10 great colleges that don’t require you to take student loans

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10 great colleges that don’t require you to take student loans
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With so much student loan debt out there, it may seem hard to believe that not every college and university is just after your money. But in fact, more and more schools are offering ways for students to reduce the price of tuition without increasing the burden of debt when comes time to graduate.

According to a recent report from Kiplinger, more schools across the U.S. have started to adopt ‘no-loan’ policies — using scholarships and grants to replace traditional financial aid packages, which can often still include large amounts of student loans. The qualifications for no-loan packages vary by school, and while some have cut out loans for all students who are eligible for financial aid, not all schools with no-loan policies have eliminated student loans completely.

Read more: 9 ways to pay for college without student loans

Kiplinger has put together a list of 10 great colleges and universities that not only earned ‘top marks’ in the 2016 rankings of schools offering the best value, but these institutions also exclude loans from all financial aid packages, regardless of family income. And if students do borrow on their own, the average amount is typically a lot less than the national average.

10 great colleges that won’t make you take massive student loans

Princeton University

Location: Princeton, N.J.
Total annual cost: $58,660

Avg. need-based aid: $42,097

Total net cost: $16,563

​Kiplinger’s combined rank: #2

Students with loans: 17%

According to Kiplinger, Princeton was the first school to implement a no-loan financial aid policy — ‘awarding all accepted students 100% of their demonstrated financial need in the form of scholarships and grants.’ And while one in five students at Princeton do borrow for school, the average amount of debt at graduation is the second-lowest of all 300 schools included in Kiplinger’s rankings.

Read more: 20 financial terms all college students and parents should know

Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, Mass.
Total annual cost: $61,659

Avg. need-based aid: $44,430

Total net cost: $17,229

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #3

Students with loans: 26%

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According to Kiplinger, Harvard meets 100% of students’ demonstrated financial need and awards need-based aid to 60% of students. 

Davidson College

Location: Davidson, N.C.
Total annual cost: $61,119

Avg. need-based aid: $37,170

Total net cost: $23,949

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #4

Students with loans: 29%

According to Kiplinger, Davidson meets 100% of each student’s ‘demonstrated financial need through scholarships, grants and campus jobs.’ 

Read more: Student loan repayment scams: How to avoid getting ripped off

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Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, Pa.
Total annual cost: $62,690

Avg. need-based aid: $40,314

Total net cost: $22,376

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #5

Students with loans: 33%

While Swarthmore is a small liberal arts college, its no-loan financial aid program reduces the cost for qualifying students to about one-third of the typical price on average.

Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Total annual cost: $61,470

Avg. need-based aid: $39,953

Total net cost: $21,517

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #6

Students with loans: 24%

Nearly 50% of Vanderbilt students qualify for need-based aid, and with the average amount reaching nearly $40,000, these students end up paying about 65% less than the typical cost. The school also offers aid to about 20% of students who don’t qualify for need-based financial aid. 

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Pamona College

Location: Claremont, Calif.
Total annual cost: $63,670

Avg. need-based aid: $41,443

Total net cost: $22,227

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #8

Students with loans: 34%

Read more: New ways to pay down student loan debt

Yale University

Location: New Haven, Conn.
Total annual cost: $63,250

Avg. need-based aid: $45,710

Total net cost: $17,540

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #9

Students with loans: 16%

Yale provides 100% of financial aid for students who qualify, and that’s without including loans in financial aid packages. Plus, families with an annual income of $200,000 or more may still qualify for financial help. 

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Amherst College

Location: Amherst, Mass.
Total annual cost: $64,772

Avg. need-based aid: $47,243

Total net cost: $17,529

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #20

Students with loans: 31%

Last year, Amherst awarded financial aid to about 60% of its students — with an average need-based amount of more than $47,000, which reduced the typical cost of attendance by nearly 75%. 

Stanford University

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Location: Stanford, Calif.
Total annual cost: $61,852

Avg. need-based aid: $41,620

Total net cost: $20,232

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #21

Students with loans: 23%

Stanford meets 100% of each student’s demonstrated financial need without including loans in financial aid packages. The average need-based aid award of more than $41,000 reduces the cost to the student by 67%.

Bowdoin College

Location: Brunswick, Maine
Total annual cost: $62,190

Avg. need-based aid: $38,978

Total net cost: $23,212

Kiplinger’s combined rank: #28

Students with loans: 32%

For more on each school’s no-loan financial aid program, check out Kiplinger’s full report here.

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