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Guides and Rankings

Fiske Guide to Colleges

The Hidden Ivies, 2nd Edition: 50 Top Colleges from Amherst to Williams That Rival the Ivy League (Greene's Guides)  Somewhat outdated and biased, but a good place to start looking for schools outside the Ivy League.


Public Ivies Web Sites


Top 25 Ivy League Competitors


A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs 2014, by John Willingham Provides lengthy descriptions and analysis of the value of public university honors programs. The Review also has extensive information on financial aid and scholarships, study-abroad facts and figures, undergraduate research opportunities, National Merit qualifying scores, and the best universities for National Merit Scholars. This is an excellent resource for anyone considering a college education.

USNews Education

College Scorecard the Federal Government’s Ranking Website

Forbes (college rankings on various topics)

Washington Monthly College Rankings

Brookings Institution Rankings Based on Graduates’ Salaries


MONEY's Best Colleges The 736 schools that provide the best value for your tuition dollar.


Top 50 Colleges for Black Students A helpful, but out of date list. 


I would add Xavier in New Orleans:

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Xavier continues to rank first nationally in the number of African American students earning undergraduate degrees in both the biological/life sciences and the physical sciences. The College of Pharmacy, one of only two pharmacy schools in Louisiana, is among the nation’s top four producers of African American Doctor of Pharmacy degree recipients. In pre-medical education, Xavier ranks first in the nation in the number of African American graduates who go on to complete medical school.


I would also add the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus.


University president, Freeman Hrabowski, has been so successful at cultivating his school's reputation for steering African-American students toward science and engineering — fields in which they have been traditionally under-represented that Time Magazine named him one of the 10 best college presidents in 2009.




A list of 180+ ranked schools that don’t require ACT or SAT scores for admissions, including the latest: Catholic University in Washington, DC 

HBCUs and PBIs

The HBCUs have their own Common Application that works well and takes 10 minutes to complete.

President Freeman Hrabowski’s Four Pillars of College Success in Science


Freeman Hrabowski’s Four Pillars of College Success in Science

1. High expectations for students

2. Building community to foster support and collaboration

3. Researchers producing researchers – getting students into labs

4. Faculty getting involved with and caring about students

And what I’m saying is that what will make the difference will be building community among students, telling young women, young minority students and students in general, you can do this work. And most important, giving them a chance to build that community with faculty pulling them into the work and our assessing what works and what does not work. Most important, if a student has a sense of self, it is amazing how the dreams and the values can make all the difference in the world. 

Freeman Hrabowski is the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) which has pioneered programs to help minority students succeed in math and science.

College Fall Fly In Programs

Campus visits are very important when you are applying to college.  Many prestigious colleges fly high scoring, multicultural students to their campuses, free of charge.  Almost all of these fly in programs require an application with transcripts and recommendations. Contact the schools on this list for more information.


  • Amherst College  - Diversity Open Houses

  • Babson College – Multicultural Overnight Experience

  • Barnard College – Barnard Bound

  • Bates College – Prologue to Bates

  • Bowdoin College - Explore Bowdoin

  • Brandeis University - SEED Program

  • Bryant University – Fly-In Reimbursement Program

  • Bryn Mawr College – Travel Scholars

  • Bucknell University – Journey to Bucknell

  • Calvin College – Students of Color Visit Grant

  • Carleton College  - Taste of Carleton

  • Carnegie Mellon University – Celebration of Diversity Weekend

  • Colby College – The Colby Commitment Experience

  • Colgate University – Colgate in Focus

  • College of the Holy Cross- Perspectives Overnight Program

  • College of St. Benedict | St. John’s University Ntl. Fly In Weekend

  • College of the Atlantic – Fall Fly In

  • Colorado College - Tigers on a Quest & Flyin’ Tigers Weekend

  • Columbia University – Columbia Engineering Experience

  • Connecticut College - Explore Weekend

  • Dartmouth College – Dartmouth Bound STEM Program; Native Community

  • Davidson College – Multicultural Visitation Program (MVP)

  • Dickinson College – Discovery Diversity

  • Emory University – Cultural Overnight Recruitment Experience (CORE)

  • Franklin & Marshall College – Collegite Leadership Summit

  • George Washington University - “Your GW”

  • Grinnell College - Diversity Preview Program

  • Gustavus Adolphus - Fly-in Program

  • Hamilton College - Diversity Overnight Program

  • Harvey Mudd College – Future Achievers in Science & Technology (FAST)

  • Haverford College - Multicultural Scholars Experience

  • Hope College - Fly-In Weekend

  • Johns Hopkins University – Hopkins Overnight Multicultural Experience

  • Kalamazoo College - Multicultural Fly-In Program

  • Kenyon College - Cultural Connections Programs

  • Lafayette College - Our Beloved Community (OBC) Symposium

  • Lehigh University - Diversity Achievers Program

  • Lewis and Clark College - LEAD Program

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -  (WISE)

  • Miami University – Bridges Program

  • Middlebury College – Discover Middlebury

  • Norwich University

  • Oberlin College – Multicultural Visit Program (MVP)

