If you’re talking about college, there’s a good chance that you’ll at least touch on a major talking point such as the cost of tuition or overall cost of attendance. And at that, there’s an even better chance that student loans will be brought as well.

With that being said, it becomes commonplace to list out the usual statistics: $1.41 trillion debt toll, over 40 million borrowers, and a default rate pushing 11 percent. These statistics tell the same story that everyone is used to hearing: college is expensive and college students are getting saddled with debt.

What people don’t talk about enough are the alternatives to student loans. There are plenty of ways to cut down on your student debt whether it’s signing up for the work-study program or picking a school with lower tuition. While these options have their benefits, they don’t quite stack up to one ideal financial aid alternative: scholarships.

Unlike student loans, scholarships do not require repayment after school is done which earns them the nickname “free money.” The idea is fairly simple. A third-party institution offers a financial aid award to applicants who qualify with a certain background, skill set, major, school, or any other defining characteristic (it’s up to the offering organization to decide). Qualifying recipients can reduce the cost of their education (and the impact of student loans) with funding from a scholarship.

Needless to say, they’re a big deal if you’re a prospective college student, so we decided to highlight which colleges’ student bodies were taking advantage of scholarship aid the most. On that note, we compiled a list of public colleges in the United States where undergraduates earn the most scholarship funding. The students at these colleges seem to be taking advantage of that “free money” the most; check out the list to see if you’re a part of one of those student bodies.

