20 Schools to Avoid if You're Making a List of Affordable Colleges - 2021
I'm able to maintain this website by displaying online advertisements to visitors. Please help support this free information by whitelisting the website.

20 Schools to Avoid if You’re Making a List of Affordable Colleges

college student thinking about Schools to Avoid if You’re Making a List of affordable collegesIn case you haven’t heard, some colleges are more likely to provide you institutional scholarships and grants than others. Some are more generous with merit aid while others give better need-based aid. And just as some colleges are known for their aid, there are those that are known for the lack of it and shouldn’t be found anywhere near a list of affordable colleges. In this post, I’m listing 20 colleges that you should avoid if you’re looking for significant help in cutting the cost of college.

Sponsored Ad

It doesn’t help that these schools start off expensive. All of these schools had a total cost of attendance of $65,000 or more for 2019-20. A total of 16 were actually above $70,000.

Because paying two thirds of your income is reasonable

Of course, everyone knows that you aren’t supposed to go by sticker price since colleges discount their tuition through financial aid awards. However, there isn’t a lot of evidence to show that these schools are going to meet students’ financial need. The average net price for students with family incomes under $30,000 are all above $20,000–not exactly the definition of affordable colleges.

Yet, three schools on the list reported meeting 90% or more of financial need for freshman with another five saying they meet 80% or more of need on the Common Data Set.

It is possible since these schools tend to have a low percentage of freshman receiving Pell Grants. At all but one of the colleges, Drexel University, 20% or fewer of freshman were receiving Pell Grants.

It’s easy to meet the financial need of students who can already pay 80% or 90% of the cost. This would explain why the average need-based awards are generally lower than other schools that claim to meet 90% or more of need.

However, if students qualify for tuition waivers, don’t use them to apply to these schools.

Affordable colleges are based on how much you pay-not save

Now some of these schools may seem like good opportunities for merit scholarships which would seem to potentially add them to list of affordable colleges. After all, 81% of freshman at Loyola Marymount University without need are receiving merit money according to the Common Data Set. Unfortunately, the average award of $11,045 will only bring the total cost down to around $59,000.

You can make the case that a significant number of the schools on the list are great bets for merit scholarships. At eleven of the schools, at least 50% of the freshman without need receive merit awards. But the average merit awards aren’t necessarily generous. By generous, I’m talking about the amount of money saved.

Sponsored Ad

At these eleven schools, the savings are 25% or less of the tuition at five of them. The savings at the other six schools reporting CDS information represent 26% to a 37% off of the total cost of attendance. This essentially can pay for a year of school assuming the costs don’t increase dramatically.

If you go by how much you actually spend on college over four years, even with the savings, families will be paying over $200,000 at all but two of the colleges reporting merit aid information. That’s hardly a list of affordable colleges. Now this may be a great deal for those who are prepared to pay $50,000. However, given that colleges with a full $50,000 sticker price also offer merit scholarships, even with the more “generous” awards mean the colleges on the list will remain expensive for most families.

Popular Items Don’t Tend to Go On Sale

Ultimately, these schools don’t have to be particularly generous with financial aid since they are in demand. Twelve of the colleges on the list accept fewer than 50% of students. Only two have acceptance rates over 60%. With the exception of SMU, these colleges are all located in the popular coastal states.

In addition, half of them fall into the “Goldilocks” size of schools, not too big, not too small. Students seem to prefer schools between 5,000 and 10,000 students. Unless they’re in Boston or New York when bigger is part of the experience.

And over two-thirds of these schools are getting attention from the college rankings. Six rank in the top 50 nationally but haven’t broken the top 20. Another ten make the next 50 and another tops the regional rankings.

Basically, these schools have plenty of qualified students applying and don’t need to offer financial incentives and don’t care if they aren’t on the affordable college list.

Of course, there’s always some students who will receive generous aid from these schools. It’s just that the odds are against you, more so than at other schools. Should any of these schools do appeal to you, you might check out similar schools by using CollegeResults.org.  At the very least, use the schools’ net price calculator before falling in love with it. Ultimately, if cost is a major factor in your college search, these are not schools to include on your college list.

Not Affordable Colleges List
(Frugal with Financial Aid)


Name


State


Full-time
Under-grads


Total price
for in-state students 2019-20


Avg Net Price
by Income $0-$30,000 2018-19


Avg Net Price
by Income $75,001-$110,000 2018-19


% Freshman
Receiving Pell Grants (18-19)

Chapman University

CA

7,055

$75,112

$33,219

$37,848

17

Loyola Marymount University

CA

6,575

$70,446

$32,367

$40,964

13

Pepperdine University

CA

3,332

$75,312

$31,185

$33,611

18

Santa Clara University

CA

5,580

$74,829

$22,356

$31,362

12

Fairfield University

CT

4,174

$67,860

$30,100

$33,523

10

American University

DC

8,186

$67,694

$28,432

$37,117

15

University of Miami

FL

10,742

$70,906

$42,611

$44,741

13

Tulane University of Louisiana

LA

7,262

$74,884

$23,968

$34,240

7

Bentley University

MA

4,186

$71,320

$25,432

$34,455

14

Emerson College

MA

3,839

$72,222

$39,241

$42,458

17

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

MA

4,666

$69,822

$30,503

$38,190

12

Stevens Institute of Technology

NJ

3,659

$72,034

$26,709

$34,801

18

Fordham University

NY

9,181

$76,891

$23,727

$37,527

19

New York University

NY

25,902

$75,502

$25,937

$41,038

20

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

NY

6,241

$73,816

$22,662

$34,046

17

Bucknell University

PA

3,591

$75,400

$22,342

$32,203

10

Drexel University

PA

13,873

$71,657

$25,234

$36,496

26

Villanova University

PA

6,522

$73,124

$22,517

$34,607

10

Southern Methodist University

TX

6,509

$76,710

$26,718

$34,587

9

Texas Christian University

TX

9,190

$68,414

$21,286

$33,664

12

CONNECT WITH OTHER PARENTS PLANNING FOR COLLEGE
JOIN THE COFFEE CUP COLLEGE PLANNING FACEBOOK GROUP

Sponsored Ad

20 Schools to Avoid if You\'re Making a List of Affordable Colleges