  • Occidental College - Multicultural Visit Program

  • Pitzer College - The Diversity Program at Pitzer

  • Pomona College - Fall Diversity Weekend

  • Puget Sound - Fall Campus Day

  • Reed College - Reed Overnight Multicultural Experience (ROME)

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Science Technology Arts at Rensselaer

  • Rice University – Seeking Opportunities at Rice

  • Scripps College - Multicultural Outreach

  • Smith College - Women of Distinction Program

  • Swarthmore College - Discover Swarthmore

  • Trinity College - Preview Weekend

  • Tufts University - Voices of Tufts: The University Experience

  • Union College – Getting to Know Union Weekend

  • University of Chicago - Discover UChicago Overnight Program

  • University of Pennsylvania Penn Early Exploration Program (PEEP)

  • University of Pittsburgh - Create A Day, (invitation only)

  • University of St. Thomas - Fly-In Program

  • University of Rochester - Multicultural Visitation Program (MVP)

  • University of Vermont - Discovering UVM

  • Vassar College – Vassar View

  • Wellesley College – Getting to Know Wellesley

  • Wesleyan University - Fall Open House Programs

  • Whitman College - Visit Scholarship Program

  • Williams College - Windows on Williams

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute  - Discover WPI

  • Yale University - Multicultural Open House/Fly-in Program

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College fall fly in
Freeman Hrabowski
Free college at private colleges

Free College at Private Colleges and Universities

Colleges with large per student endowments, such as the Ivy League and similar schools, offer full or partial financial aid to families under a certain household income. These "tuition guarantees" are generally for families who have incomes below $200,000. The policies are all over the map, but I will list the schools that are the most well known.

Harvard For families with annual incomes below $65,000, the expected contribution is zero. Families with annual incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 will contribute between 0 and 10 percent of their income. Those with incomes above $150,000 will be asked to pay proportionately more than 10 percent based on their circumstances. Families who have significant assets will be asked to pay more, but home equity and retirement assets are not considered in our assessment of financial need.  Click the link and scroll all the way down the page for details.


Yale does not expect students to take out loans. Instead, Yale financial aid awards includes a Yale Scholarship, a parent contribution, and a small student contribution.
There is no income cutoff for financial aid awards. Some families with over $200,000 in annual income receive need-based aid from Yale. The chart below describes potential aid scenarios.





























Princeton The full need of every admitted student is met through grants. The following table provides the average grant awarded to students admitted to the Class of 2023.  Shown below are average grant figures for students whose families reside in the United States. Your grant may vary from the below averages based on the Financial Aid Office's evaluation of your individual family's resources, including assets other than the family home or retirement funds.






























Cornell guarantees that any family with a total income of less than $60,000, and total assets of less than $100,000 (including primary home equity), will have no parent contribution and no loans.  Loans may be necessary for some families. Cornell caps the amount of loans a student can have based on their family’s income. The mean debt at graduation among Cornell students who borrow is less than $24,000 – substantially lower than the mean debt of $32,600 for all private college graduates.


















We make every effort to help meet students’ financial needs. In our quest to make Columbia affordable for all students, especially those from low-income and middle-income families, the University implemented the following financial aid enhancements for all incoming and continuing students:

  • Columbia eliminated loans for all students receiving financial aid packages, whatever their family income, and replaced them with University grants.

  • In an effort to further assist low-income families, parents with calculated total incomes below $60,000 (and typical assets) are not expected to contribute any of their income or assets to tuition, room, board and mandatory fees.

  • Families with calculated incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 (and typical assets) have a significantly reduced parent contribution.

  • To support students pursuing study abroad, research, internships and community service opportunities, Columbia offers the opportunity to apply for additional funding and exemptions from academic year and summer work expectations.

These enhancements build on previous financial aid initiatives and a long standing commitment to make Columbia affordable for all admitted students as illustrated by the following facts:

  • Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first years who applied for financial aid, including foreign students, and we continue to meet your 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study.

  • Columbia has the highest proportion of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants in the Ivy League and among the nation’s most elite private research institutions.

  • About half of Columbia undergraduates receive some sort of financial assistance.



















University of Pennsylvania Aid across income levels: Students with family incomes less than $65,500 (and typical assets) receive financial aid packages that cover tuition, fees, room, and board. They are also eligible for additional benefits like laptop funding and summer opportunity funds. Students with family incomes between $65,500 and $140,000 (and typical assets) receive financial aid packages that cover at least tuition.

Students with family incomes greater than $140,000 who are eligible for aid receive average aid packages that are greater than half of tuition.

Dartmouth Families with Total Income below $125,000, who possess typical assets

The Dartmouth scholarship covers full tuition for students from families with total incomes of $125,000 or less who possess typical assets. The financial aid offer will not include loans. Student and/or parent loans are available to help offset the family contribution and additional expenses such as health insurance or a computer.

Families with Total Income above $125,000

We review each aid application carefully, considering each family's individual circumstances, and many families with higher incomes do qualify for scholarship assistance. Low-interest loans are included in the aid packages of students in this income category. Dartmouth students graduate with among the lowest levels of student loan debt in the country, on average.

