Schools that Cover 100% of Your Financial Need

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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:


Amherst College

Barnard College

Bates College

Boston College

Boston University

Bowdoin College

Brandeis University

Brown University

Bryn Mawr College

California Institute of Technology

Carleton College

Case Western Reserve

Claremont McKenna College

Colby College

Colgate University

College of the Holy Cross

Colorado College

Columbia University

Connecticut College

Cooper Union

Cornell University

Dartmouth College

Davidson College

Denison College

Dickinson College

Duke University

Emory University

Franklin and Marshall College

Georgetown University

Grinnell College

Hamilton College

Harvard University

Harvey Mudd College

Haverford College

Johns Hopkins University

Kenyon College

Lafayette College

Lehigh University

Macalester College

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Middlebury College

Mount Holyoke College

Northeastern University

Northwestern University

Oberlin College

Occidental College

Olin College

Pitzer College

Pomona College

Princeton University

Reed College

Rice University

Scripps College

Skidmore College

Smith College

Soka University of America

St. Olaf College

Stanford University

Swarthmore College

Syracuse University

Thomas Aquinas College

Trinity College

Tufts University

Union College

University of Chicago

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Notre Dame

University of Pennsylvania

University of Richmond

University of Southern California

University of Virginia

Vanderbilt University

Vassar College

Wake Forest University

Washington and Lee University

Washington University in St Louis

Wellesley College

Wesleyan University

Williams College

Yale University

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.


Rice University

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.


Learn more about the Rice University scholarships program and other merit-based aid.


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.


Another school offering 100% coverage of demonstrated financial need is Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.


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.

Edmit's advice helps you to be better off after graduation.

Merit and financial aid estimates based on your student profile

Earnings estimates and financial scores for your college and major

Recommendations to save thousands on college

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