Schools With The Best Financial Aid Packages That Aren't Stanford

Schools With The Best Financial Aid Packages That Aren't Stanford

With college tuition increasing every year, the demand for scholarships, financial aid, and student loans is higher than ever. However, what so many students don’t know is that schools with the highest tuition can often be the most affordable. Take Stanford for instance; the school is famous for having an amazing financial aid package, but with an acceptance rate lower than 5%, we can’t all go there. No fear! We found some schools, including Stanford, for whom pricy can mean affordable. Here are our top picks.

1. Princeton will fully fund all of the costs to attend (tuition, fees, room and board) for families with an annual income under $65,000. On average, Princeton reports awarding over $53,000 to members of their Class of 2022, leaving a cost of $13,600 for families. Each of the other Ivy League schools - Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, and Yale - offer similar aid packages based upon families’ demonstrated needs.

2. MIT also uses “need-blind” admissions, meaning they don’t consider your family income during their admissions process. This is important for college-bound students to understand; never shy from applying to a school because of tuition! Even though MIT costs over $70,000 per year, 72% of its students graduate debt-free, and families earning under $90,000 a year pay absolutely nothing.

3. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Opportunity Vanderbilt is the university’s commitment to providing no-loan financial aid with no financial cutoffs or thresholds. Students with financial need are provided grants and scholarships to cover their cost of attendance through Vanderbilt’s extensive fundraising and donor support.

4. Franklin & Marshall is a small, historic college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Called a model “that more colleges need to follow” by PBS’ TheNewsHour, F&M’s student recruitment strategy has diversified the student body across race and social class by awarding $56 million in financial aid each year. Some of that could help you!

5. Part of the Claremont Colleges Consortium, Pomona College serves around 1700 students just outside of Los Angeles. Like other need-blind schools, the vast majority of Pomona’s students receive grants and scholarships to attend. Student loans are not a part of Pomona’s aid package, but are an option to help cover immediate financial needs. The average cost of attending Pomona after aid is only $15,000.

6. University of Virginia provides need-based aid to eligible students and several merit-based opportunities for others seeking to apply. Merit awards are based on a student’s success or experiences - not on financial need or income level. Students are encouraged to apply for both need-based and merit awards, if applicable. At UVA and most other schools, completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the first step for determining need-based assistance.

7. Students at Bowdoin in Maine can “just focus on being a student.” Bowdoin provides grants up to the full cost of attendance, and also bundles student employment grants into their packages. When students work in research labs or offices on campus, they are able to build their resumes, manage their time, and learn how to be a team leader, all while earning additional money for school.

8. Last but certainly not least is Stanford. If any of the 1700 new students on campus each year have an annual family income of $125,000 or less, they get a free ride. Families earning $65,000 or less a year also have their room and board covered. For other students with not as much need, Stanford bundles federal and institutional awards to reduce debt, often making Stanford more affordable than colleges with lower tuition costs.

These schools are just some of the many that are working aggressively to make college less of a financial burden. Note that at many universities, financial aid programs apply only to U.S. citizens. Other schools have made strides to support undocumented students, and some have also extended their financial aid benefits to international students. However, be sure to read through everything closely when you do your research.  

These schools are also difficult to get into – and the competition gets tougher every year. Your best shot being accepted to a highly selective, need-blind college is to stand out. Do well in high school, join organizations and leadership activities that you enjoy, and work hard.

If you’re looking for other ways to pay for your education, scholarships are your best bet. It’s free money and we’ve already found them for you on Scholly.

Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

The college application process is stressful. From deciding on your dream school, prepping for the SAT or ACT, to finishing all those applications, the task can feel near impossible. It's not - and neither is writing a college essay that works. To help our college-bound high school seniors, let's debunk some myths surrounding writing a persuasive college essay.

Myth #1: "I have to write the greatest essay in the world."

Every student wants to stand out, but you don't have to write the Iliad or the Odyssey to do so. The college essay is your opportunity to showcase your achievements and contributions. However, what most people don't realize is that they overindulge and exaggerate when talking about themselves. Admissions offices can read right through self-praise - what they are looking for is authenticity. Emphasize achievements or lessons you have learned that highlight your best traits. Tell a story about your experiences. What have they taught you? The truth sounds a lot better than you think.

