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    Top Colleges that Meet Full Need

    Written by Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    Updated: January 16th, 2024

    The college admissions process isn’t just about getting accepted; it’s also about making sure you can afford tuition. Some schools accept students without offering enough financial aid to make attendance an option. But the full need colleges on our list below have all pledged to meet 100% of accepted students’ need. That means the financial aid office will calculate each student’s need and offer them a financial aid package to ensure they can attend.

    If you have significant financial need, be sure to apply to several full need colleges, and be on the lookout for need-blind schools as well. If you do end up getting accepted by a school that doesn’t meet your financial need, consider writing a financial aid appeal letter. This could end up increasing your aid package.

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    59 colleges
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    M

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Cambridge, MA • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    MIT is a world leader in science, engineering, and technology education and research. The Institute is known for its rigorous academics and innovative culture, fostering technological breakthroughs and alumni such…Read More

    MIT is a world leader in science, engineering, and technology…Read More

    4% acceptance
    95% graduation rate
    4,638 undergrads
    $20,338 net price
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    S

    Stanford University

    Stanford, CA • Private, Non-Profit, Suburb, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Stanford University is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Stanford, California. There are currently 7,761 undergraduates at Stanford and the school’s acceptance rate is 4%. The tuition at Stanford…

    Stanford University is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in…Read More

    4% acceptance
    95% graduation rate
    7,761 undergrads
    $10,851 net price

    Princeton University

    Princeton, NJ • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Princeton is renowned for having some of the best academics in the entire world. Famous for its Eating Clubs, Princeton has produced alumni such as Woodrow Wilson, Jeff Bezos, and…Read More

    Princeton is renowned for having some of the best academics…Read More

    6% acceptance
    97% graduation rate
    5,527 undergrads
    $8,143 net price
    P

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia, PA • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the University of Pennsylvania, commonly known as Penn, is an Ivy League institution renowned for its blend of rigorous academics and vibrant campus life. Founded by…Read More

    Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the University of Pennsylvania, commonly known…Read More

    7% acceptance
    96% graduation rate
    10,572 undergrads
    $26,138 net price
    C

    Columbia University in the City of New York

    New York, NY • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, Columbia University is renowned for its prestigious Core Curriculum, which includes interdisciplinary courses in literature, philosophy, history, and more. Columbia also…Read More

    Located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, Columbia…Read More

    4% acceptance
    95% graduation rate
    8,902 undergrads
    $23,497 net price
    H

    Harvard University

    Cambridge, MA • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Harvard University is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There are currently 7,973 undergraduates at Harvard and the school’s acceptance rate is 3%. The tuition at Harvard…

    Harvard University is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in…Read More

    3% acceptance
    98% graduation rate
    7,973 undergrads
    $19,500 net price
    Y

    Yale University

    New Haven, CT • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is known for its prestigious law school and its secret societies, including Skull and Bones. The Ivy League institution has produced many influential…Read More

    Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is known for…Read More

    5% acceptance
    98% graduation rate
    6,639 undergrads
    $18,535 net price
    H

    Harvey Mudd College

    Claremont, CA • Private, Non-Profit, Suburb

    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College

    Harvey Mudd College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Claremont, California. There are currently 906 undergraduates at Harvey Mudd and the school’s acceptance rate is 13%. The tuition…

    Harvey Mudd College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located…Read More

    13% acceptance
    92% graduation rate
    906 undergrads
    $39,671 net price
    J

    Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore, MD • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Did you know that Johns Hopkins University was the first research university in the United States? Located in Baltimore, Maryland, it is renowned for its medical, public health, and engineering…Read More

    Did you know that Johns Hopkins University was the first…Read More

    7% acceptance
    94% graduation rate
    5,643 undergrads
    $20,820 net price
    P

    Pomona College

    Claremont, CA • Private, Non-Profit, Suburb, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Pomona College, located in Claremont, California, is a premier liberal arts college known for its academic excellence and close-knit community. Founded in 1887, Pomona is one of the Claremont Colleges…

    Pomona College, located in Claremont, California, is a premier liberal…Read More

    7% acceptance
    95% graduation rate
    1,699 undergrads
    $18,084 net price
    G

    Georgetown University

    Washington, DC • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Georgetown University is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Washington, District Of Columbia. There are currently 7,343 undergraduates at Georgetown and the school’s acceptance rate is 12%. The tuition…

    Georgetown University is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in…Read More

    12% acceptance
    96% graduation rate
    7,343 undergrads
    $35,965 net price
    C

    Claremont McKenna College

    Claremont, CA • Private, Non-Profit, Suburb

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Claremont McKenna College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Claremont, California. There are currently 1,383 undergraduates at CMC and the school’s acceptance rate is 10%. The tuition at…

    Claremont McKenna College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located…Read More

    10% acceptance
    91% graduation rate
    1,383 undergrads
    $19,489 net price
    U

    University of California-Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA • Public, City

