Colleges that Meet 100% of Demonstrated Financial Need

  • What does "100% need met" mean?

    When you complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the form analyzes how much money your family can afford to pay for college. This number is called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The difference between the total cost of attendance at a college and your EFC is called your "financial need." Some colleges in the United States meet 100% of your demonstrated need, which means that if you are low-income, you will attend these colleges for free (as long as you get in!) Most of these colleges are highly selective, which means students must have strong GPAs, extracurriculars, and sometimes test scores.


    When I was a high school senior, I completed my FAFSA in the month of October. I then applied to Duke University and got in. Duke offered me a financial package based on my FAFSA. My family made around $100,000 per year. The cost of attendance for Duke per year was around $70,000. My EFC based on FAFSA was around $10,000, which means Duke expected my family to be able to pay $10,000 a year for college. The total cost of attendance minus my EFC was $60,000. Therefore, my demonstrated financial need for each year was $60,000. Duke offered me $5,000 in student loans and $55,000 in grants (free money). My parents and I paid $10,000 per year. 

    What does this map mean?

    The colleges labeled with green numbers meet 100% of demonstrated financial need WITHOUT loans.

    The colleges labeled yellow meet 100% of need, but offer loans to higher income students.

    The colleges labeled orange meet 100% of need, but include federal loans as a part of their financial aid award package.

    You can click on the numbers to find out more about each college and visit their website.

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