(Updated for 2021) For real. There are 394 colleges where the average college scholarship (institutional grant or merit) is over $20,000, an increase of 32 schools compared to last year. What’s the catch? There are only 288 (up from 250 in 2020) schools where 90% or more of freshmen receive institutional grants. Surprisingly enough, there are only 28 schools where 50% or fewer of freshmen receive an institutional grant of $20,000 or more.
If at least 90% of freshmen are receiving institutional grants at 288 schools, that means a significant number are receiving merit-based college scholarships. So wouldn’t they be worth looking into if you’re interested in cutting the cost of college? If you did, you would learn the following:
- 109 are test optional
- 42 had average SAT scores in the top 20%
- 85 had average ACT scores in the top 20%
- 54 had a 4-year graduation rate of 70% or better
- 210 had a 4-year graduation rate of 50% or better
- At least 77 schools had 50% or more of freshmen who graduated in the top 25% of their class
- At least 22 colleges had 40% or more of freshmen who graduated in the top 10% of their class
- 265 admitted at least half of all applicants
- 119 had 10% or more of undergraduates registered with disabilities
You’ll find these colleges in a variety of locations:
Far West: 28
Great Lakes: 53
Mid East: 77
New England: 38
Rocky Mountains: 3
Pennsylvania has the most with 34, followed by New York with 26 and Massachusetts with 20. They range in size from 511 full-time undergraduates to almost 14,000.
The point of this is that if you want to save $20,000 off of the cost of college then you need to find the colleges (instructions here) that are willing to give you $20,000 in college scholarships.
I know this might sound like a joke, if you want a million dollars, find someone who will give you a million dollars.
But it’s not.
Colleges are the biggest source of free money for students. They award need-based grants and merit scholarships to students to keep their classes filled.
This means that families can save a lot of money by making sure students apply to colleges that are willing to give them money to attend.
You can do your own search for colleges most likely to meet your family’s financial and academic requirements using the DIYCollegeRankings College Search spreadsheet.