Are the Richest Colleges Also Generous With Financial Aid?

Today I found a list of the Ten Richest Colleges on, a site which follows the stock market. The list of schools from 10th place to 1st place includes:

  • Texas A&M University, which also is on our list of true Public Ivy Schools.
  • Northwestern University, the only private university in the Big Ten (aka B1G) Conference.
  • Columbia University, the most land-locked Ivy League school.
  • University of Michigan, which is priced close to Ivy League prices for out-of-state students.
  • MIT, where buildings are better known for their numbers than their names.
  • Stanford, America’s best blend of excellence in athletics and academics (sorry Notre Dame fans).
  • Princeton, which imposes less debt on graduates than any U.S. university.
  • University of Texas-Austin, the earliest beneficiary of the Permanent University Fund. Oil money shoots up.
  • Yale, alma mater of three of our last four Presidents, as well as John Kerry, who lost in ’04.
  • Harvard, richest by far.

Curious, I checked this list against another list of the nation’s 62 Most Generous Colleges. This list was compiled earlier this year by Lynn O’Shaughnessy, publisher of the College Solution book and blog, and columnist for CBS Money Watch. I told you about Lynn in a previous piece on need sensitive admissions

Interestingly enough, all of the private colleges on this list appeared on Lynn’s list. The three public universities: Texas A&M, Michigan and Texas do not.

We previously named Texas A&M a Public Ivy not only because of cost ($8,400 in tuition and fees for Texas residents, less than $26,000 in tuition and fees for out-of-state students) but also excellent graduation and retention rates. In addition, Texas A&M most recently sponsored 132 National Merit Scholarship awards. more than most colleges and universities in the nation.

Michigan is a “Public that’s Priced Like an Ivy” for out-of-state students. Freshmen and sophomores in their College of Literature, Science and Arts face a sticker price of around $39,000 for tuition and fees; prices go up from there for students enrolled in other undergraduate schools within the university. While Michigan does aid its students-┬áit reports that it meets 90 percent of demonstrated need for its students determined to have need-the university could be more generous with scholarship aid. Student borrowers graduate, on average, with just under $28,000 in debt. The Texas A&M grad leaves with $5,000 less, but they forked up less, too.

The University of Texas-Austin charges in-state students just under $10,000, while out-of-state students are asked to pay more than $33,000. But at least the average borrower, who owes just over $25,000, leaves with less debt than s/he would have taken on to go to Michigan. Not to mention that the graduate will have access to a larger job market. But unlike Texas A&M, the University of Texas does not sponsor Merit Scholars, nor does the Permanent University fund that funnels money to both universities.

I have not had the pleasure of visiting Texas A&M, but I have gained considerable respect for the school. It is a model for academic success, affordability and accessibility, not to mention the Aggies who have served our country in the military. Having the likely Heisman Trophy winner on campus doesn’t hurt either.

So, I might not have found a perfect match between the richest colleges and the most generous. But I did learn which schools could open the spigot for more scholarship money if they were pressed to do so.