools that cover 100% of financial need for all students are saying that they -- the school -- will devise a plan to cover the whole cost of attending their institution. First they will determine how much your family is able to pay based on your completion of the FAFSAⓇ or CSS Profile. Whatever value remains when they subtract your family’s contribution from the cost of attendance will be your financial need.
When you get your financial aid package from the school, they will have itemized out how to cover your remaining financial need with scholarships, grants, government loans, and work study.
For a deeper dive into what it means to get full financial need coverage, read this Edmit article.
Now, here is the list of all colleges and universities across the United States that will cover all of your financial need:
Bryn Mawr College
California Institute of Technology
Claremont McKenna College
College of the Holy Cross
Franklin and Marshall College
Harvey Mudd College
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mount Holyoke College
State University of New York Polytechnic Institute*
Thomas Aquinas College
University of Chicago
University of Florida*
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of Richmond
University of Southern California
University of Virginia
Wake Forest University
Washington and Lee University
Washington University in St Louis
* These schools reported data indicating that they cover 99% of financial need. We count them in this list to accommodate rounding or a small margin or error in their calculation.
You’ll notice that many of these schools are Ivy League and other well-respected institutions. Why is that? These colleges and universities are trying to recruit top talent and don’t want to exclude great candidates because of financial barriers. Many of these schools have a lot of money, much of it set aside to ensure that they can provide enough aid for those who cannot pay the cost of attendance in full.
There are a lot of other great schools that cover most, but not all, financial need. We break them down in other articles by location and school type. Search the specific region, type of school or even specific institution on Edmit’s website to see what other schools are offering great aid packages.
Some Notable Facts
Did you know that there are only two public schools in the US at this time that offer 100% coverage of demonstrated financial need and they are both in the southeast? The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the the University of Virginia are both public research universities committed to attracting the best students through affordable education.
Officially William Marsh Rice University, this private research university is located on a 300-acre campus in Houston, Texas.
Rice has a nearly four thousand undergraduate population, with a slightly smaller graduate program. As this is a research university, it is a great place for those interested in participating in or creating research projects. In fact, Rice conducted about $130 million worth of externally funded research during the 2016 - 17 academic year.
We are showcasing Rice University in this article, because it is the only school in the southwest covering 100% of demonstrated need for all students, but Rice actually has an even more robust financial aid program than that. Students from families with incomes up to $200,000 who qualify for The Rice Investment do not take out loans as part of their need-based financial aid packages. All costs are covered by grants and scholarships. Students within this financial bracket may be eligible for coverage of half or full tuition and room and board coverage.
Let’s take a peak into Colorado College!
Nestled at the base of the Rockies and looking up at the tallest peak, Colorado Springs hosts this unique college. The school’s academics are structured around the Block Plan, in which students take only one three-and-a-half-week course at a time. Learn more.
On top of covering the financial need for any students who has demonstrated that need, the school also offers other merit- and non-merit-based scholarships. Colorado College automatically considers every person in the incoming class for three merit-based scholarships. The school also offers three merit-based scholarships that require further application. If this is of interest, read more here.
Minnesota is home to two of the colleges with full need coverage: Carleton College and Macalester College. Both small liberal arts colleges, they are quite close together in relation to the size of Minnesota. Macalester lives in the bustling capital of St Paul, while Carlton resides three and a half hours outside the city in a town called Northfield where the motto is Cows, Colleges, and Contentment. As the schools are both private liberal arts schools that are similar in size, rigor and cost, it can come down to location, location, location.
Macalester also offers other scholarships based on merit, while Carleton does not.
Grinnell is also a private liberal arts school, but is quite small. While the two Minnesota schools maintain student bodies just over two thousand, Grinnell’s total undergraduate population is just a hair over 1,700. Grinnell, like Macalester, prides itself on their commitment to social justice.
Grinnell offers a number of other scholarships. In fact, if you have Iowa residency, you are guaranteed at least $12,000 every year to help cover the cost of attendance at Grinnell. It can pay off to go to school in-state, even at some private schools.
Kenyon College takes their coverage a step further and offers full-tuition scholarships to the top students in every entering class.
They automatically review every student in the incoming class for “extraordinary leadership, scholarship and community membership.” The students that are selected for this scholarships are able to go tuition-free to Kenyon for all four years of their education, pending continuing evaluation.
Learn more about this and other generous Kenyon College scholarships.
If you are unsure about the differences between full financial need coverage and a full ride or full tuition scholarship, read this Edmit article.