The following colleges have a stated commitment to provide all admitted US citizens and US permanent residents with a financial aid package that covers 100% of their calculated financial need. The colleges that cover all demonstrated need for undocumented and DACA students are included as well.
In general, schools that meet 100% of demonstrated need strive to be affordable financial options for the students they admit by providing need-based financial aid that is directly tied to each student and family’s resources.
How Colleges Calculate Your Financial Need
Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance and the amount your family is expected to contribute. It’s determined based on information a student submits in a college’s required financial aid application materials, typically including the FAFSA and one or more supplemental documents. Some colleges require the CSS Profile to learn about the student’s financial situation, while others have their own unique financial aid application.
If you are admitted to a college that meets 100% of demonstrated need, the college will use your submitted financial aid materials to calculate an annual expected family contribution (often referred to as your “EFC”). The expected family contribution is based on a family’s earnings, assets, household size, and other factors. It will generally be lower for lower-income families and higher for higher-income families. The EFC may be as low as $0 for students from families with the greatest financial need.
Then, the college will subtract your expected family contribution from the cost of attendance, which is the total annual sum that includes tuition, fees, housing and meal costs, and personal expenses. The remainder is considered your financial need and you will receive a comprehensive financial aid package that is equivalent to this remaining cost. In other words, the total cost of attendance minus your expected family contribution equals your demonstrated financial need. At colleges that meet 100% of need, your financial aid package will cover the entirety of your demonstrated need.
Financial Aid Packages Can Include Different Types of Financial Assistance
Financial aid packages may be composed of grants and scholarship funding (money you do not need to repay), student loans (money you do need to repay), and student employment funding. Some institutions do not include student loans as an expectation in their financial aid package, meeting 100% of demonstrated need with only grant and scholarship funding (also referred to as “gift aid”).
Additional Ways Colleges Meet Full Need
For students accepted at one of the colleges that don’t meet 100% of demonstrated need for every admitted student, there may be other options to cover their full need. Some public colleges and universities commit to only meeting the financial need for in-state residents. While other institutions have financial aid programs specifically for students in their local community. Students should include these specialized financial aid programs in their college research to find affordable options.