Bowdoin Net Price by Income: Nearly half of Bowdoin’s current students need institutional grant aid to help them pay for college. Thanks to the generosity of Bowdoin alumni, parents, and friends, we are able to fully fund that need.

Net price is the amount a family actually pays—the difference between the total cost of education for one year (tuition, fees, room, board, books, personal expenses, and travel), minus all grants and scholarships. Generally, the parent contribution and student earnings expectation, including campus job, cover the family’s share.

If you know approximately what your family’s income is, use Bowdoin’s Net Price by Income table below to estimate your net price at Bowdoin.









Washington & Lee The W&L Promise guarantees a minimum grant of tuition to any undergraduate student admitted to W&L with a total family income below $125,000 and assets typical for their income. Furthermore, students may be eligible for additional grants to cover room, board, and other educational expenses. Transfer students are also eligible for the W&L Promise.

Davidson College The Davidson Trust meets 100 percent of calculated financial need of accepted students through a combination of grants and campus employment.


Rice University The Rice Investment greatly expands support for low- and middle-income families, eliminating tuition for many talented students. Degree-seeking undergraduate students whose families earn less than $65,000* will receive grants that fully cover tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board.  Students whose families earn between $65,000 and $130,000* will receive at least a full-tuition scholarship.  Students whose families earn between $130,000 and $200,000* will receive at least a half-tuition scholarship.  Students receiving these awards will not be required to borrow to fund their education.

*With typical assets


Berea College No-Tuition Promise: Berea is the only one of America’s top colleges that makes a no-tuition promise to every enrolled student.  No student pays for tuition. Our generous TUITION PROMISE SCHOLARSHIP makes it possible for you to graduate debt-free. Even if you borrow for special learning opportunities or to replace your family’s total contribution, you will have a low debt compared to national trends. We sometimes call Berea “the best education money can’t buy.”


Cooper Union The cost of tuition at The Cooper Union for the 2021 – 2022 academic year is $44,550. Each admitted student receives a half-tuition scholarship valued at $22,275 per year. Honoring Peter Cooper’s belief that education be accessible to all, our mission is to ensure that no student is deterred from attending The Cooper Union based on their financial circumstances.

We offer generous financial aid and scholarship support to all admitted undergraduate, full-time students—awarding students a half-tuition scholarship valued at $22,275. Students may also receive additional merit awards and financial aid based on eligibility. The Cooper Union is recognized as one of the most affordable colleges in the country, receiving top rankings in US News, Money Magazine, and The Princeton Review.


Free College at Public Schools


The Birmingham Promise makes a better future more affordable and accessible for all Birmingham City Schools students through scholarships to Alabama colleges and apprenticeship programs a local companies.  Birmingham Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that covers tuition and mandatory fees. Mandatory fees are defined as universal fees that all students, regardless of major or residential choice, are required to pay to attend school. Examples of mandatory fees are: student activity fees, enrollment fees, etc. Examples of non-mandatory fees are: books, housing, equipment fees, etc. The Birmingham Promise will NOT cover housing, meal plans, books, or other program-specific fees such as equipment for band, lab equipment, etc. Last-dollar means that Birmingham Promise funds are applied once you have exhausted all eligible public aid (i.e. Pell grants or ASAP). For example, if your tuition bill is $10,000 and you receive $2,000 in Pell grants, Birmingham Promise will provide $8,000 in support. If you do not receive any public aid, you are still eligible for the Birmingham Promise and we will cover the entirety of your tuition bill. Additionally, if you identify outside scholarships that can be used for things beyond tuition and fees, you do not have to exhaust those funds before Birmingham Promise support applies.


City College of San Francisco’s Free City Program provides tuition-free access to all California residents living in the city. Free tuition is available for City College students who have established California residency and live in San Francisco. Students apply for Free City by completing the one-page Free City Application which is included as a screen within the online registration process. After registering, we encourage you to complete either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a California Dream Act Application. FreeCity is now offered all year around.


The Los Angeles College Promise serves first-time, full-time college students with a comprehensive strategy designed to support students to complete a higher education degree and/or a workforce certificate. We help students "start right" on their way to "ending right" with a degree, university transfer or workforce certificate in a timely, efficient manner. It is a partnership between Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), City of Los Angeles, LA Chamber of Commerce, UNITE LA and private philanthropy.

Important aspects of the Promise are waived tuition for the first two years of college, priority enrollment, additional financial support, and a dedicated support team providing a wide array of academic and student support services.


The University of California Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan UC's Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will ensure that you will not have to pay UC’s systemwide tuition and fees out of your own pocket if you are a California resident whose total family income is less than $80,000 a year and you qualify for financial aid — and that's just for starters.  Blue and Gold students with sufficient financial need can qualify for even more grant aid to help reduce the cost of attending.  If you are eligible, your systemwide tuition and fees will be fully covered by scholarship or grant money. The plan combines all sources of scholarship and grant awards you receive (federal, state, UC and private) to go toward covering your tuition and fees.

Students with greater financial need can qualify for even more grant support to help pay other educational expenses (like books, housing, transportation, etc.).  You don't need to fill out a separate application to qualify for the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan. You will receive the benefits of the Blue and Gold plan automatically if you qualify.


