The average student loan borrower graduates with over $27,000 in debt. This number doesn’t even include interest that could be charged depending on the lifetime of the repayment process.

Not everyone is capable of paying for college outright, and if you are one of the many in the country that cannot; then you may want to look into grants and scholarships as a means for financial relief. These are always better options than taking out federal student loans and private student loans. 

At the Student Loans Report, we strive to help students make smart financial decisions, as well as educate them on the student loan crisis.

In this report, we analyzed the most affordable public colleges and universities for incoming freshmen with financial need. The data used in this report was pulled from licensed material from Peterson’s. The data reviewed helped us determine which of these schools offered the most need-based scholarships and grants to incoming freshmen.

We analyzed over 1,000 public colleges and universities and narrowed the report down to the top 250. The ranking was determined by multiplying the percent of freshmen with financial need by the average amount given to needy freshmen. This gave us an adjusted ranking for the college's overall ability to provide aid to needy freshmen.

We hope that the following results help students make the best financial decision when looking for the right college for them to attend. The table key can be found at the bottom of the page.

The Top 250 Most Affordable Colleges for Incoming Freshman with Financial Need

RankSchoolNeedy Freshmen Receiving AidAverage Aid to Needy Freshmen
1University of California, Merced98%$22,896
2University of California, Berkeley97%$20,864
3University of California, Riverside97%$20,872
4University of California, Santa Barbara94%$21,491
5University of California, Los Angeles97%$20,537
6University of California, Santa Cruz93%$20,791
7University of California, Davis96%$20,111
8University of California, Irvine93%$19,675
9University of California, San Diego91%$18,362
10University of Vermont99%$16,660
11University of Virginia85%$19,470
12The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill93%$16,972
13Virginia Military Institute91%$15,054
14University of Washington, Tacoma87%$15,000
15University of Washington, Bothell87%$15,000
16University of Illinois, Springfield98%$13,210
17University of Michigan83%$15,006
18University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign83%$14,644
19The College of William and Mary83%$14,761
20Arizona State University, Tempe Campus99%$12,181
21Arizona State University, Downtown Phoenix Campus97%$12,190
22University of Illinois, Chicago84%$13,834
23Texas A&M University, Texarkana100%$11,547
24The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina79%$14,525
25New Jersey Institute of Technology88%$12,902
26University of Washington74%$15,000
27Texas A&M University94%$11,610
28Louisiana State University95%$11,285
29University of Minnesota, Morris97%$10,921
30Arizona State University, West campus96%$10,926
31The University of Tennessee95%$11,049
32Rutgers University, Newark86%$12,235
33Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus97%$10,771
34The University of Alabama79%$13,123
35Washington State University87%$11,772
36Texas A&M University, Commerce93%$10,903
37The University of Texas, Dallas91%$11,085
38University of Missouri, St. Louis90%$11,204
39The Ohio State University90%$11,071
40University of Georgia98%$10,210
41Rutgers University, Camden87%$11,513
42University of Maine94%$10,561
43Clemson University92%$10,776
44University of Hawaii, Manoa96%$10,249
45Arkansas State University98%$10,000
46State University of New York College, Potsdam91%$10,710
47The University of Alabama, Huntsville92%$10,630
48University of Wisconsin, Madison94%$10,259
49University of Maine, Machias99%$9,752
50Missouri University of Science and Technology96%$9,955
51University of Massachusetts, Amherst91%$10,480
52Winthrop University98%$9,676
53The University of Toledo98%$9,708
54Kentucky State University95%$9,987
55University of Massachusetts, Boston96%$9,908
56North Carolina State University93%$10,186
57University of Maryland, College Park85%$11,040
