U.S. News and World Report has a list out of the schools that meet full financial need. The quality of schools available to students may surprise you.
While only 62 of 1,137 schools ranked by U.S. News and World Report claim to meet full financial need of students, the 62 schools that do are among the nation’s best. Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Columbia, as well as many other top-ranked private universities, all meet full need. In addition, some of the best liberal arts schools in the nation meet full financial need. Such schools include Williams College (MA), Amherst, Bowdoin and Pomona.
Sadly, there are only three public schools that meet full demonstrated need. They are University of Virginia, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and the US Merchant Marine College. While public colleges are generally cheaper than private colleges, failing to meet full need should persuade some students to look at private options. It should be noted, though, that other schools come close to meeting full need. UC Berkeley, for example, falls just short of meeting 100% of demonstrated need.
How are these needs met? The FAFSA helps the university determine your expected family contribution and demonstrated financial need. Universities then cover those needs with scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. So, while not the equivalent of throwing a bunch of cash into the family account, a family can reasonably expect college costs to be covered in this way by these full-need-met universities.