Public Colleges Where Undergrads Receive the Most Scholarship Aid

RankSchoolStatePrivate/PublicOveral Scholarship Aid# of undergradsScholarship Aid per Undergrad
1 The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina SC Public 10222396 2503 4,084
2 Pennsylvania College of Technology PA Public 14043771 4579 3,066
3 Troy University AL Public 22421295 9392 2,387
4 Tennessee Technological University TN Public 16016962 8201 1,953
5 Arizona State University at the Polytechnic campus AZ Public 6173817 3203 1,927
6 Austin Peay State University TN Public 12970600 6751 1,921
7 Arizona State University at the Tempe campus AZ Public 70548591 37753 1,868
8 Tennessee State University TN Public 9310543 6114 1,522
9 University of Nebraska at Kearney NE Public 6334745 4360 1,452
10 Adams State University CO Public 2320522 1629 1,424
11 University of Virginia VA Public 21903884 15394 1,422
12 Virginia Commonwealth University VA Public 28050813 20298 1,381
13 Lincoln University PA Public 2105908 1550 1,358
14 Southwestern Oklahoma State University OK Public 4427989 3521 1,257
15 University of Nebraska at Omaha NE Public 12296580 9880 1,244
16 The University of Arizona AZ Public 36681325 29652 1,237
17 Southeastern Oklahoma State University OK Public 2624402 2198 1,193
18 Youngstown State University OH Public 10031782 8437 1,189
19 Saginaw Valley State University MI Public 7941251 6750 1,176
20 Penn State Greater Allegheny PA Public 568273 486 1,169
21 The University of Montana Western MT Public 1351375 1231 1,097
22 University of Central Oklahoma OK Public 11415935 10531 1,084
23 Charter Oak State College CT Public 347023 329 1,054
24 Arizona State University at the Downtown, Phoenix AZ Public 8514712 8223 1,035
25 Wayne State College NE Public 2538632 2453 1,034
26 University of Louisville KY Public 12621211 12325 1,024
27 University of Alaska Anchorage AK Public 5336854 5229 1,020
28 University of Alaska Southeast AK Public 643763 644 999
29 Northwestern State University of Louisiana LA Public 4877993 5016 972
30 Penn State University Park PA Public 36838489 39294 937
31 University of Utah UT Public 16009222 17081 937
32 Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis IN Public 15609072 16932 921
33 The University of Texas at Austin TX Public 33545820 37026 906
34 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill NC Public 15713447 17606 892
35 University of Nebraska–Lincoln NE Public 16733831 18817 889
36 Pittsburg State University KS Public 4758880 5357 888
37 University of Hawaii at Manoa HI Public 9420978 10707 879
38 University of Central Missouri MO Public 6855040 8011 855
39 University of Alaska Fairbanks AK Public 2823429 3310 852
40 The University of Toledo OH Public 11367270 13416 847
41 Colorado School of Mines CO Public 3659530 4334 844
42 Fort Lewis College CO Public 2955932 3531 837
43 University of Northern Colorado CO Public 6730183 8119 828
44 Oklahoma State University OK Public 15062347 18227 826
45 University of North Texas TX Public 20973733 25469 823
46 Emporia State University KS Public 2758838 3370 818
47 Eastern Washington University WA Public 8431332 10300 818
48 Southern Arkansas University–Magnolia AR Public 2164134 2663 812
49 Concord University WV Public 1516705 1868 811
50 Arizona State University at the West campus AZ Public 2200507 2724 807
51 University of Maine at Machias ME Public 326267 406 803
52 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University FL Public 5570493 6942 802
53 Missouri University of Science and Technology MO Public 4891250 6097 802
54 Western Oregon University OR Public 2613913 3338 783
55 East Tennessee State University TN Public 6548790 8713 751
56 University of Pittsburgh PA Public 13225100 17819 742
57 Fort Hays State University KS Public 4084108 5612 727
58 Temple University PA Public 18271739 25128 727
59 Murray State University KY Public 5008865 7057 709
60 Middle Tennessee State University TN Public 11295167 15985 706
61 The University of Tennessee at Martin TN Public 3472075 4943 702
62 Vermont Technical College VT Public 769299 1103 697
63 Michigan Technological University MI Public 3726858 5454 683
64 Auburn University AL Public 13321538 19738 674
65 Eastern Oregon University OR Public 1172591 1741 673
66 University of North Texas at Dallas TX Public 752191 1130 665
67 Southern Illinois University Carbondale IL Public 6969437 10509 663
68 University of Wisconsin–Green Bay WI Public 2617302 3975 658
69 Oakland University MI Public 8385828 12883 650
70 Penn State Erie, The Behrend College PA Public 2536226 3920 646
71 Arkansas Tech University AR Public 4551470 7040 646
72 Michigan State University MI Public 22714156 35280 643
73 The University of Virginia's College at Wise VA Public 824322 1303 632
74 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin TX Public 1371137 2168 632
75 Lincoln University MO Public 1151732 1827 630
76 East Central University OK Public 1948182 3092 630
77 University of Maryland Eastern Shore MD Public 2039843 3269 623
78 The University of Akron OH Public 9025977 14590 618
79 State University of New York Maritime College NY Public 991650 1621 611
80 Texas A&M University TX Public 27226137 44709 608
81 University of Arkansas at Little Rock AR Public 2740680 4585 597
82 University of Colorado Boulder CO Public 15130740 25597 591
83 University of South Carolina Aiken SC Public 1527584 2591 589
84 South Dakota School of Mines and Technology SD Public 1184824 2045 579
85 University of Maine at Presque Isle ME Public 387232 669 578
86 Penn State New Kensington PA Public 286926 496 578
87 University of Southern Maine ME Public 2147403 3720 577
