Best Colleges for Pell Grant Support and High Grad Rates for Recipients

The New York Times, in its “Upshot” feature, has analyzed for the second consecutive year data for some 179 colleges and universities to determine the “economic diversity” of the institutions. What this boils down to is a scoring mechanism that ranks the schools according to the percentage of freshmen who receive Pell Grants and graduate. The grants typically go to students with a family income of $70,000 or less.

Note: Two tables are listed below, the first for public universities and the second for private schools.

The review of access data is also useful for families whose income is greater than 70k. To be included in the analysis and ranking, each school had to have a 2014 five-year grad rate of 75% or more. This information in itself is a handy way to group these schools by grad rate.

Other data elements stand out: only 32 public institutions made the list because of the grad rate threshold, while 147 private schools are on the list. This, too, is useful, but the story is more involved that these figures suggest. The 32 public schools actually have more Pell Grant recipient/graduates (26,690) than the 147 private schools (20,192). The average percentage of freshmen with Pell Grants in the public universities is 17%; for the private schools, 14% of freshmen are recipients.

Publics have lower average net cost for Pell Grant recipients, $16,250 versus $19,986.

One more interesting element is that the amount of endowment per student is far less for public universities. UC Irvine, ranked number 1 in the analysis, has an endowment per student of $11,000; for Princeton, ranked number 18 in economic access, the endowment per student is $2,320,000. It is common for the per student endowment for publics to be only 5-15 percent of that for wealthy private colleges. Nevertheless, the publics do somewhat better relative to private schools in providing economic access. The link to the New York Times report lists the endowment figures for each school.

