Top schools for financial aid and costs

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Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: Top schools for financial aid and costs
By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 11:13 am: Edit

This week's issue of U.S. News & World Report has a special section on paying for college.

The report lists top "great deals at great schools" based on the ranking of the school in the main US News list divided by the percentage receiving aid and the average discount from total cost of those who get financial aid.

Top school on the list: California Institute of Technology (57% get aid and pay an average of $12,022)

Others in the top 20: Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Rice, MIT, Dartmouth, Columbia, Duke, University of PEnnsylvania, Nothre Dame, UVa, WUSTL, Johns Hopkins, Brigham Young, Brown, U of Chicago, Northwestern, Cornell.

Interestingly, some smaller less-well known universities are on the top 50 list, including
the University of the Pacific, RPI, Lehigh, Pepperdine, ST. Louis University, and Loyola in Chicago.

Looking at just the percentage of students receiving need based aid is also interesting. The University of California at San Diego has the smallest percentage - just 15% of students receive need based aid. The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill has the second smallest percentage - just 26%. The universities having the higest percentage receiving financial aid include RPI (70%), the University of the Pacific (67%), the University of Rochester (58%), MIT (52%), Case Western (55%).

Note: The percentages of students receiving need based financial aid appears to be lower for national universities than for LACs (at least on this list). See below for LAC percentages.

For liberal arts schools, the top one on the list was Amherst where 46% receive need based aid and pay an average of $15,000, a 62% discount.
Others on that list: Williams,Swarthmore, Washington and Lee, Macalester, Pomona, Grinnell, Middlebury, Wellesley, Occidental, Claremont McKenna, Carleton, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Wabash.

Washington and Lee - although high on the overall list, provides the lowest percentage of need based financial aid - only 21% of students receive it. Hillsdale College in Michigan tops the list - 91% of students receive need based aid,
Wells College in NY is the second highest - 79% of students receive aid. Other LACs with high percentages of students receiving need based aid:
Austin College (TX) - 60%, knox College (IL), 75%, Agnes Scott College (GA) - 66%, Mount Holyoke (MA) - 64%, Occidental College (CA) - 70%, Macalester College (MN) - 69%, Centre College (KY) - 67%, Smith (MA) 64%

In a second post, I'll list the schools where students carry the highest debt upon graduation

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