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Colleges giving the most financial aid to low-income students

  • Colleges giving the most financial aid to low-income students

    College remains a goal for many high school students, but paying for that dream education can still be a tough task. The good news is that despite rising costs at many institutions, there are more ways to subsidize an education than ever before, and a host of schools are stepping up in offering aid on their own. Still, for families and students from low-income backgrounds, figuring out how to pay for college can often be an arduous task.

    Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (NCES IPEDS), Stacker used data from 2016–17 to compile a list of colleges giving the most financial aid to low-income students. The list is ranked by the percent price discount for students whose families have under $30,000 of income, which is calculated by net price divided by tuition and fees.

    Note: All the figures used in the story refers to specifically identified Group 4 students, which NCES IPEDS defines as full-time students, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who enrolled in Fall 2016 and were awarded any federal student aid, which includes federal grants or federal student loans.

    Among the interesting points to observe as you make your way through the slides is that only seven of the 50 schools on the list are public colleges. However, the net price for students from families making under $30,000 in income is still higher for the private colleges than many of the public colleges not included on the list. Also, public college tuition and net price data only pertain to in-state students, and only schools with 500 or more full-time students enrolled were considered. Click through to see if your alma mater made the list.

    You may also like: Best colleges ranked by diversity 

  • #50. Franklin and Marshall College

    - Tuition and fees: $52,290
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $9,759
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 81.3%
    - Full-time enrollment: 2,225

    Named after Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall, this private liberal arts college was founded in 1787. Tuition comes in at under $10,000 for low-income students, which goes especially far when considering that the majority of students are residents. Compared to other private colleges in Pennsylvania, Franklin and Marshall is one of the better deals for families making under $30,000 annually.

  • #49. Union College

    - Tuition and fees: $51,696
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $9,569
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 81.5%
    - Full-time enrollment: 2,132

    Located in the middle of the industrial city of Schenectady in upstate New York, Union College is sometimes considered a “Little Ivy” or “Hidden Ivy”—a smaller liberal arts school steeped in quality academics. About eight out of 10 first-time, full-time (FTFT) students receive some sort of financial aid, and 50% of FTFT students take out loans.

  • #48. Pitzer College

    - Tuition and fees: $50,430
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $9,203
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 81.8%
    - Full-time enrollment: 1,029

    Pitzer College was where five-time NBA champion coach Gregg Popovich started his career. This selective school is costly—$15,762 for room and board in 2016–17—but the approximately $9,200 cost for low-income students helps. Just over 1,000 students are enrolled full-time at Pitzer, making for an intimate learning community in a scenic Southern California setting.

  • #47. Beloit College

    - Tuition and fees: $47,060
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $8,404
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 82.1%
    - Full-time enrollment: 1,337

    James Arness, the protagonist of TV series “Gunsmoke,” studied at Beloit College, a small school in Wisconsin that many might not associate with the Old West. Beloit’s liberal arts focus is a draw for students throughout the Midwest. 23% of the undergraduate student body receives federal Pell grants and other forms of financial aid, cutting almost $40,000 off the tuition price for low-income students.

  • #46. Skidmore College

    - Tuition and fees: $50,834
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $9,063
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 82.2%
    - Full time enrollment: 2,643

    Known for its horse racing and its proximity to the natural wonders of upstate New York, Saratoga Springs is a bucolic location to attend college. Attending Skidmore, a private college that is a haven for the arts, is not cheap, but with low-income students receiving an average of more than $41,000 toward tuition and fees, this school remains an attractive option.

  • #45. University of Notre Dame

    - Tuition and fees: $49,685
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $8,838
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 82.2%
    - Full-time enrollment: 12,187

    Notre Dame is more than just football and Touchdown Jesus. As one of the Midwest’s most prestigious colleges, applicants from around the country seek out a Notre Dame education. Hefty financial aid packages ease the burden for students from families making less than $30,000, saving about $5,000 more than if they fell into the $30,001–$48,000 income range.

  • #44. Wellesley College

    - Tuition and fees: $48,802
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $8,204
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 83.2%
    - Full-time enrollment: 2,347

    Wellesley is a Seven Sisters college—which pertains to a group of prestigious liberal arts institutions that were traditionally all-female. The school has become more accessible as of late, thanks to more than $40,000 in aid for students from families with less than $30,000 of income. In the past two years, the net price for students in this range has dropped by more than $1,000.

  • #43. Elizabeth City State University

    - Tuition and fees: $4,889
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $809
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 83.5%
    - Full-time enrollment: 1,208

    A public HBCU (historically black college or university), Elizabeth City State in North Carolina has long offered education at accessible prices. With tuition and fees coming in just under $5,000, Elizabeth City State still doles out large financial aid packages, making the cost of attendance just over $800 for low-income families.

  • #42. Hamilton College

    - Tuition and fees: $51,240
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $8,434
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 83.5%
    - Full-time enrollment: 1,868

    Named after Alexander Hamilton, this Upstate New York college is home to less than 2,000 students, but at $51,000, it has one of the larger tuition costs in the nation. To offset the burden, families making less than $30,000 receive 83.5% discounts—although two years ago, the total cost was even less for similar families, with an average net price of $6,126.

  • #41. Rice University

    - Tuition and fees: $43,918
    - Net price (for students with <$30k family income): $7,206
    - Discount to full tuition and fees: 83.6%
    - Full-time enrollment: 6,565

    Rice, a private university in Houston, has educated star athletes like Lance Berkman, Koch family scions, and prize-winning authors like Larry McMurtry. The university has traditionally offered a good bargain to low-income students, even though in 2015–16, its net price was $5,398—almost $2,000 more than the most recent cost.

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