California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the BOG Fee Waiver)
For eligible California residents, the California Community Colleges Promise Grant permits enrollment fees to be waived. (Assistance for the purchase of books and supplies must be applied for separately.)  Many California community colleges offer online California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the BOG Fee Waiver) applications through CCCApply.  When you use these financial aid online applications, the data you've entered in CCCApply will be transferred automatically, making your financial aid application much easier and faster.


New Haven Promise residency and enrollment. The award can be used for up to four years for any New Haven resident who graduates from a New Haven public school; who attends a Connecticut in-state public 2- or 4-year college or university; and who meets the following residency, civic behavior, and academic performance criteria:


Be a New Haven resident and attend New Haven Public Schools or approved public charter school in the City of New Haven;


Civic Behavior

  • Have a positive disciplinary record;

  • Complete 40 hours of community service;

  • Meet 90% attendance or better during high school (grades 9-12 no more than 72 absences);


Academic Performance

  • Receive a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or better upon graduation from New Haven public schools; and

  • Maintain a 2.0 GPA during the years s/he is enrolled in post-secondary education to college.


Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Bright Futures awards include: Florida Academic Scholars award (FAS), Florida Medallion Scholars award (FMS), Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars award (GSC) and the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars award (GSV).  Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) will receive 100% tuition and applicable fees, as well as $300 for summer and spring sessions, to cover additional training costs. Also, students attending a public institution will be entitled to tuition and fees. FAS students can receive an award during summer sessions to cover tuition and applicable fees, beginning in the summer semester. The Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) will receive a scholarship that covers 75% of the tuition fees and applicable fees. FMS students can receive an award during summer sessions to cover tuition and applicable fees, beginning in the summer semester of 2021.


Hope Scholarship, Georgia's unique scholarship and grant program that rewards students with financial assistance in degree, diploma, and certificate programs at eligible Georgia public and private colleges and universities, and public technical colleges. Students can benefit from HOPE in several ways. The HOPE Scholarship program is for students who have demonstrated academic achievement and are seeking a college degree. There are several ways to become eligible for the HOPE Scholarship, either by graduating from high school as a HOPE Scholar or by earning it while in college. The HOPE Grant program is for students seeking a technical certification or diploma, regardless of the student's high school grade point average or graduation date. For more information, please review the HOPE Grant regulations.


Zell Miller Scholarship program is for students who have demonstrated academic achievement and are seeking a college degree. Generally, to become eligible, a student must graduate from an eligible high school with a 3.70 GPA and a minimum score on the SAT/ACT.

The program is entirely merit-based, meaning that a person's eligibility for the scholarship is based on their academic achievement in high school or college.


Northern Illinois University Huskie Pledge Free tuition promise For State of Illinois residents, 2020 High School graduates with 3.0+ GPA’s and $75K or lower 2018 family income:

"Are you an Illinois high school senior graduating in May? Have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above?

You could pay no tuition costs or general fees your first year at NIU — and potentially beyond.

That’s our Huskie Pledge to you. See if you qualify for this exciting new grant program:

What are the eligibility requirements?

Be an Illinois resident.

Be a graduate of an Illinois high school during the 2019-20 school year.

Have a cumulative 3.0 high school GPA or higher.

Be a full-time (12 hours per semester) incoming freshman at NIU in the fall of 2020.

Apply for admission to NIU and file a FAFSA or the alternative Illinois RISE Act Application by the priority deadline of Feb. 1, 2020.

Have a parent who is an Illinois resident listed on your FAFSA or Illinois RISE Act Application.

Have a family adjusted gross income at or below $75,000. This information will be collected on the 2020-21 FAFSA or Illinois RISE Act Application, using the 2018 tax year.

Have family assets of $75,000 or less, as defined by the FAFSA. (Home equity and the value of retirement accounts are not considered.)

Meet all criteria as outlined by the State of Illinois AIM HIGH program.

How does the Huskie Pledge cover costs?

Determined after factoring in a qualifying student’s initial institutional, federal and state aid (including Pell Grants and Monetary Award Program grants), a Huskie Pledge Grant will meet the amount of any remaining 2020-2021 expenses for tuition and general fees.

If income, enrollment and university GPA criteria continue to be met, the same Huskie Pledge Grant amount received during the initial year of NIU enrollment will be renewable for up to four additional years, regardless of increases or decreases in other aid during subsequent years.

The program, supported by the state of Illinois, is open to freshmen starting at NIU in the fall of 2020. Funding is limited, and students should apply for admission to NIU and file a FAFSA or Illinois RISE Act application by the priority deadline of Feb. 1."


UIC’s Chancellor’s Fellows Program is part of a statewide effort to reduce the number of Illinois students leaving the state for college. To be eligible for the UIC program, first-time Illinois college students must Ranked 1st in graduating class OR have at least a 3.8 GPA and at least a 1450 on the SAT or a 33 on the ACT exams. Their family incomes cannot be more than six times the federal poverty rate. Students must complete a first-year application for admission to UIC by Dec. 1 and must apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the UIC school code (001776) by Dec. 1


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ILLINOIS COMMITMENT

Four years. Free Tuition.