58Louisiana Tech University97%$9,701
59University of Minnesota, Crookston95%$9,760
60University of Louisville97%$9,568
61The University of Arizona91%$10,134
62University of Delaware91%$10,072
63Indiana University Bloomington77%$11,891
64California State University, East Bay96%$9,540
65St. Mary's College of Maryland89%$10,337
66University of Pittsburgh, Bradford94%$9,669
67University of Massachusetts Lowell92%$9,862
68California State University, Los Angeles93%$9,713
69Fayetteville State University99%$9,137
70Northern Illinois University99%$9,083
71New College of Florida91%$9,832
72California State University, Northridge82%$10,904
73Francis Marion University99%$8,998
74The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley97%$9,191
75California State University, Fresno89%$9,971
76Massachusetts College of Art and Design98%$9,005
77University of Missouri83%$10,575
78California State University, Stanislaus89%$9,865
79Johnson State College95%$9,236
80University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus84%$10,320
81University of Houston90%$9,671
82Humboldt State University93%$9,356
83Rutgers University, New Brunswick69%$12,575
84Miami University84%$10,287
85Purdue University62%$13,865
86University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth92%$9,351
87University of Rhode Island83%$10,254
88Lehman College, CUNY81%$10,476
89Purchase College, SUNY98%$8,586
90New York City College of Technology, CUNY96%$8,730
91University of Montevallo92%$9,087
92University of Virginia's College, Wise94%$8,889
93Central Washington University94%$8,869
94California State University, San Bernardino96%$8,696
95University of Texas, El Paso84%$9,914
96California State University, Sacramento97%$8,522
97Chicago State University96%$8,681
98San Francisco State University90%$9,203
99Stony Brook University, SUNY89%$9,316
100University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma93%$8,818
101Iowa State University of Science and Technology98%$8,389
102University of Maine, Farmington96%$8,538
103Prairie View A&M University87%$9,369
104Elizabeth City State University73%$11,099
105Western Washington University87%$9,297
106Truman State University99%$8,180
107University of Maine, Presque Isle99%$8,150
108Michigan Technological University85%$9,417
109Polytechnic Institute, SUNY97%$8,242
110California State University, Chico76%$10,486
111Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University95%$8,415
112New Jersey City University84%$9,400
113University of South Florida87%$9,022
114Sam Houston State University87%$9,054
115University of Nebraska, Kearney96%$8,200
116California State University, Monterey Bay74%$10,558
117University of Tennessee, Chattanooga96%$8,140
118College of Staten Island, CUNY95%$8,207
119Nicholls State University95%$8,207
120University of Missouri, Kansas City92%$8,510
121University of Colorado, Boulder76%$10,283
122Indiana University, Purdue83%$9,403
123Plattsburgh, SUNY90%$8,660
124Florida State University94%$8,203
125State University of New York, Oswego95%$8,121
126California State Polytechnic University, Pomona74%$10,358
127Texas Woman's University91%$8,460
128Massachusetts Maritime Academy82%$9,304
129Northwestern State University, Louisiana94%$8,160
130Adams State University97%$7,876
131Michigan State University71%$10,723
132College at Old Westbury, SUNY90%$8,456
133University of Houston, Downtown85%$8,903
134Midwestern State University90%$8,369
135University of Mississippi88%$8,532
136The Evergreen State College85%$8,832
137University of New York91%$8,224
138Texas A&M International University97%$7,682
139York College, CUNY91%$8,188
140Buffalo State College, SUNY85%$8,682
141University at Albany, SUNY84%$8,770
142University of Louisiana, Lafayette96%$7,695
143University of Pittsburgh80%$9,239
144Western Illinois University74%$9,935
145University of Minnesota, Duluth89%$8,276
146Coppin State University98%$7,446
147Lincoln University100%$7,337
148College of Technology, Canton90%$8,060
149Binghamton University80%$9,032
150University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg86%$8,355
151Lake Superior State University81%$8,938
152Northeastern State University94%$7,507
153Central Michigan University88%$8,017
154Auburn University81%$8,635
