2 years ago
Admissions Advice

100% need-based aid


I applied to many schools that claim to offer 100% need based aid (Holy Cross, Skidmore, Northeastern, Boston College, Colgate, Smith, and Colby). I am pretty confident I will get into both Holy Cross and Skidmore, the rest are target/reach schools. Will these schools actually give me 100% of my need met? My EFC (expected family contribution) on the FASFA is around 15,000 and I completed my CSS. Does that mean these schools will only cost me ~$15,000 a year for tuition and room and board?

Thank you for your help!


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

You are getting some language and terms mixed up.

First, "need blind" means the college will not take your families financials into consideration when you apply.

Second "need aware" means the college will take your families financial into consideration.

Third, meeting "100% of your demonstrated need" means the college will find all forms of financial aid that meets 100% of your need including grants, work-study, scholarships, and loans. Colleges have individual discretion with income and asset limits and how they figure out final packages.

So while the schools you applied to might be "need blind", their financial aid package may or may not include Federal Loans. In the case of both Holy Cross and Skidmore, your final financial aid package may be mix of bunch of things.


So if the total costs are $80,000 per year, you might get $45,000 in institutional aid and the remaining $35,000 will be a combination of work-study, loans and your parents contribution. The FAFSA may estimate your EFC but each individual college sets what your real cost is based on the more detailed CSS Profile which details your families incomes and assets.

So, you will have to be patient and wait for your admission decision and your financial aid letter to learn what the financial aid package is for each of the schools you applied to.

The more accurate guess will be is if you take the time and complete the NET PRICE CALC on each of the college's financial aid websites or go to collegeboard and login to the BIG FUTURE section and search for NPC under the financial calculators tab.

As a note to all 10th, 11th and 12th graders, do the NPC estimates before you pick your college list, so you and family will not get any surprises. You will be surprised that depending on your family circumstances, applying to IVYs, Elites and Top Liberal Arts colleges often are less expensive than applying to state schools if you meet their academic standards and have family incomes less than $80,000.

Good Luck.

2 years ago

Schools which meet 100% of need take a detailed look at your financial profile to create a financial aid package that is truly reasonable. Your award may include loans or Federal Work Study, though in any case, it will make college affordable. I wrote an article which explains how some of the schools on your list will meet your need. I also encourage you to check out CollegeVine's cost calculator. Hope this helps!

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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