Our commitment is to make the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign more affordable for its students.

How do you qualify?

You're an Illinois resident (parents listed on the FAFSA are also Illinois residents)


For 7th Grade Students in Indiana YOU MUST SIGN UP IN 7th GRADE: The 21st Century Scholarship provides students up to four years of undergraduate tuition* at any participating public college or university in Indiana. eligible students who maintain the Scholar Pledge to excellence in school and life receive a scholarship for up to four years of up to 100% tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university after they graduate from high school.

What does the 21st Century Scholarship cover? At in-state, public two-year and four-year colleges, the 21st Century Scholarship covers up to 100 percent of tuition and some regularly assessed fees, such as technology, student-activity and health-services fees. The scholarship pays part of the tuition at private or independent colleges and approved for-profit specialty or proprietary schools. A list of colleges that accept the 21st Century Scholarship is available at The scholarship does not cover the cost of books, room and board, parking fees, lab fees or any other fees that are not assessed to all students. Students are encouraged to search for scholarships to assist them in covering these additional costs.


TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) is a program of state scholarships for Louisiana residents who attend either one of the Louisiana Public Colleges and Universities, schools that are a part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Louisiana approved Proprietary and Cosmetology Schools or institutions that are a part of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.


City of Boston Tuition-Free Community College (TFCC) Plan

Up to three years of college for low-income eligible students pursuing an associate degree 

To enroll in TFCC, you must:

  • Be a Boston resident

  • Receive your high school credential (diploma, HiSET, or GED) within 18 months of starting the plan

  • Have a grade-point average of at least 2.0*

  • Require no more than three developmental courses by the start of the semester

  • Be eligible for a Pell Grant, per the FAFSA

  • Have low to moderate household income, per HUD guidelines


The University of Michigan Go Blue Guarantee is our commitment to keeping a world-class education affordable and accessible for all Michigan residents pursuing undergraduate study on all three U-M Campuses: Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint. Free tuition for up to four years for high-achieving, in-state, full-time undergraduate students with family incomes of $65,000 or under and assets below $50,000.


The MSU Spartan Advantage Program (SPAD) reduces the educational loan debt of our neediest Michigan students. Institutional funds supplement other non-loan forms of financial assistance a student receives so that the costs of tuition, fees, room, board, and books are covered.  Eligible students receive sufficient grants, scholarships, and work study funds to cover the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, and books. Actual charges for a particular student can vary. See our costs page for more information.

The MSU Spartan Advantage Program covers:

  • Costs for full-time tuition and fees during the fall and spring semesters.

  • Room and board based on the cost of a standard double occupancy residence hall room and silver meal plan.

  • Estimated cost of books and course materials. Students with documented needs for course materials in excess of this standard amount should contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional funds.

Note: Because Work-Study is part of your award and you will be paid every two weeks, you might want to consider a Short Term Loan to cover the purchase of books at the beginning of the semester. You can repay the loan out of your earnings.

Please note that the Spartan Advantage Program is intended to supplement grant funds that you receive from federal, state, MSU, or private sources, so this award will be reduced if you receive other grant funds after the initial award has been made.

New Jersey

Rutgers Future Scholars Program offers 200 first-generation, low-income, academically promising middle school students from New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, Camden and Rahway the opportunity for a college education and a full college scholarship.


Rutgers-Camden Bridging the Gap Program The Bridging the Gap program allows:


  1. Rutgers University–Camden Admissions Bridging the Gap: New Jersey families can dramatically reduce their college costs by up to 100 percent at Rutgers University–Camden. The first of its kind among New Jersey’s public four-year colleges and universities, this innovative program can help you greatly reduce or completely avoid student loan debt.  The program closes the gap between federal, state, and institutional sources of financial support and the balance of tuition and the general campus fee. Rutgers–Camden automatically applies the Bridging the Gap grant to these remaining costs after any other need-based federal, state, and/or institutional aid have been applied, based on family adjusted gross income (AGI):                                                                                $0 - 59,999: 100% of the difference                                                                                                                              $60,000 - 79,999: 75% of the difference                                                                                                                      $80,000 - 100,000: 50% of the difference                                                                                                                         The program is open to students who have never attended college and enroll as first-year undergraduate students on a full-time basis (at least 30 credits per academic year*) in degree programs on the Rutgers University–Camden campus. (*Please note that developmental courses that are successfully passed will be counted toward a student’s 30 earned credits per academic year requirement.)                                                                              Residents of the State of New Jersey who are also U.S. citizens (or legal permanent U.S. residents) are eligible.  This program is not transferrable to other Rutgers campuses or off-campus Rutgers programs.                        Rutgers University–Camden continues to offer merit scholarships and other financial aid for students not eligible for the Bridging the Gap program.

  2. Transfer students from Camden County College to complete a bachelor’s degree while lowering Rutgers–    Camden tuition in full or by half.

New York

New York State Excelsior Scholarship.

The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free. The program covers tuition for eligible SUNY and CUNY students. For the 2021-22 academic year, families who earned $125,000 or less in the tax year 2019 are eligible to apply.