155Hunter College, CUNY89%$7,921
156University of Utah88%$7,988
157University of North Texas64%$10,846
158College of Technology, Delhi87%$8,026
159Sonoma State University68%$10,184
160North Carolina Central University85%$8,138
161The University of Texas, San Antonio86%$8,071
162Texas State University81%$8,478
163Tarleton State University94%$7,284
164The University of Texas, Austin75%$9,229
165Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University90%$7,619
166Texas Tech University83%$8,247
167Western State Colorado University92%$7,409
168Georgia Institute of Technology86%$7,953
169University of North Carolina, School of the Arts84%$8,100
170University of Southern Maine94%$7,212
171Illinois State University69%$9,873
172University of Connecticut68%$9,827
173University of Houston, Victoria94%$7,103
174The University of Iowa77%$8,695
175Stockton University69%$9,681
176Western Oregon University88%$7,589
177Stephen F. Austin State University73%$9,101
178Clayton State University92%$7,206
179Northwest Missouri State University89%$7,444
180Colorado State University, Pueblo87%$7,614
181Indiana University East91%$7,210
182Grand Valley State University86%$7,599
183Penn State Greater Allegheny86%$7,609
184San Jose State University70%$9,354
185Eastern Washington University76%$8,521
186Sul Ross State University87%$7,426
187Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville80%$8,084
188University of South Alabama91%$7,057
189Indiana University, Kokomo84%$7,641
190New Mexico State University91%$7,053
191California Maritime Academy87%$7,379
192The University of Texas, Arlington81%$7,856
193University of Alaska Fairbanks89%$7,188
194Northeastern Illinois University84%$7,550
195Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts83%$7,614
196Georgia Southern University89%$7,098
197University of Nebraska, Lincoln80%$7,871
198University of Oregon72%$8,692
199Morrisville State College88%$7,133
200Rhode Island College81%$7,702
201Bowling Green State University89%$6,996
202Appalachian State University73%$8,447
203The University of North Carolina, Pembroke86%$7,144
204Indiana University South Bend86%$7,169
205San Diego State University62%$10,000
206Bowie State University77%$7,856
207University of Maryland, Baltimore County69%$8,670
208Temple University85%$7,029
209Penn State Abington77%$7,747
210University of Houston, Clear Lake55%$10,871
211University of Maryland Eastern Shore74%$8,094
212Oregon State University81%$7,265
213The University of Kansas84%$7,001
214Montclair State University60%$9,844
215Florida Atlantic University80%$7,321
216The University of Texas,Permian Basin68%$8,630
217Southern Illinois University, Carbondale68%$8,675
218The University of Texas, Tyler82%$7,159
219College of Agriculture and Technology, Cobleskill84%$7,008
220William Paterson University69%$8,511
221Oklahoma State University80%$7,337
222Virginia Commonwealth University75%$7,771
223Cleveland State University80%$7,176
224Kean University67%$8,555
225California State University, Fullerton68%$8,454
226Indiana University Northwest78%$7,243
227Penn State Lehigh Valley76%$7,495
228Frostburg State University73%$7,648
229Penn State Hazleton74%$7,557
230Ramapo College43%$13,049
231Old Dominion University75%$7,330
232Colorado State University75%$7,274
233Penn State Beaver72%$7,478
234Longwood University72%$7,443
235University of Southern Indiana65%$8,137
236East Carolina University67%$7,803
237Lock Haven University70%$7,519
238Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University70%$7,469
239Keene State College70%$7,480
240Wayne State University73%$7,142
241University of North Florida68%$7,680
242The College of New Jersey37%$13,596
243University of Florida61%$7,874
244Towson University56%$8,290
245Penn State Harrisburg62%$7,218
246Rowan University48%$9,121
247Radford University56%$7,750
248James Madison University53%$7,861
249East Tennessee State University55%$7,503
250Penn State University Park43%$7,052
Student Loan Interest Rates | January 2017

Table Key

Needy Freshmen Receiving Aid - This percentage refers to the portion of needy freshmen who received aid.

Average Aid to Needy Freshmen - This dollar value represents the average amount of aid awarded to needy freshmen.