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Does the endowment size directly correlate with generosity of financial assistance?

ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 68 replies11 threads Junior Member
I tried my best to find the answer on CC before I posted, apologies if I missed something.
To expand on my question, do you know of any outliers, one way or the other, i.e. rich schools that don't give much student help, or the opposite, not-so-rich schools spending generously on lowering the cost of attendance? In particular, I mean help for families in the infamous donut hole, too rich for most of the FA, too poor to afford $75k/year, let's say making just above $100k with one kid?
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Replies to: Does the endowment size directly correlate with generosity of financial assistance?

  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33611 replies4262 threads Super Moderator
    IMO they tend to be correlated. Any school being generous with FA would not be able to continue unless they had a good endowment. Generous FA also usually means more competitive admissions.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77215 replies3434 threads Senior Member
    Plus you need to check how colleges allocate their money. Some give merit aid. Some need based. And some both.

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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 68 replies11 threads Junior Member
    edited July 2019
    Thanks for your responses.
    I meant it as an invitation to sharing insights about specific schools, based on individual experience. I know my very low post count suggests a complete newbie but I've been lurking for a while so I know the general outlines.
    I was hoping to make it into a handy list along the lines: "despite what the endowment size would suggest, college X tends to give great/crappy FA."
    edited July 2019
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13231 replies247 threads Senior Member
    If you are looking for specific anecdotes, Earlham gives great FA despite a lower endowment. It's a priority.
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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 68 replies11 threads Junior Member
    edited July 2019
    @OHMomof2 That's exactly what I've been hoping for, thank you.
    And you have the greatest profile pix too!
    edited July 2019
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9239 replies93 threads Senior Member
    There is a pinned thread in the parent forum of schools that give generous merit aid:
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/52133-schools-known-for-good-merit-aid.html#latest

    For need based financial aid, your best best is to run the NPC for schools you are considering as that will vary greatly.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 81216 replies729 threads Senior Member
    OHMomof2 wrote:
    If you are looking for specific anecdotes, Earlham gives great FA despite a lower endowment. It's a priority.

    Earlham's NPC suggests that the minimum net price for a student from a low income family with maximum academic stats (but not from Indiana) is around $13k per year, which would mean needing to take the $5.5k direct loan and earn $7.5k from student work earnings, which is on the high side of student contribution expectations compared to "good financial aid" colleges.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13231 replies247 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Yes @ucbalumnus but the npc doesn't tell the whole story there, you'll just have to trust that I know firsthand people who got better offers than that, and you won't find them on their web site npc. But you will find this:
    Take time to use our Net Price Calculator to get a sense of how much aid you could be awarded, but understand that the final award is thoughtfully considered for each student individually.

    and this:
    Income: $0 - $50,000
    Aid range: $38,000 - $59,300
    COA: $58,265

    Like similar colleges, they give better aid to students they want more. And they do it based on FAFSA alone, which as you know means it may be an especially good option for lower income kids with uncooperative NCPs.
    which is on the high side of student contribution expectations compared to "good financial aid" colleges.

    The question was not about "good financial aid" colleges. It was about lower endowment colleges that give good aid given their lower endowment. Earlham has a per-student endowment of 350k and "good financial aid" schools like Amherst have over a million per student. The fact that Earlham is in the ballpark or as you say "on the high side" means it likely meets the criteria asked for in the OP.

    Feel free to add some schools with lower endowments that do better.
    edited July 2019
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 81216 replies729 threads Senior Member
    OHMomof2 wrote:
    but the npc doesn't tell the whole story there, you'll just have to trust that I know firsthand people who got better offers than that, and you won't find them on their web site npc.

    Like similar colleges, they give better aid to students they want more.

    In other words, competitive merit scholarships that are not necessarily labeled as such (sometimes called "preferential packaging").
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13231 replies247 threads Senior Member
    ^ Maybe. Or maybe they look at individual financial circumstances to come up with better packages, which is what they say they do on the web site. You see the possible range of FA for the lowest income group is greater than COA (tuition/rb/fees) to include possible help with travel or books.

    Not sure what the point of this tangent was.
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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 68 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Is there any chance we could return to the posted topic, please?
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  • TheodenTheoden 251 replies7 threads Junior Member
    High endowment per student helps - but it's not an exact correlation. Some schools choose to spend it on facilities rather than financial aid.

    Two outliers, by personal experience, Knox College and Allegheny College. Very generous aid (Merit aid and need based), with rather modest endowments.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 81216 replies729 threads Senior Member
    Some colleges in financial trouble discount heavily (more merit or need based aid) just to fill their classes (even a heavily discounted student brings more revenue than an empty seat).
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3566 replies176 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Here is a list of 30 of the most generous private colleges and universities in the country. Every year, they collectively transfer more inter-generational wealth than some countries. Their endowments per student vary from $2.8 million per student at Princeton to Wesleyan at 1/10th that amount:
    http://web.mit.edu/cofhe/
    edited July 2019
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  • brantlybrantly 4131 replies73 threads Senior Member
    @ArtsyKidDad This is a very inefficient way to help predict financial aid. As @ucbalumnus said above, colleges in financial trouble offer big discounts. Drew University is a recent example.
    The best way is to run the relevant NPC for each college.
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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 68 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @brantly I don't think it's either/or. I believe CC is an impressive depository of knowledge, with all the usual caveats (YMMV, etc.)
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  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 183 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Based on a few quick google searches and my general impressions from reading CC threads:
    - NYU has a $4 billion endowment and is famous for being stingy.
    - USC has a $5.5 billion endowment, but I haven't heard of them being very generous.
    - WashU STL has a $7.5 billion endowment and they have the wealthiest student body in the country, so clearly they're not giving out that much money (although some will claim otherwise).
    - The UCs and Pitt are two public schools known for poor merit aid out-of-state, but they both have multi-billion dollar endowments. However, since they're public schools, their endowments are harder to determine (since their budgets depend on the state's budget, and the money is distributed through the entire system), and also less useful as a benchmark (since there's more students to distribute the money to).
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 158 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @SuperSenior19 Per-student endowments are more important than absolute numbers. NYU has a $4 billion endowment overall, but on a per student basis it’s only about $82,000 per student. The same logic applies to schools like USC ($120,000 per student). WUSTL definitely has a higher per-student endowment at around $505,000, so I’m not sure why it’s still need-aware and has such a wealthy student body (as you pointed out).
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  • collegemom9collegemom9 823 replies30 threads Member
    Emory with almost $8 billion is need blind and has $472,000 per student. They are extremely generous, meeting 100% of need and have a large number of pell grant students.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35301 replies399 threads Senior Member
    This is inefficient. You're relying on anecdote. Grinnell has more than double Emory's per student and was the lowest offer my friend's kid got.

    Anecdotes rely on your own personal details.
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