College can be a whole lot more enjoyable when you’re not faced with the pile of student debt looming over you post-graduation. But what many don’t realize is that one small step can make mitigating that load a lot easier: taking the time to apply for scholarships, grants, merits and other financial aid.
Scrolling through the enormity of types of aid offered -- and then digging into the nitty gritty of all of the materials required to even submit an application -- puts many of us off.
But being debt-free after college is worth the effort now. How can you take the first step before freshman year? Consider applying to one of these colleges that offer some of the most financial support.
Hear us out on this one. With a tuition over $45,000, you’re wondering how this Ivy League could ever be affordable. But if your family makes $54,000 a year or less, you could be eligible for a full-ride scholarship, which covers tuition plus room and board. And if your family makes less than $120,000 a year, you could still be offered free tuition alone. Ivy League, here you come!
Tennessee Technological University
Sure, you’ve probably never heard of this school in Cookville, Tennessee. But according to Money Magazine rankings, this school offers 25% of its undergraduate students a merit grant. The average size of grants is $13,576, meaning over half of your tuition (in-state) could be covered. Just make sure you're heading in the direction of a tech-focused career!
Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee (what is it about Tennessee and all the aid!?) offers a whopping 58% of their students financial aid. (But with a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,999, they don't have a lot ofmany students to support!) The school packs a double punch as it was listed in the 2018 edition of US News and World Report’s Best Colleges as one of the top National Liberal Arts Colleges.
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is one of the top colleges offering students full-ride scholarships, covering all (and then some) of a student’s tuition. Their Stamps Scholarship, for instance, covers tuition and fees, room and board, AND a $10,000 “enrichment fund” for students who demonstrate leadership, perseverance, scholarship, service, and innovation.
CUNY City College
CUNY City College offers over a dozen of their own institutional scholarships, with the majority of them being merit-based, and many created specifically for those in certain academic majors. They also have a scholarship called the CCNY New Era Scholarship that is available to freshmen who scored in the 75th percentile on their SAT exam. Let’s hope that’s most of you!
University of Alabama
Bama is known for offering students the widest range of merit programs that are available to students both in-state and out-of-state. Just take a look at the long list of merit scholarships available on their site: https://scholarships.ua.edu/types/
The University of Texas-Pan American
UTPA offer scholarships and financial aid that falls into four different categories: endowments, institutional funds, grants and contracts, and state scholarships. All of the opportunities available in those categories are available to browse on the school’s website. Along with aid opportunities, UTPA offers an extensive list of work-study opportunities.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie is great for those of us whose families are just over the income bracket for requiring need-based financial aid. Their scholarships for incoming freshman who qualify for little to no need-based financial aid provide support for those who need it but can’t prove it.
All North Carolina residents are eligible to receive merit-based and need-based grants from App State. In addition, many are able to qualify for at least 20 institutional and foundational scholarships offered through the university. And if you’re still not able to secure any grants or scholarships, students can apply for the federal work-study program.
Another Ivy League for the list! Cornell, with a yearly tuition over $45,000, also offers financial aid to those whose families make less than $60,000. How much financial aid? A full-ride! If your family falls in the income bracket, you could score free tuitiion, room and board. Better yet, Cornell is known for being the Ivy League college with the highest acceptance rate (just over 10%).