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The 20 Best Private Colleges for Merit Aid

Dec 23, 2014

Not eligible for need-based aid? Not to worry. Among the 665 schools in our Best Colleges ranking, dozens award merit scholarships to at least one-third of the student body. Two, Cooper Union and the Webb Institute, offer merit scholarships to every single admitted student.

To find the most generous of the rest of the private colleges, we analyzed the data on the percentage of students receiving merit aid and the average percentage of tuition each merit grant made up. These 20 colleges offer the best combinations of great odds and big scholarships. If these aren’t an option, read “3 Ways to Get More Financial Aid” for some practical tips.

SCHOOLLOCATIONPCT. WHO GET MERIT AIDAVG. MERIT AWARDAVG. AWARD AS PCT. OF TUITION
1. Millsaps CollegeMiss.40%$19,60060%
2. Hendrix CollegeArk.36%$23,70063%
3. University of TulsaOkla.40%$17,10052%
4. Presbyterian CollegeS.C.45%$15,00045%
5. Westminster CollegeMo.40%$10,40048%
6. Trinity UniversityTex.44%$15,20044%
7. Centre CollegeKy.37%$17,70049%
8. Denison UniversityOhio45%$17,20039%
9. Furman UniversityS.C.48%$16,40038%
10. College of WoosterOhio39%$19,30046%
11. Illinois Inst. of Tech.Ill.33%$19,90051%
12. Mississippi CollegeMiss.38%$6,90046%
13. Augustana CollegeS.D.36%$13,50047%
14. Rhodes CollegeTenn.38%$16,90042%
15. Southwestern UniversityTex.32%$17,70050%
16. TulaneLa.36%$21,10045%
17. Ohio Wesleyan UniversityOhio30%$20,80051%
18. Washington CollegeMd.33%$18,40045%
19. Dordt CollegeIowa21%$17,90067%
19. Saint Mary’s CollegeInd.37%$13,20038%
Notes: Ranking was determined by multiplying the percentage of students who get merit aid by the average award at the 665 schools in the MONEY Best Colleges rankings. In the case of a tie, schools ranked more highly in the overall rankings got the higher spot. sources: MONEY’s Best Colleges rankings, Peterson’s
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