How To Find the Colleges that Give Out the Most Financial Aid

As you probably know by now, there are a whole host of variables in determining financial aid.

It starts with your income and assets, as well as your Expected Financial Contribution, which helps determine if and how much financial aid your child will receive.

But, just the same, there are in fact ways to get ahead of the game, including how to figure out which schools may give you the best financial aid.

Keep reading to learn more…

– Scott

How To Find the Schools That Will Give You the Most Financial Aid

Not all colleges and universities are equal in how they award financial aid.

In fact – only a small percentage of schools even bother to claim they’ll fill the full need of students.

The rest tend to give varying degrees of help – with varying combinations of money.

So to begin with, the first step is to do whatever research you can online. (You can also call the schools individually).

If you look closely in your research, you can find the following for your desired college or university:

• How many incoming students applied for financial aid

• How many students were judged by the school to have need

• How many students then received financial aid from the school

• How much of that need was met (100% is the goal, but keep in mind, this is rare.)

• How big the average financial aid package was

• How much was awarded as grants and scholarships vs. loans and work-study jobs

• What the percentage breakdown was between grants and loans

• Finally, the average amount of debt per student (on average) at graduation


This combined information should give you an excellent idea what kind of financial aid package your child is likely to get.

For example, if the average need met is low, you’re not likely going to be happy with your package.

And if most of the package comes in the form of loans, your child may graduate with a big pile of debt.

Now here’s a point that bears repeating…

Don’t assume anything at the start when looking at colleges and universities.

For instance, more expensive schools can appear daunting when you see their retail cost – but those schools also tend to have the biggest financial aid packages.

You could easily find that, after financial aid is taken into account, the expensive schools can actually be the same cost – if not cheaper – than the “lower-priced” schools.

Another important point: Don’t wait until you have a favorite school, or you’re accepted somewhere. Many schools have financial aid deadlines that pass before they send out acceptance letters.

Apply for financial aid at one of these schools, and you’ll probably have fewer eligible students chasing the money.

Of course, if that will truly work in your favor, you should see it in the statistics and information you’ve compiled in your research.

So our recommendation is to begin here… with the questions you’ve put together to ask the financial aid office (at the school you’re considering.)

And don’t forget to ask this question:

Will the financial aid package I receive change after the first year?

This way you’ll have a very good idea what kind of help you can expect.

And you can start to make informed decisions on where to spend your time – and money.

To your college admissions and funding success,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network, LLC
College Made Simple – The Free Educational Resource of the College Planning Network, LLC


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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News,, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.