With ever increasing college tuition costs, students and families must adapt. Therefore, finding ways to graduate from college with limited or no debt concerns every student. There are a number of ways you can achieve this, but one of the most desired options is to receive a substantial financial aid package. You should note that some colleges offer such packages more freely than others, though. In this article, we look at what makes a good financial aid package so you can evaluate your offers. Finally, we provide a list containing a number of colleges with the best financial aid packages.
What makes a good financial aid package?
1) Gives scholarships or grants rather than loans
As we talked about in our article comparing scholarships and grants, these two forms of financial aid are both preferable to loans, which you have to pay back. Therefore, you’ll want to find schools that offer financial aid packages that primarily consist of scholarships or grants. If, however, you must receive a loan, look for loans that have low interest rates, fair payback plans, and/or subsidized loans.
2) Financial aid is easy to receive and/or renew
“Easy” is relative here, but a good financial aid package will have reasonable standards to receive it. This can include meeting the criteria for a need-based scholarship, or demonstrating great merit in a field. Furthermore, many students don’t realize that some scholarships have to be renewed on an annual basis, so a good scholarship would consist of a program that’s easy to renew, or does not need to be renewed at all.
3) Offers the amount of money you need
While every student would love to receive a full ride scholarship to their dream school, this doesn’t necessarily need to be your goal. Sit down with your parents and realistically assess how much financial support you’ll need to attend each college on your list. Having specific numbers in mind before receiving financial aid offers will help you make better decisions and give you more leverage should you need to call schools and request more later on.
11 colleges with the best financial aid packages
While there are a number of schools that have great financial aid packages, and some schools may offer you a greater package than other students normally receive, these schools are known for offering substantial financial aid packages.
- Princeton University
- Pomona College
- Harvard University
- Yale University
- Vanderbilt University
- Amherst College
- Stanford University
- Claremont McKenna College
- Swarthmore College
- University of Pennsylvania
- Haverford College
In the end, we hope this information about college financial aid packages has given you the information necessary to get started. Planning ahead will be a major asset. If you’re curious to get started, chat with one of our team members here at Empowerly. We can connect you to our partner in financial aid and help you make college a reality.