Private and public colleges top the list for financial aid


At top colleges nationwide, the most recent application season was the most competitive on record, but getting accepted to multiple schools may have been the easiest part for students.

They now have less than a week to decide which school they will attend before National Decision Day on May 1, the deadline for high school students to finalize a plan for next year.

For many, the biggest issue remains how they will pay for their degree.

Including tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses, the estimated average total cost in 2021-22 for students at four-year private colleges is approximately $55,800 per year; for in-state students at public four-year colleges, it’s more than $27,300, according to the College Board.

According to The Princeton Review’s 2022 College Hopes & Worries survey, a majority of college students and their parents say affordability and managing the debt burden that often comes with a college degree are their main concern.

A whopping 98% of families said financial help would be needed to cover costs and 80% said it was “extremely” or “very” needed, according to The Princeton Review.

“The mere thought of navigating financial aid scares the average student and parent alike,” said Robert Franek, editor of The Princeton Review. “But the good news is there’s a lot of help out there, and many schools are incredibly generous.”

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Here’s a look at other stories that offer a financial angle on life’s milestones.

The Princeton Review ranked colleges by the amount of financial aid given and student satisfaction with their packages. The 2022 report is based on data from its surveys of administrators and students from 650 colleges during the 2020-21 school year.

When it comes to awarding scholarships and grants, which never have to be repaid, private schools usually have more money to spend, Franek said. “They are able to use their financial means to allow students to go to university without it being a significant financial burden.”

At the top five schools in Princeton Review’s 2022 ranking of the best private colleges for financial aid, the average scholarship is over $57,000.

“These schools are doing the near-impossible, which brings the cost down below what a student can expect to pay for a year of public college,” Franek said.

Top 5 Private Colleges for Financial Aid

Blair Hall at Princeton University

Looping Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

1. Princeton University
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Sticker price: $74,190
Average need-based scholarship: $61,928
Total disbursements: $12,262

2. Yale University
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Sticker price: $77,750
Average need-based scholarship: $61,067
Total disbursements: $16,683

3. Pomona College
Location: Pomona, California
Sticker price: $71,980
Average need-based scholarship: $55,485
Total disbursements: $16,495

4. Vanderbilt University
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Sticker price: $68,980
Average need-based scholarship: $54,417
Total disbursements: $14,563

5. Vassar College
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
Sticker price: $75,920
Average need-based scholarship: $53,699
Total disbursements: $22,221

Top 5 Public Colleges for Financial Aid

University of Virginia

Source: Dan Addison | AVU Academic Communications

1. University of Virginia
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Sticker price (as is): $31,228
Average need-based scholarship: $25,509
Total disbursements: $5,719

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Sticker price (as is): $21,252
Average need-based scholarship: $16,295
Total disbursements: $4,957

3. Florida State University
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Sticker price (as is): $17,989
Average need-based scholarship: $11,170
Total disbursements: $6,819

4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sticker price (as is): $29,785
Average need-based scholarship: $23,137
Total disbursements: $6,648

5. City University of New York – Hunter College
Location: Manhattan, New York
Sticker price (as is): $23,447
Average need-based scholarship: $8,892
Total disbursements: $14,555

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that The Princeton Review’s 2022 list of Best Colleges for Financial Aid is based on data from the 2020-21 school year. An earlier version misrepresented the period. A previous headline misrepresented the timing of these financial aid scholarships and misrepresented the 10 most generous colleges. This article has also been updated to reflect that the College Board dollar amounts for 2021-22 represent the estimated average total costs for student participation; a previous version misidentified this data.

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