88 University of New Hampshire NH Public 7024266 12300 571
89 University of Michigan MI Public 15344505 27161 564
90 University of South Carolina SC Public 13171952 23432 562
91 Penn State Harrisburg PA Public 1906366 3396 561
92 The University of Texas at Tyler TX Public 2533754 4569 554
93 University of Oklahoma OK Public 9809709 17883 548
94 University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma OK Public 425634 779 546
95 Massachusetts Maritime Academy MA Public 874790 1605 545
96 Rogers State University OK Public 1322434 2431 543
97 North Carolina State University NC Public 11315051 20838 543
98 The University of Texas at Arlington TX Public 8783638 16357 536
99 Ferris State University MI Public 4958570 9239 536
100 Western Michigan University MI Public 8267903 15416 536
101 Ball State University IN Public 8003357 15008 533
102 University of California, Berkeley CA Public 14964216 28107 532
103 Northern State University SD Public 654319 1230 531
104 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University VA Public 13105741 24800 528
105 University of Missouri MO Public 12373071 24060 514
106 Iowa State University of Science and Technology IA Public 14188159 28073 505
107 University of Missouri–St. Louis MO Public 2648494 5249 504
108 Colorado Mesa University CO Public 3617389 7198 502
109 University of Vermont VT Public 4849806 9723 498
110 University of Maine ME Public 4016455 8082 496
111 Northeastern State University OK Public 2381598 4860 490
112 Indiana University Bloomington IN Public 15269080 31559 483
113 Oregon State University OR Public 8704348 18080 481
114 University of Wisconsin–La Crosse WI Public 4372390 9082 481
115 Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts MA Public 603828 1256 480
116 University of Missouri–Kansas City MO Public 3767458 7904 476
117 University of Pittsburgh at Bradford PA Public 641837 1356 473
118 Texas Tech University TX Public 12330762 26121 472
119 University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg PA Public 689777 1470 469
120 Kentucky State University KY Public 487525 1045 466
121 Western State Colorado University CO Public 884705 1900 465
122 Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania PA Public 2538189 5532 458
123 Nicholls State University LA Public 2082600 4576 455
124 Keene State College NH Public 1846770 4090 451
125 University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire WI Public 4056600 9137 443
126 University of Wyoming WY Public 3668869 8338 440
127 Sam Houston State University TX Public 6209917 14117 439
128 The College of New Jersey NJ Public 2789734 6442 433
129 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus MN Public 12257715 28783 425
130 Montana State University MT Public 4835608 11367 425
131 Minnesota State University Mankato MN Public 4595982 10863 423
132 Mississippi State University MS Public 6685177 16023 417
133 Augusta University GA Public 1692913 4078 415
134 Northern Kentucky University KY Public 3870887 9325 415
135 Colorado State University CO Public 9372437 22741 412
136 Minot State University ND Public 828305 2011 411
137 University of Maine at Fort Kent ME Public 238682 580 411
138 Montana Tech of The University of Montana MT Public 916645 2231 410
139 Marshall University WV Public 3231810 7917 408
140 Plymouth State University NH Public 1573199 3855 408
141 Penn State Beaver PA Public 247445 608 406
142 Clemson University SC Public 7497325 18457 406
143 California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo CA Public 7772693 19247 403
144 University of Maryland, Baltimore County MD Public 3798899 9454 401
145 Bowling Green State University OH Public 5266874 13111 401
146 Clarion University of Pennsylvania PA Public 1431653 3566 401
147 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology NM Public 555367 1388 400
148 Purdue University IN Public 11473705 28721 399
149 Winona State University MN Public 2772371 6972 397
150 University of Minnesota, Morris MN Public 640138 1618 395
151 University of Minnesota, Crookston MN Public 449700 1143 393
152 University of Illinois at Springfield IL Public 742328 1899 390
153 Alabama State University AL Public 1833977 4694 390
154 The University of Texas at Dallas TX Public 4897444 12585 389
155 Penn State Altoona PA Public 1414439 3647 387
156 University of Colorado Colorado Springs CO Public 2851714 7428 383
157 University of Florida FL Public 12711447 33402 380
158 Frostburg State University MD Public 1621740 4267 380
159 University of Kentucky KY Public 7795052 20773 375
160 University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown PA Public 1026657 2744 374
161 New Mexico Highlands University NM Public 553223 1480 373
162 West Texas A&M University TX Public 2113634 5665 373
163 Tarleton State University TX Public 3092224 8309 372
164 Millersville University of Pennsylvania PA Public 2267582 6112 371
165 Dakota State University SD Public 461933 1248 370
166 California State University Maritime Academy CA Public 396873 1075 369
167 University of Delaware DE Public 6156889 16789 366
168 University of California, Davis CA Public 10462931 28544 366
169 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania PA Public 2597170 7116 364
170 The Ohio State University OH Public 15205855 41666 364
171 Eastern Illinois University IL Public 1859751 5106 364
172 Indiana University Southeast IN Public 1246812 3426 363
173 University of Wisconsin–Stout WI Public 2464995 6779 363
174 Penn State Schuylkill PA Public 219052 605 362
175 University of South Carolina Upstate SC Public 1436959 3970 361
176 California University of Pennsylvania PA Public 1776058 4995 355
