14 US Colleges & Universities Offering Free or Reduced Tuition, “No Student Loans”, Aid Packages

Ever since the 2020 US presidential elections took place, it has repeatedly been reported about student loans’ cancellation.  

According to Erudera.com, Biden’s election as the 46th president of the United States was welcoming news for students in the country, as he had promised to cancel the student loan debts, at least partially.

Students in the United States for years have been impacted by the cruel anti-immigration policies of former President Donald Trump. 

According to the latest student loan debt statistics, 45 million borrowers are collectively in debt of $1.7 trillion of student loans.

Taking into consideration the college costs and the highest amounts of student loans, several colleges have already been taking steps in reducing the costs of higher education, releasing the so-called “no student loans” financial aid policies.

This kind of assistance aims to substitute the student loans with grants or scholarships, which will not be required to be paid back. 

Yet, “no student loans” does not mean colleges or universities removing the student loan from the financial assistance package. But, some universities will either ask students to involve in a part-time job, will require a minimum student contribution, or a parental contribution.

The average cost of tuition and fees for private institutions in the United States reaches the amount of $35,676, according to the US News and World Report.

Here’s the list of 14 colleges and universities in the United States offering free or reduced tuition fees for students.

1. Alice Lloyd College

The tuition costs at Alice Lloyd College are $0 for students coming from 108 counties located in Central Appalachia. The college offers quality education to every student regardless of their economic situation. It also offers programs designed to help students reduce their debt.

In addition, the college offers the Appalachian Leaders College Scholarship to every qualified student from ALC’s 108-county service area, a scholarship that covers the tuition costs for up to 10 semesters. The scholarship’s amount depends on the financial situation of each student.

Yet, getting a degree from Alice Lloyd College is not free at all. As the college must guarantee different sources to fulfil the financial obligations, students are required to contribute through the Student Work Program, in an on-campus job, or in the local community.

2. Amherst College

During 2020-2021, Amherst provided more than $58 million in scholarship aid to its students, with the average financial aid award being over $58,000. Amherst’s financial aid packages include the replacement of all loans with scholarships.

By replacing student loans with scholarships, Amherst has become one of the country’s few colleges and universities which do not oblige students to take student loans in order to be able to continue their undergraduate education.

3. Brown University

Since the 2018-19 academic year, the university has replaced loans with scholarship funds which are not needed to be repaid.

“We’re committed to making a Brown education accessible to students from all income groups, so we can continue to accept the very best and brightest students from around the world,” Brown President Christina Paxson said. 

4. Columbia University

The eligibility to receive financial aid at Columbia University is determined by assessing a family’s ability to pay the education costs.

For students coming from families receiving less than $60,000 per year (and typical assets), parents are not expected to pay the attendance costs.

US citizens and eligible non-citizens’ applications are evaluated by the university regardless of the latter’s financial situation. 

5. Duke University

Students admitted to Duke will enjoy the benefit of the university covering 100 percent of their financial needs by offering assistance for the costs not covered by the calculated contribution of their families.

Students whose families have an income of $60,000 or less and typical assets will not be required parental contribution. 52 percent of undergraduate students at Duke are released from paying the full costs.

6. Harvard University

At Harvard, the majority of students receive their degrees debt-free, and the university does not oblige its students to take out loans as part of financial support packages which include a combination of scholarship funds, student employment, or any other outside awards.

7. Johns Hopkins University

54 percent of first-year students at Johns Hopkins University receive financial aid. The university pledges to meet students’ needs through a variety of support programs. 

The former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, announced a grant in the amount of  $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins, aiming to offer the chance to every student to attend university without regard to their economic situation.

8. Michigan State University 

Since the beginning of March 2021, Michigan State University offered $1,077,305,941 in financial aid for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. The types of financial aid MSU provides include:

  • Scholarships & Grants
  • Loans
  • Work-Study
  • Education Tax Credits
  • Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver
  • Course Fee Courtesy  

The financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants does need to be repaid. The eligibility to receive financial support at MSU depends on the degree a student is pursuing and the type of aid he/she is asking for.

9. Northwestern University

During the 2019-20 academic year, the university awarded $195 million to undergraduate students, and nearly 61 percent of undergraduates received financial support. All need-based aid packages are loan-free at this university. The latter meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial needs.

10. Princeton University

The financial aid program of Princeton is known as one of the most generous in the country. The university meets 100 percent of students’ demonstrated financial needs by providing a grant. Students whose families make less than $65,000 annually receive grants which cover:

  • full tuition
  • residential college fee
  • room and board

11. Rice University

Rise offers full scholarships to students whose annual family income stands between $65,000 and $130,000. In addition, for students whose families earn below $65,000, the university covers tuition, room, and board, including any other fees as well.

Whereas, for those with a family income between $130,000 and $200,000, Rice University offers grants which cover tuition partially, at least 50 percent.

12. Stanford University

One of Stanford’s main sources of funding to assist students in their education costs is the university’s scholarship. All scholarships are provided based on students’ financial needs determined by information provided on the CSS Profile.  

13. University of North Carolina

Students whose family income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, meaning around $48,500 for a family consisting of four members, could qualify for the Carolina Covenant. The latter is an aid program enabling students to attend and graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill debt-free. 

14. Yale University

Yale’s financial aid policy means that the university is committed to meet the full need of all students without requiring any loans. The undergraduate financial aid from the university is awarded based on financial need.

Families who receive gross income less than $75,000 (with typical assets) are free of paying their children’s education at Yale University.

Families that earn between $75,000 and $200,000 (with typical assets) will be required to pay a percentage of their annual income to cover their children’s education. Whereas some families who make more than $200,000 annually receive need-based aid from Yale.

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