The Ohio State University Young Scholars Program (YSP) YSP is an exceptional opportunity for academically talented, first-generation students with high financial need to advance their goal of pursuing higher education. Founded in 1988, YSP serves students from the nine largest urban public school districts in Ohio: Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lorain, Toledo, and Youngstown. Scholars must meet all program requirements including qualifying as low-income and being the first in their family to receive a bachelor's degree. Scholars must complete a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, with high academic achievement to be eligible for the scholarship. Scholars in good academic standing receive a robust financial aid package to The Ohio State University, consisting of federal and state grants, work-study, and the Young Scholars Award.


Tennessee HOPE Scholarship Awarded to entering freshmen who are enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution within sixteen (16) months after graduating from a TN eligible high school.  


  1. Four-Year Institutions and two-year institutions with on-campus housing:

Up to $1,750 per full-time enrollment semester as a freshmen and sophomore; then up to $2,250 per full-time enrollment semester as a junior and senior


   2. Two-Year Institutions:

Up to $1,500 per full-time enrollment semester as a freshman and sophomore

  • Award amounts are available for summer enrollment

  • Class status is determined by the postsecondary institution



  • A student's program of study, leading to an Associate or Baccalaureate degree program, can be awarded under the HOPE Scholarship program

  • Award amounts are available for summer enrollment

  • Class status is determined by the postsecondary institution

University of Tennessee Promise Scholarship An undergraduate scholarship program guaranteeing free tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying Tennessee residents attending UT’s campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Pulaski, Martin and Memphis. This innovative scholarship will cover a student’s last-dollar amount of tuition and mandatory fees after other financial aid is applied (such as Pell grants, HOPE Scholarship or other institutional scholarships) to students who qualify for HOPE and whose family household income is under $50,000 a year. UT Promise is a student-success oriented scholarship program that requires students to complete volunteer service hours and meet with a volunteer mentor each semester to ensure a successful student experience. Eligible students include graduating high school seniors, transfer students, nontraditional students, and current students who have never previously applied to UT Promise. Find out if you are eligible. Family household income is defined as “the accurate, verifiable total combined amount of parent and student adjusted gross income and untaxed income of less than $50,000, AND a total maximum asset amount of less than $75,000, as defined on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


Alamo Colleges: The Alamo Promise Tuition-Free College! Beginning October 1, 2021, eligible seniors from participating high schools can 'save their seat' for tuition-free college as an AlamoPROMISE Scholar. AlamoPROMISE covers tuition and required fees for current academic year graduates from participating high schools seeking an academic certificate or associate’s degree at one of the five Alamo Colleges: Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, San Antonio College, and St. Philip’s College.

As AlamoPROMISE Scholars, students meeting eligibility criteria receive a "last-dollar" scholarship for up to three years or the completion of an associate's degree or academic certificate, whichever comes first. The "last-dollar" scholarship funds the cost of tuition and required fees after financial aid awards are applied.


Dallas County Promise can help you succeed in college and careers you’re passionate about, and help you prepare to advance professionally in life. With tuition assistance, success coaching, and advising, our Promise is to support you in earning your credentials in the form of a career certification, associate or bachelor’s degree. Ready to take the first step? Take the Promise Pledge and begin exploring your tuition-free college opportunities as a Promise Scholar.


Harris County Promise is a partnership that covers the cost of tuition, fees, and assistance with books for up to three years at participating community colleges. All Promise Scholars also receive a dedicated success coach to help them navigate college life. Promise students who are Texas residents (have lived in Texas for at least 1 year) & meet application deadlines are guaranteed to have their tuition and fees covered at their Promise partner college. Options for ALL Texas resident seniors at participating high schools regardless of income or high school GPA, including DACA/DREAMers. Assistance with books and a college success coach to help students navigate college life. Promise Pledge must be complete by February 7 to remain eligible, but there may be better college and financial aid options outside of Promise – decide what is the best fit college option for you! Last Dollar Scholarship: The Promise Scholarship fills the gap between the cost of tuition & fees and the amount covered by grants & scholarships. Promise funds are not paid to students directly.


University of Houston Cougar Promise The Cougar Promise is the University of Houston's commitment to ensure a college education is accessible to students from low and middle-income families. Effective fall 2020, Cougar Promise will expand the income ranges for eligibility. The University of Houston guarantees tuition and mandatory fees will be covered by grant assistance and other sources for eligible students with family incomes at or below $65,000 and will provide tuition support for those with family incomes which fall between $65,001 and $125,000.

To be eligible for Cougar Promise, you must:

  • Be an entering first-time freshman for fall semester admitted by January 15

  • Qualify as a Texas resident which includes students eligible to pay in state tuition under SB1528

  • Be an independent student or a dependent member of a household whose Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) does not exceed $125,000

  • Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) and submit all financial aid forms with supporting documents by the State priority deadline of January 15

  • Have demonstrated financial need preventing you from covering the cost of tuition and fees per federal and/or state guidelines

  • Enroll as a full-time degree seeking student at the University of Houston

The University of Houston Cougar Promise covers both tuition and mandatory fees for eligible students and students from families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $65,000 or less. Independent or dependent students with an AGI from $65,001 to $125,000 may qualify for tuition support ranging from $500 to $2,000. Cougar Promise utilizes a combination of grants (i.e., Pell, TEXAS and institutional grants, etc.) and various other resources as determined by the FAFSA or TASFA.