177 Truman State University MO Public 1824545 5139 355
178 Stephen F. Austin State University TX Public 3551272 10097 351
179 Shawnee State University OH Public 1079248 3076 350
180 Indiana University East IN Public 683417 1950 350
181 Indiana University South Bend IN Public 1320403 3808 346
182 Missouri State University MO Public 5202975 15031 346
183 University of Washington WA Public 9800000 28327 345
184 Central Washington University WA Public 3131627 9069 345
185 The University of Texas at San Antonio TX Public 6900657 20039 344
186 State University of New York College at Cortland NY Public 2014294 5860 343
187 Mayville State University ND Public 208881 609 342
188 University of Maryland, College Park MD Public 8607944 25272 340
189 Washington State University WA Public 7238971 21298 339
190 Southeastern Louisiana University LA Public 2888711 8530 338
191 West Chester University of Pennsylvania PA Public 4296025 12764 336
192 Penn State York PA Public 269144 800 336
193 Northeastern Illinois University IL Public 1434585 4268 336
194 Kansas State University KS Public 5966931 17755 336
195 University of Minnesota, Duluth MN Public 2850447 8488 335
196 University of Houston TX Public 8530665 25436 335
197 Bemidji State University MN Public 1129957 3387 333
198 The College of William and Mary VA Public 2053915 6214 330
199 University of Massachusetts Amherst MA Public 6858311 20961 327
200 University of Wisconsin–Madison WI Public 9536803 29201 326
201 University of Idaho ID Public 2362530 7248 325
202 University of Oregon OR Public 6063392 18604 325
203 Texas State University TX Public 9169085 28180 325
204 Indiana University Kokomo IN Public 698546 2148 325
205 The University of Iowa IA Public 6415187 19732 325
206 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania PA Public 1408071 4342 324
207 Morehead State University KY Public 1860147 5792 321
208 University of Wisconsin–Whitewater WI Public 3206000 10088 317
209 Valley City State University ND Public 229803 725 316
210 University of Wisconsin–Superior WI Public 567673 1801 315
211 State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry NY Public 552339 1755 314
212 University of Colorado Denver CO Public 2529857 8049 314
213 Dickinson State University ND Public 279522 890 314
214 University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign IL Public 9814472 31552 311
215 Delta State University MS Public 695838 2241 310
216 Northern Arizona University AZ Public 6316336 20356 310
217 Longwood University VA Public 1307484 4215 310
218 Western Carolina University NC Public 2458285 7926 310
219 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College LA Public 7253810 23432 309
220 Morrisville State College NY Public 767431 2489 308
221 Florida Atlantic University FL Public 4957766 16092 308
222 Georgia College & State University GA Public 1700000 5519 308
223 University of Cincinnati OH Public 6537866 21486 304
224 New Mexico State University NM Public 3078466 10298 298
225 University of Nevada, Reno NV Public 4463159 14950 298
226 Kent State University OH Public 5827526 19797 294
227 Penn State Brandywine PA Public 343638 1179 291
228 Glenville State College WV Public 305860 1059 288
229 University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh WI Public 2392625 8341 286
230 St. Cloud State University MN Public 2526250 8810 286
231 Bluefield State College WV Public 400000 1400 285
232 Indiana University of Pennsylvania PA Public 3044683 10740 283
233 University of Arkansas AR Public 5597173 19774 283
234 University of Southern Mississippi MS Public 2862421 10153 281
235 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania PA Public 2198970 7809 281
236 Humboldt State University CA Public 2098113 7476 280
237 Indiana State University IN Public 2698130 9623 280
238 Morgan State University MD Public 1567603 5598 280
239 University of Mary Washington VA Public 1053996 3790 278
240 University of North Carolina School of the Arts NC Public 244110 881 277
241 University of Montevallo AL Public 602221 2178 276
242 Minnesota State University Moorhead MN Public 1160133 4239 273
243 Northern Michigan University MI Public 1803975 6626 272
244 University of Rhode Island RI Public 3388024 12582 269
245 College of Charleston SC Public 2546655 9470 268
246 Penn State Hazleton PA Public 193264 722 267
247 University of Southern Indiana IN Public 1773175 6664 266
248 Ohio University–Zanesville OH Public 208941 789 264
249 The College at Brockport, State University of New York NY Public 1400535 5318 263
250 The University of Kansas KS Public 4384058 16946 258
MUST READ:
Private Colleges That Offer Upperclassmen the Most Financial Aid


Methodology

The data for this report came from Peterson’s Financial Aid dataset which provided college-reported statistics for the academic year of 2015 – 2016. This report analyzed over 500 different public, four-year colleges that reported financial aid data to Peterson for the Class of 2016; only the top 250 made the list. Only public schools were looked at in this report.

In this report, the highlighting figure is the average scholarship financial aid per undergraduate. In order to find this number, the overall total scholarship financial aid that was awarded across the entire undergraduate student body was pulled alongside the total number of undergraduates at a given school. Each total scholarship financial aid value was divided by its respective number of undergrads which gave the final average scholarship aid per undergraduate.

Each school was ranked from highest to lowest according to average scholarship financial aid per undergraduate, and the top 250 schools made the list.

©2017