University of North Carolina

Colleges That Report Meeting Full Financial Need

Of the 1,136 institutions that submitted financial need data to U.S. News, 62 of them claim they cover full need.

University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill is one of the few public universities that met 100 percent of need for undergraduates, according to data reported to U.S. News.

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Lots of families can't afford to pay the full sticker price that a college charges.

So, universities, especially private schools, are increasingly awarding institutional and federal dollars to help families chip away at their sometimes sky-high price tags.

Among them, a few dozen colleges and universities meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need. That means that they use a combination of loans, scholarships, grants and work-study to fill the gap between the cost of attendance – room and board, tuition, fees and other expenses – and what a family can contribute.

[Discover how to determine whether a college is affordable for you.]

The amount a family can pay is typically determined by the information they provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, including tax data, assets and family size. Some schools' formulas may also include information not provided on the FAFSA.

Of the 1,136 colleges and universities that submitted financial need data to U.S. News, just 62 of them report covering full need for undergraduate students in fall 2014.

[Explore 10 tools that give you a tailored estimate of what you'll pay for college.]

Most of the schools with this financial aid policy are highly ranked private colleges and universities. Among them are Princeton University, ranked No. 1 among National Universities, and Williams College, ranked first among National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of schools meeting full need for undergraduates rank within the top 20 of their categories. About one-third place in the top 10 of their categories.

[Discover the 2016 Best Value Schools.]

One group of schools nearly absent from this list is public universities. While they tend to have lower sticker prices than their private peers, just a couple of public schools meet full need, including the University of Virginia and University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill.

Below are the colleges and universities that claimed to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for full-time, degree-seeking undergraduates in fall 2014.

School name (state) U.S. News rank and category
Amherst College (MA) 2, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Amridge University (AL) RNP, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Barnard College (NY) 29 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Bates College (ME) 25 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Boston College 30 (tie), National Universities
Bowdoin College (ME) 4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Brown University (RI) 14, National Universities
Bryn Mawr College (PA) 25 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
California Institute of Technology 10 (tie), National Universities
Carleton College (MN) 8, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Claremont McKenna College (CA) 9 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Colby College (ME) 19 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Colgate University (NY) 19 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
College of the Holy Cross (MA) 32 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Colorado College 25 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Columbia University (NY) 4 (tie), National Universities
Connecticut College 48 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Cornell University (NY) 15 (tie), National Universities
Dartmouth College (NH) 12 (tie), National Universities
Davidson College (NC) 9 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Duke University (NC) 8, National Universities
Franklin and Marshall College (PA) 40 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Georgetown University (DC) 21 (tie), National Universities
Grinnell College (IA) 19 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Hamilton College (NY) 14 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Harvard University (MA) 2, National Universities
Haverford College (PA) 12 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Macalester College (MN) 23 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 7, National Universities
Middlebury College (VT) 4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Mount Holyoke College (MA) 35, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Northwestern University (IL) 12 (tie), National Universities
Oberlin College (OH) 23 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Occidental College (CA) 43 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Pitzer College (CA) 36, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Pomona College (CA) 4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Princeton University (NJ) 1, National Universities
Rice University (TX) 18 (tie), National Universities
Salem College (NC) 136 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Scripps College (CA) 29 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Smith College (MA) 14 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Soka University of America (CA) 45 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Stanford University (CA) 4 (tie), National Universities
Swarthmore College (PA) 3, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Thomas Aquinas College (CA) 82 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Trinity College (CT) 43 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Tufts University (MA) 27 (tie), National Universities
University of Chicago 4 (tie), National Universities
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill 30 (tie), National Universities
University of Notre Dame (IN) 18 (tie), National Universities
University of Pennsylvania 9, National Universities
University of Richmond (VA) 32 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
University of Southern California 23 (tie), National Universities
University of Virginia 26, National Universities
Vanderbilt University (TN) 15 (tie), National Universities
Vassar College (NY) 12 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Washington and Lee University (VA) 14 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Washington University in St. Louis 15 (tie), National Universities
Wellesley College (MA) 4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Wesleyan University (CT) 14 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Williams College (MA) 1, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Yale University (CT) 3, National Universities

The financial need data above are correct as of Sept. 14, 2015. For complete financial aid data, full rankings and much more, access the U.S. News College Compass.