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    University of California-Los Angeles is a public 4-year college located in Los Angeles, California. There are currently 32,423 undergraduates at UCLA and the school’s acceptance rate is 9%. The tuition…

    University of California-Los Angeles is a public 4-year college located…Read More

    9% acceptance
    92% graduation rate
    32,423 undergrads
    $0 net price
    B

    Babson College

    Wellesley, MA • Private, Non-Profit, Suburb

    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College

    Babson College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Wellesley, Massachusetts. There are currently 2,709 undergraduates at Babson and the school’s acceptance rate is 22%. The tuition at Babson…

    Babson College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in…Read More

    22% acceptance
    93% graduation rate
    2,709 undergrads
    $34,994 net price
    W

    Williams College

    Williamstown, MA • Private, Non-Profit, Town, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Williams College, located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, consistently ranks as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Known for its tutorial system, similar to Oxford, Williams has notable…Read More

    Williams College, located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, consistently ranks as one…Read More

    9% acceptance
    95% graduation rate
    2,138 undergrads
    $26,775 net price
    A

    Amherst College

    Amherst, MA • Private, Non-Profit, Suburb, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Amherst College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Amherst, Massachusetts. There are currently 1,898 undergraduates at Amherst and the school’s acceptance rate is 7%. The tuition at Amherst…

    Amherst College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in…Read More

    7% acceptance
    92% graduation rate
    1,898 undergrads
    $25,035 net price
    C

    California Institute of Technology

    Pasadena, CA • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    California Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Pasadena, California. There are currently 982 undergraduates at Caltech and the school’s acceptance rate is 3%. The tuition…

    California Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit 4-year college…Read More

    3% acceptance
    94% graduation rate
    982 undergrads
    $16,550 net price
    C

    Cornell University

    Ithaca, NY • Private, Non-Profit, City, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College

    Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is known for its Ivy League member status and scenic campus. Notable alumni include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bill Nye, and Toni Morrison.

    Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is known for…Read More

    7% acceptance
    95% graduation rate
    15,676 undergrads
    $29,651 net price
    S

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore, PA • Private, Non-Profit, Suburb, Need-Blind

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Swarthmore College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. There are currently 1,619 undergraduates at Swarthmore and the school’s acceptance rate is 7%. The tuition at Swarthmore…

    Swarthmore College is a private, non-profit 4-year college located in…Read More

    7% acceptance
    94% graduation rate
    1,619 undergrads
    $21,595 net price
    V

    University of Virginia-Main Campus

    Charlottesville, VA • Public, Suburb

    Top College Top College, Top Affordability
    Top College Top College
    Top College Top College: Affordability

    Founded by Thomas Jefferson, UVA is known for its historic campus and strong programs in law, business, and the humanities. The Rotunda, designed by Jefferson, is a UNESCO World Heritage…Read More

    Founded by Thomas Jefferson, UVA is known for its historic…Read More

    19% acceptance
    95% graduation rate
    17,103 undergrads
    $0 net price
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    About the Data

    We sort colleges on our lists according to their Scholarships360 Top Colleges Index Score. This score is calculated using up-to-date information taken directly from the College Scorecard. Additional information is sourced from the colleges themselves, as well as other publicly available information. If you see an error, feel free to contact us.

    What does it mean to meet full need?

    If you are accepted to a college that meets full need, they will take a look at your financial information using the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile, and then they will offer you a financial package that fills the gap between the cost of attendance and your ability to pay. This package may include scholarships, grants, loans, work study, and more. This means that any student who is accepted should be able to afford the school without taking out private loans.

    Other college lists to explore

    Frequently asked questions

    What should I do if my financial aid award isn't enough at a 100% need school?

    If your financial aid award isn’t enough, it can never hurt to reach out to the school’s financial aid office. You can try writing a financial aid appeal letter, which should be especially effective at a 100% need school. Since they try to package every accepted student with a feasible financial aid package, it could be that they got your information wrong, or you have extenuating circumstances not captured by the CSS Profile or FAFSA.

    Is 100% need the same as need blind?

    Meeting 100% of demonstrated need is not the same as being need-blind. Schools that meet 100% of demonstrated need will offer every accepted student a financial aid package that bridges the gap between the student’s ability to pay and the cost of attendance at the school. This addresses the financial aid aspect of an application.

    On the other hand, being need-blind has an impact on who a college or university admits in the first place. Schools that are need-aware will prioritize applicants who are able to pay full tuition, or close to it. Need-blind schools, on the other hand, do not take financial need into account when they decide who to accept. So, rather than affecting how much they offer students, need-blind admissions affects who they let in in the first place.

    What's the most competitive school that meets 100% need?

    Most of the hardest schools to get into in the US are also schools who have committed to meeting 100% of need. So schools like Caltech, Stanford, and Princeton are the most competitive schools that meet 100% need. These are also some of the most competitive schools in the country in general.
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