University of Houston Downtown Gator Pledge
UHD pledges to cover tuition for new freshman with a family income of up to $50,000.

Eligibility Requirements

  • A first-time-in college entering freshman for the upcoming Fall 2021 term

  • A Texas resident

  • A high school graduate who has earned a recommended or distinguished diploma

  • A member of a family whose annual adjusted gross income does not exceed $50,000

  • Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant and must submit all financial aid forms with supporting documentation by May 15 or until funds are depleted

  • Enroll as a full-time student at UHD, maintaining at least 24 credit hours within a 12-month period


  • Provides tuition and fees to qualifying students for up to four years as long as the student continues to meet academic and financial aid eligibility criteria and maintain a 2.5 GPA

  • The Gator Pledge covers tuition and fees in the fall and spring semesters only. The awards are comprised primarily of Pell and TEXAS Grants with institutional funds added as needed to cover tuition and mandatory fees.

  • Eligibility is determined based on a student’s FAFSA information

Houston Community College Eagle Promise If qualifying students' federal and state grants and scholarships don’t cover the cost of an eligible degree or certificate at HCC, Eagle Promise scholarship dollars will. Through the HCC Eagle Promise Program, qualifying students' tuition, fees, and a book allowance of up to $500 are covered each semester! Eagle Promise students will also receive:

  • Support from financial coaches to help them complete their degree or certificate program debt-free.

  • Priority registration beginning the second semester of attendance.

  • Academic, career, and transfer counseling to help them reach their career and educational goals.

  • Access to activities, support services, and events to help them finish strong.


Lamar University Promise Ensures that sufficient grant and/or scholarship assistance will be provided to cover the full amount of fall and spring in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate Texas residents meeting certain eligibility criteria. 

Eligibility Requirements for Lamar Promise

  • Complete a FAFSA or TASFA (if applicable) and submit all Financial Aid documents by February 1st of each year

  • Be a degree-seeking, in-state, undergraduate student eligible for Texas in-state tuition  

  • Be a dependent student per Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Dependency Requirements

  • Have a Household Adjusted Gross Income (per IRS regulations) of no more than $25,000

  • Enroll as a full-time Lamar University student (12 or more semester credit hours)

  • Be within the program eligibility limit of four academic years (or three years, if a transfer student)

  • Be eligible for full federal Pell grant award. 

  • Be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress

New freshmen are eligible for the Lamar Promise program and may continue to have their tuition and fees covered with grant and/or scholarship funds for up to four years as long as they continue to meet eligibility requirements. Transfer students are eligible for up to three years of Lamar Promise eligibility. Students enrolled in the Accelerated Online Program are not eligible for participation due to the reduced cost.


Lone Star College Promise Scholarship and community service program provides two consecutive years (4 long semesters) of “last-dollar scholarship” for a college education at any Lone Star College campus.  The LSC-Promise Scholarship is funded by the Lone Star College Foundation contingent upon available funding. A “last dollar scholarship” is applied for students demonstrating a financial need after all other grants and scholarships have been exhausted (except the Texas Public Educational Grant). The LSC-Promise Scholarship is not a loan and does not have to be repaid. The LSC-Promise Scholarship covers any tuition and mandatory fees associated with courses in a student’s degree plan. The LSC-Promise Scholarship does not cover lab fees, textbooks, study abroad, or any courses not associated with a degree plan.  The scholarship will also not cover any class taken for the third time. Please refer to the Repeat Course Policy


New applications are only accepted during the fall semester for first-time applicants 

  • Be enrolled full-time (12+ credit hours) each fall and spring semester

  • Qualify for in-district tuition 

  • Enroll in an associate degree program

  • Not have earned previous degree in higher education

  • Meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirements

  • 2.0 GPA

  • 67% completion rate

  • Maximum hours:  Students may not receive financial assistance beyond the following:  150% of degree requirements (90 hours for an associate degree)

  • Be a graduate of an eligible public or private high school, home school program or GED program

  • Comply with United States Selected Service System requirements for registration (if applicable)

  • Not be in default on federal Title IV or Texas educational loan and not owe a refund on federal Title IV or a Texas student financial aid program

  • Applied and eligible for financial aid

Financial eligibility is determined by evaluation of the FAFSA.


Sam Houston State University Bearkat Promise The Bearkat Promise guarantees all participating students enough grant funds to cover the cost of mandatory* tuition and fees for 15 hours per semester.  