Myth #2: "I'm not creative."

You don't have to be creative to write a successful college essay; but you have to be personable. Don't regurgitate the same answers for every application. Admissions offices can tell when an application has been recycled. Add your own flair to each essay. Whether that be in your tone, content, or writing style, be sure to do something unique with each essay so that your reader remembers it.

Myth #3: "I should limit my number of applications because college applications are expensive."

You're right, applying to college gets expensive - but just like scholarships, there is money out there for applying to college too! If applying to college is out of your budget, contact the admissions office of the school you're applying to. They can give you forms to apply for a fee waiver. The process may seem cumbersome, but a free application will be worth it.

Myth #4: "I can wait until tomorrow."

Just do it now. Are you one of those people who writes something ingenious at the last minute? Your brain actually works better when you exercise it. That exercise will make your ingenuity a habit instead of something that saves you when you're under pressure. Your college essay does not have to be perfect the first time. Prioritize consistency over the grandiose last-minute essays and the result will be a well-written and concise articulation of why your dream school needs you.

Myth #5: "I have to know what I want to study."

No, you really don't. If you know what you want to study, good for you! However, having your mind made up about your future has no sway on your ability to write a persuasive college essay. A large part of college is figuring out what you want to do - that's why you're going. So when you write, talk about your interests and passions to showcase your potential. Try adding how you think the school will help you hone these interests. That way, your application will be unique and tailored to the school.

See? Writing college essays isn't as intimidating as it may seem. Keep these myth busters in mind the next time you're stressed about the college application process and you'll be good to go. Remember to always run your essays through a proofreading service like Scholly Editor for the finishing touches!

Need help paying for college after you get in? Get matched to scholarships instantly when you build a profile on Scholly.

How to Apply to Scholarships

How to Apply to Scholarships

We know applying to scholarships can be daunting. There are so many to choose from and knowing how and when to start can be tricky. Strong applications require work, but the win is worth it. At Scholly, we are always looking to help our users win as many scholarships as possible. Here is our formula for success:


The early bird gets the worm with scholarships. If you're looking for scholarships for any school year, start your search the summer before that school year. Fall is a popular time for scholarships looking to sponsor students, especially prospective college students. No matter your grade, you'll want to get organized over the summer to be ready for applications opening from mid-August throughout the semester.


Scholarships are available all year round and we add scholarships to our database daily. Make sure you're checking Scholly regularly so you don't miss free money opportunities. Our platform supports high school, college, and graduate students so you can use Scholly throughout your academic career. We also have in-app tools to help you organize your applications. Make an application timetable to help you knock out your applications consistently and on time.


Scholarship panels are made up of people and people are subjective. Research the organization sponsoring the scholarship before applying. If it's a non-profit, what's their mission? If it's a company, what's their culture? Look into the organization's work to see which values they champion. Can you highlight experiences or awards that speak to these values? Understanding judges will guide how you communicate with them and gives you an edge over applicants who haven't done research.


Now you know who you're trying to win over, you can tailor your application to them. Speak to the characteristics the program is looking for in an application. If the essay topic is open-ended, choose one that tells your fullest story. An important thing to remember is that we are all humans who share similar wants and insecurities. Tell a relatable story. You want the person reading your application to think, "I feel that" or "I've been there before". Run your essays through Scholly Editor to refine your writing.


You won't win every scholarship you apply to. While this is frustrating, it does not mean you should give up. A scholarship, i.e. free money, is always a better option than a loan. Even if you have a great financial aid package, scholarships can provide spending money. If you don't win a scholarship, ask for feedback so you can keep improving your applications. For every scholarship you don’t win, there is another one out there waiting for you to claim it.

Eager to get started? Find and apply for scholarships now!

How to Get More Scholarship Matches on Scholly

How to Get More Scholarship Matches on Scholly

Student life moves fast. You're getting that degree, exploring your interests, joining new organizations, working part-time, volunteering, and crossing things off of your bucket list. But while you're maintaining your busy schedule, you may be leaving money on the table - literally.

If you don't take a moment to update your Scholly profile, there will be scholarship matches out there that won't find you. For example, tutoring kids at a community center isn't just a great way to make a difference, but can also get you more scholarship matches from programs looking to sponsor students involved in their communities. Just think: what has changed in my life recently? Maybe your GPA has improved, or you joined a new club, or even changed your major!

