Generous Colleges for Middle-Class Kids

It’s hard to give much thought to college with election day in sight. I’m heading to a phone bank in San Diego shortly, but I thought I’d write a quick blog.

I received an email the other day from a dad in St. Louis, who heard me give a talk about college while I was back there last week. The father was wondering about his son’s options.

The man’s son is incredibly bright. He earned a nearly perfect ACT score of 35 — and similar stellar SAT results. He is a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. His GPA is over 4.0 and he attends one of the premier high schools in the country (my dad’s alma mater) St. Louis University High School.

The father, however, confided that the family makes less than $50,000.

The family’s income though should definitely not be a deal breaker. In fact, I was happy to tell the father that his son should enjoy some great choices.

Here’s why: Many of the nation’s most selective schools are eager to reward brilliant kids from middle and lower-middle class families. It’s the elite schools with large endowments that are awarding bright students with need-based packages that contain absolutely no loans. What a deal!

These generous schools include Amherst, Swarthmore, University of Chicago, Pomona, Stanford and Brown and many more.

You can find a list of these no-loan schools at The Project On Student Debt.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of  The College Solution.

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  1. I’m a senior at the University of Chicago who receives absolutely incredibly financial aid. My family makes just over $50,000/year, and parents pay only $7,500 of the $55,000 it costs to attend uChicago. I am responsible for an additional $8,000 (books, rent, food, etc.), which I pay for with summer earnings, work-study, and an educational IRA. Additoinally, I’ll be fortunate enough to leave with only $15,000 of debt (Subsidized Stafford Loans).