When choosing which college to attend, it’s crucial to compare each of the financial aid packages that you are offered in order to make the smartest financial decision possible.
In December 2019, the average student loan debt in America was $35,397. That means that college students who took out loans borrowed $35,397 on average to pay for tuition.
Fortunately, an increasing number of universities have implemented financial aid enhancements, such as no-loan financial aid packages and need-blind financial aid, in order to help students afford college and reduce student loan debt.
If a college has a no-loan financial aid policy, this means that their financial aid packages will only include scholarships, grants, and work-study aid, while excluding loans.
Loans do NOT equal financial aid! You have to pay back loans eventually meaning, they are not free money. Scholarships, grants, and work-study, on the other hand, are examples of aid that do not need to be paid back. Colleges like to do this tricky thing where they offer you $30,000 worth of “financial aid,” but $10,000 of it is loans–watch out!
The beauty of no-loan colleges is that they will meet 100% of your financial need with gift aid (the term used for financial aid that does not need to be repaid). Many colleges offer no-loan financial aid packages to all students who qualify for financial need. However, some colleges only offer these packages to low-income students whose household income is below a threshold.
Accepting a no-loan financial aid package does not necessarily mean students cannot take out student loans– it just means the financial aid package won’t include them. Students and their parents can still choose to take out loans in order to cover their Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount of money determined by FAFSA that a family is financially able to contribute toward tuition.
Check out these lists of no-loan colleges below!
If a college is need-blind, this means that their admissions office and financial aid office work independently. Essentially, the admissions office reviews applications without knowing the financial need of each student. Therefore, a prospective student’s ability to pay for college is not taken into consideration during the admissions process.
It is important to know that while a college may be need-blind during the admissions process, this does not guarantee that they will meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need. For example, they may only cover half of your tuition and offer loans to pay for the rest. Make sure to further research each university’s loan policy and financial aid coverage.
Additionally, some colleges only have need-blind admissions for American citizens and for first-year students, meaning that transfer students or international students may not fall under these policies.
Check out this list of need-blind colleges below!
Did we miss any colleges in either list? Let us know by commenting on our Instagram and we’ll be sure to keep our lists up to date! If you have any questions or need help with the applications for financial aid, contact us and sign up for our newsletter– it’s free!