Freshman Get College Scholarships

SCWant to be absolutely sure you get a scholarship?

MONEY has identified 99 colleges that have generally made it a practice to give every single freshman a scholarship. They also have graduation rates that are at or above the median for their type (public or private), a key indicator of college quality.

Bear in mind that these schools are only a little more generous than most. A recent survey found that the average private college now awards scholarships to 89% of freshmen.

Of course, practices can change. A few colleges that used to offer lots of scholarships, such as Converse College in South Carolina, have tried lowering their tuition and reducing their aid budgets instead. That gives families less bragging rights but a clearer and earlier indication of how much they?ll actually have to pay.

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Schools that have used the high-sticker-price/many-scholarship strategy, such as College of the Atlantic, are also tweaking their aid policies in other ways. College of the Atlantic doesn?t guarantee every freshman a scholarship but promises a $1,800 (over four years) ?learning enhancement fund? for all incoming freshmen to use for a research project. In 2013, the last year for which federal data are available, about 95% of the college?s freshmen got scholarships averaging a little more than $31,000.

The reason most private colleges are continuing?and even ratcheting up?the practice of charging high sticker prices and awarding lots of scholarships is simple: It works.

Studies show that many students and parents are affected by a phenomenon sometimes called ?the Chivas Regal effect? and interpret high prices as an indicator of quality. And other research shows that about a third of students can be swayed to choose one college over another by scholarships.

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