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10 best colleges for the money

Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
9 of 11

This intimidatingly expensive private college is affordable, thanks to the school's large endowment and student loan caps. Grinnell compensates for its nearly $40,000 tuition price tag by meeting 100 percent of student need and capping student loans at $2,250 per year.

"Roughly one-third of (Grinnell's) operating budget comes from the interest from their endowment," says Bugarin. "Schools that have large endowments don't need to draw heavily from tuition as a method of revenue."

Students can compare institutional endowments by checking out the National Association of College and University Business Officers' annual endowment study.

Grinnell is no exception to the high endowment, high financial aid rule. The College Board reports that the average need-based scholarships and grants package totaled $30,577. The NCES shows that families with combined incomes of $48,000 or less paid just less than $8,400.




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