At Scholly we are constantly adding scholarships to our database to bring our users the best opportunities out there. We've added 160 scholarships in September and the month isn't even over! Try to make monthly updates to your profile, especially if your activities are shifting. Keep adding your latest accolades, skills, and interests. No matter what happens in your life, personal or school related, programs want to know.

We've just hit fall and scholarship programs are hunting for their next generation of awardees. Do yourself a favor and go back and tick all the boxes that tell your fullest story. The result could be thousands of dollars saved on your education.

Meet the New Scholly Editor

Meet the New Scholly Editor

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Your New Favorite Back to School Tool

You’re not the only one with a fresh look this back-to-school season. If you haven’t peeped Scholly Editor lately you’ll definitely want to. We’ve redesigned our online proofreader to make editing your writing style and grammar even easier. Whether you’re working on a scholarship essay, polishing a homework assignment, or double-checking an important email, Editor is for you.


How To Use Editor:

Step One: Upload Your Written Work  

If you write anything, you should run it through Scholly Editor for the final touches. You can either type directly in Editor or upload/copy and paste your writing to get started.






Step Two: Get to Editing

After your document is in Editor, you’ll see suggestions on how to improve your writing in the left-hand corner. They will be organized into two categories: grammar and style. Grammar suggestions will be in yellow and highlight errors like spelling and punctuation mistakes. Style edits will be in purple focus on sentence construction and flow.

Work through these corrections as you see fit. The goal is to take your writing to the next level without losing your authenticity.



Step Three: Ace it

Sweet success! Your work is polished. Download your revised document and continue on your path to success. Sound like something you could use? Of course, it is – Scholly Editor is for everyone. Get started on your first assignment and ease your way to an A with Editor.

We're Hiring: Director of Strategic Partnerships

We're Hiring: Director of Strategic Partnerships

Scholly is looking for a Director of Strategic Partnerships to join our team!

Company Description

At Scholly, we are dedicated to developing game-changing technology platforms for students, parents and institutions that help every individual access and afford the higher education opportunity they want. Scholly is an easy way to find scholarships for high school seniors, current undergraduates, and graduate students. Designed to ease the scholarship search process, Scholly’s adaptive matching engine promises to deliver smarter, targeted lists of scholarships. Scholly seeks to fix the current outdated process that requires students to fill out long, tiresome forms and then fail to deliver relevant results. All this in the form factor of mobile applications.

Why Us?

At Scholly, we believe in making higher education accessible to any student who desires it. One of the biggest barriers for students entering college is the ever rising cost of attending both private and public institutions. We work hard and fast to imagine and create solutions that help students find ways to lower the barriers to higher education. We’re a small but growing team located in Los Angeles. Working at Scholly, you would be responsible for a wide range of projects and would see big changes created by you released on a regular basis. We adapt quickly, creating a constant stream of new ideas and opportunities to help make a difference in students’ lives. Join us and see how you can make a difference in communities across the country by helping more people get the education they deserve!

Job Description

We are looking for a highly motivated, self-starter with an engaging personality who wants the individual responsibility to create and own business relationships with leadership qualities to build a team.  The ideal candidate will have a strong ability to think strategically and analytically about business and product opportunities, demonstrate a record of executing high-value partnerships, and experience managing a team of high performing individuals.  

What You’ll Achieve:

  • Envision new partnerships and business opportunities that positively impact our core business, enhancing the outcomes of internal business partners 
  • Evaluate and prioritize partnership opportunities, performing quantitative and qualitative due diligence 
  • Build strategic relationships with key external stakeholders and represent their needs internally, building a bridge between Scholly and our partners 
  • Collaborate with cross-functional partners in operations, product, marketing, and PR to launch and manage our key partnerships 
  • Focus on the growth and development of the Business Development team, with a focus on managing by example


  • Minimum 5 of years of experience in business development and sales at a tech company
  • BA/BS/Masters in Economics, Business, Engineering, or other quantitative focus 
  • Minimum 3 years in management position 
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Please email if interested.

Introducing Scholly Editor

Scholly Editor identifies misspellings and grammatical errors in seconds. Master essential writing elements, word usage, and structure.

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