YES - Entering Freshman or Entering Transfer Students

YES - PELL Eligible

YES - Texas Resident

YES - Seeking a degree at SHSU

YES - Limited by financial need

Nov 1 - FAFSA received by deadline

12 Hours - Minimum enrollment per semester**

Fall/Spring - Semesters available

$40,000 - Maximum Family Income

2.5 - Minimum GPA Requirement for Transfer Students


Texas A&M University Aggie Assurance Program

Texas A&M University has provided tuition support since 2008, by pledging tuition coverage to low- and middle-income families through the Aggie Assurance commitment. For students whose family income is $60,000 or less, tuition will be covered by grants and/or scholarships.  Beginning in Fall 2021, we are expanding our Aggie Assurance commitment to provide tuition support grants for first-time freshmen and first-time transfer students whose family income is greater than $60,000 but no more than $130,000. The amount of the tuition support grants will vary based on income and financial need. Tuition grants will not cover all of tuition. The Aggie Assurance commitment promotes affordability and encourages Texans to pursue higher education at a flagship, research institution.


Texas State University offers the Bobcat Promise

Helping guarantee all Texas children have access to a higher education, regardless of their family's financial resources.

To increase access to higher education, Texas State University offers the Bobcat Promise. This program guarantees free tuition and mandatory fees for 15 credit hours per semester to new entering freshmen with a family adjusted gross income that does not exceed $50,000. The amount awarded under this program is equal to the tuition and fees reflected in the Texas resident cost of attendance, and any award or combination of awards cannot exceed one's demonstrated need.


Texas Tech Red Raider Guarantee In an effort to increase access to higher education, Texas Tech has implemented a plan to guarantee tuition and mandatory fees (based on 30 credit hours for the year) to new entering freshmen and transfer students with an associate's degree, who are Texas residents, have a family adjusted gross income that does not exceed $65,000, have demonstrated financial need, and who will be enrolled full time (12 hours or more each semester - Fall/Spring only). Eligible students must apply, be accepted for admission and have a complete financial aid file before the state priority deadline of January 15 to be considered for Red Raider Guarantee. Students may qualify for the program for up to eight (8) semesters of full-time enrollment for incoming freshmen, and up to four (4) semesters for transfer students with an associate's degree. Red Raider Guarantee ensures tuition and mandatory fees up to 30 credit hours per year, will be paid by a combination of federal, state, and institutional funds (state and institutional for TASFA students). Examples of funds include, but are not limited to: PELL Grant, SEOG, TEXAS Grant, Texas Public Education Grant, Texas Tech Grant, scholarships (external and/or internal) etc.



Expanding on UT Austin’s long-standing commitment to reducing student debt and making a UT Austin education possible for Texans from low- and middle-income families, the university ensures that Texas resident first-time-in-college and transfer students will receive guaranteed need-based aid through the Texas Advance Commitment. TUITION IS COVERED for families Up to $65,000 adjusted gross income. TUITION IS SUPPORTED FOR FAMILIES Up to $125,000 adjusted gross income.


The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Within Reach Program

Any student from Virginia whose family has an income or $40,000 or less who qualifies for admission to UVA Wise will have tuition and fees paid on their behalf. To qualify for the Within Reach initiative, you must:

  • Be accepted to UVA Wise as a regular, non-provisionally admitted student

  • Be a Virginia resident eligible to receive in-state tuition

  • Have a family income of less than $40,000 as determined via FAFSA and assets less than $75,000

  • Complete a Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it annually by February 15

  • Be attempting your first bachelor’s degree (no second degree, graduate students or certificate programs)

Washington State

Washington College Grant (WCG) is one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country. Recent high school graduates and working-age adults from many low- and middle-income families can qualify to receive money for college or career training. 

Who is eligible?

WCG is available to eligible Washington residents, including undocumented students. An eligible student from a family of four making around $56,000 or less per year would receive a full award. Partial grants are available for families making up to the state’s median family income, around $102,000 per year for a family of four. 

What does it cover?

The maximum WCG award amount will cover full tuition at any approved/eligible in-state public college or university, including community or technical colleges. At an approved private college or career training program, WCG provides a comparable amount toward tuition and other education-related costs. 

Apprentices in a participating program may be eligible to receive the Washington College Grant for Apprenticeship (WCG-A). WCG-A provides funding for apprenticeship expenses such as tuition, fees, and materials.

Amounts vary based on income, family size, and the school or program attended. Students and families can use the financial aid calculator to estimate their potential WCG award. Recipients must meet program requirements and attend an approved institution or program.

Learn more about WCG eligibility and awards.

How do people apply?

There is no separate application for WCG. Students should complete a state or federal financial aid application, which colleges will use to determine eligibility and make awards. Apprentices enrolled in a program at a community or technical college should also complete a financial aid application.

Apprentices in non-campus-based programs are encouraged to check with their program sponsor to ensure their participation in WCG for Apprenticeship


University of Wisconsin-Madison Bucky’s Tuition Promise Bucky’s Tuition Promise is a commitment to Wisconsin resident students. The program guarantees scholarships and grants to pay for tuition & segregated fees for students whose household adjusted gross income (AGI) is $60,000 or less. Incoming freshmen will receive eight (8) consecutive semesters (4 years) of free tuition & segregated fees and transfer students will receive four (4) semesters (2 years).


Check with your state: The North American Council on Adoptable Children in St. Paul, Minnesota, reports that Connecticut, Kentucky, Virginia, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania offer waivers at certain public schools for adopted and foster care children.

Free College at public schools
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