The Most Generous Public Universities for Financial Aid

The Most Generous Public Universities for Financial Aid
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By Jessica Bryant

Published on July 15, 2021

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When it comes to choosing the right college, cost is a factor most prospective students must consider carefully. Oftentimes, choosing to attend a public university can help make furthering your education less expensive.

The average in-state tuition at public institutions is about 250% lower than it is at private institutions. And once financial aid is thrown in, the out-of-pocket cost of attendance can drop significantly.

But you will still have thousands of public colleges to choose from, and you may be wondering which ones offer the most financial assistance. To make things a little easier, below we list the top 10 most generous public universities in the U.S. according to The Princeton Review's 2021 report.

The Top 10 Most Generous Public Universities

The Princeton Review annually ranks schools based on the amount of aid they offer and how satisfied students are with that aid.

Some tuition figures may differ from current amounts because of the time of reporting. Tuition and fee calculations do not include the cost of books and other supplies.

10. University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley provides financial assistance to more than 65% of its undergraduate students, the school said. The university offers an array of academic and need-based scholarships, including its Middle Class Scholarship for students whose household incomes and assets total $184,000 or less. Other types of aid included in its packages are grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

9. Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, best known for its engineering program. The university offers a variety of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities to its students. Approximately 66% of students receive some type of financial aid each year, according to the school.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

8. University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma is a public research university based in Norman. The university offers need-based grants, loans, and work-study opportunities to in-state and out-of-state students. OU also offers a variety of academic scholarships awarded to students for all four years of school.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

7. New College of Florida

New College of Florida, a public liberal arts college in Sarasota, was initially founded as a private institution. The college became public in 2001 and has since become known for its generous financial aid packages. New College guarantees scholarship funding for almost all admitted students who apply for the fall semester by the school's priority deadline. It additionally offers merit- and need-based aid and more than 90% of students receive some form of aid each year, the college said.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

6. Truman State University

Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, is the only school in the top 10 whose out-of-state tuition, fees, and room and board total less than $25,000 per year. Ninety-nine percent of Truman's incoming students receive some form of financial aid and at least 50% of students graduate debt free, according to the school. The university offers a variety of competitive, merit-based scholarships as well as specific scholarships for transfer and international students.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

5. Hunter College

Hunter College, part of the City University of New York, is a public research institution that awarded 78% of students need-based aid last year. Though the college does not meet 100% of demonstrated needed aid, it did meet 82% during the 2020-21 academic year. Grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study make up the school's aid packages. Hunter College also has a program called SEEK designed for students who are academically and financially disadvantaged. In addition to having tuition paid, SEEK students with documented financial need will also receive a stipend to cover books and other costs.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

4. University of Michigan

University of Michigan is a public research university in Ann Arbor, where two-thirds of first-year students receive financial assistance. Additionally, in-state students whose families have incomes of $65,000 or less and assets of under $50,000 qualify for free tuition for all four years of school. The university offers a variety of merit- and need-based scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities in its aid packages. It also offers a Provost's Award to continuing students as gap funding for individuals who fall under low socioeconomic status parameters.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

3. Florida State University

Florida State University in Tallahassee is a public research university that prides itself on being a need-blind institution. This means that students' ability to pay will not be factored into admission decisions. Though the university does not always meet 100% of need-based aid for its students, it typically comes pretty close. During the 2020-21 academic year, the university met 93% of need-based aid for students and approximately 47% of students received financial assistance that year, it said.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill commits to meeting the demonstrated financial need of its students. Its aid packages include grants, merit- and need-based scholarships, loans, and work-study opportunities. During the 2020-21 academic year, 44% of students were awarded need-based aid.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

1. University of Virginia

University of Virginia, a public research institution based in Charlottesville, meets 100% of demonstrated need-based aid for all students, both in and out of state. At least 35% of the university's student population is awarded some level of need-based assistance. University of Virginia's aid packages can include grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. The university commits to limiting loans to an average of $4,500-$7,000 per year, per student in an effort to minimize student debt.

Tuition and Fee Calculations

To Find Out More

For more information on the best financial aid packages offered by particular schools, visit our financial aid resource guide. It includes how and where to apply for aid and what to expect throughout the process.


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