RankPublic College or UniversityFreshmenPell %Total PellNet Price
1University of California-Irvine54490.42179.613000
2University of California-Davis50630.311569.5314000
3University of California-Santa Barbara45970.311425.0714000
4University of California-San Diego52180.281461.0413000
5University of California-Los Angeles56840.281591.5213000
6University of Florida63480.241523.529000
7University of California-Berkeley46770.231075.7113000
24University of Georgia52190.17887.2313000
27Rutgers-New Brunswick63930.231470.3920000
29Texas A&M-College Station90300.171535.114000
35SUNY at Binghamton25850.251718000
40University of Texas at Austin71180.171210.0617000
48University of Michigan61760.12741.1212000
49University of Illinois73210.171244.5718000
54Georgia Tech-Main Campus26690.11293.5911000
59University of Vermont24830.13322.7915000
65Ohio State-Main Campus71210.151068.1517000
71Clemson32860.11361.4614000
75University of New Hampshire28690.18516.4222000
77College of William and Mary14790.09133.1111000
79University of Maryland40110.12481.3215000
87University of Connecticut37410.14523.7418000
91SUNY at Geneseo11280.13146.6418000
94University of Delaware42100.11463.115000
102University of Virginia35160.11386.7616000
113Virginia Tech53600.12643.218000
114James Madison41990.1419.916000
116University of Wisconsin-Madison63230.1632.316000
118The College of New Jersey14020.14196.2822000
148University of Pittsburgh38510.12462.1226000
152Penn State-Main Campus80050.11880.5525000
157Miami University-Oxford36370.09327.3324000
Totals0.17834.06937516250
RankPrivate College or UniversityFreshmenPell %StudentsNet Price
8Vassar6620.22145.6412000
9Amherst4660.293.211000
10Pomona3960.1871.289000
11Harvard16580.15248.77000
12Westminster, Pa.3020.2781.5421000
14Knox3800.2491.219000
15Davidson4830.1467.627000
17M.I.T.11150.15167.259000
18Princeton12840.13166.927000
19Stanford16740.13217.627000
20Wellesley5900.17100.312000
21Columbia14760.15221.49000
22Brown15420.16246.7211000
23Williams5440.1581.610000
25Moody Bible Institute4140.2499.3621000
26Yale13580.12162.968000
28Rice9760.14136.6411000
30Barnard5760.18103.6815000
31Grinnell4230.1980.3716000
32Occidental5480.1898.6415000
33Gustavus Adolphus6100.21128.119000
34Vanderbilt16130.12193.569000
36Haverford3300.1549.513000
37Hamilton4910.1678.5614000
38Wesleyan7410.17125.9716000
39U. Penn.23530.14329.4213000
41St. Mary’s, Md.3830.1661.2815000
42College of Saint Benedict5380.2107.621000
43Duke17300.12207.612000
44Claremont McKenna3370.1240.4411000
45Middlebury6250.1381.2513000
46Wheaton, Ill.5970.17101.4918000
47Allegheny6010.2120.222000
50Clark6140.18110.5220000
51Bowdoin4970.1259.6412000
52Macalester5550.1583.2516000
53Franklin and Marshall6040.1696.6417000
55Dartmouth11090.12133.0812000
56Swarthmore3880.1454.3216000
57Saint John’s4970.1784.4919000
58Smith6430.16102.8818000
60Brandeis8330.17141.6119000
61Augustana6270.17106.5919000
62Hope8220.16131.5219000
63St. Olaf7520.15112.817000
64Washington and Lee4800.0943.210000
66University of Richmond8050.13104.6515000
67Yeshiva8600.16137.619000
68Colby4830.0943.4711000
69Kalamazoo4530.1672.4819000
70Wofford4150.1666.419000
71Clemson32860.11361.4614000
72Northwestern20400.13265.216000
73Cornell32230.14451.2217000
74Denison5820.1587.318000
76Sewanee4880.1468.3218000
78Juniata3910.1766.4721000
80University of Rochester14720.16235.5220000
81University of Chicago14260.1142.613000
82Reed3540.1553.119000
83Emory18530.18333.5422000
84Colgate7590.175.913000
85USC29200.17496.421000
86Mount Holyoke5110.1471.5418000
88Georgetown15930.12191.1616000
89Lawrence3920.1766.6422000
90Syracuse34760.19660.4425000
92DePauw6410.1596.1519000
93Ursinus4250.1876.523000
95Johns Hopkins13900.12166.816000
96St. Lawrence Univ.6290.16100.6422000
97College of the Holy Cross7190.15107.8521000
98Bryn Mawr3650.1347.4518000
99Skidmore6600.1385.818000
100Elizabethtown5300.1684.822000
101Siena College7660.19145.5426000
103Illinois Wesleyan5270.1684.3222000
104Carleton5270.1157.9716000
105Notre Dame20700.120716000
106Washington & Jefferson3260.1755.4223000
107Luther6270.16100.3222000
108Trinity, Conn.6040.160.415000
109Bates5000.094514000
110Messiah6480.16103.6823000
111Pepperdine7830.15117.4522000
112Lehigh11980.13155.7419000
115Connecticut College4890.1258.6819000
117Trinity University, Tex.5340.1264.0819000
119Stonehill6100.1591.523000
120Kenyon4800.0943.216000
121Colorado College5220.152.218000
122Willamette5450.1792.6526000
123Tufts13070.1130.718000
124Wheaton, Mass.4580.1673.2825000
125Gettysburg7030.1284.3620000
126Babson4890.1573.3524000
127University of Portland8350.16133.626000
128Stevens Institute of Tech6220.1699.5226000
129Bentley9740.13126.6222000
130Case Western12520.15187.825000
131Creighton9630.13125.1924000
132Oberlin7800.0862.419000
133Lafayette6350.0957.1519000
134Hobart William Smith6380.1276.5623000
135Centre3770.1349.0124000
136Washington Univ St. Louis15950.07111.6517000
137Dickinson6260.0956.3420000
138Muhlenberg5790.157.921000
139Boston College23050.11253.5523000
140Fairfield9630.11105.9322000
141Union College5590.1267.0824000
142University of Scranton8780.14122.9227000
143Rhodes5450.1159.9523000
144Wake Forest12300.11135.323000
145Loyola University, Maryland10960.12131.5224000
146Villanova16590.12199.0824000
147American16230.14227.2228000
149Gonzaga12380.13160.9427000
150Marquette19890.13258.5727000
151George Washington23480.1234.823000
153Whitman3920.0935.2823000
154Carnegie Mellon14420.11158.6225000
155University of Denver13990.12167.8827000
156N.Y.U.51680.18930.2434000
158Boston University38070.12456.8427000
159Ithaca17890.14250.4630000
160Bucknell9330.0874.6423000
161Furman7550.175.526000
162Santa Clara12910.11142.0127000
163R.P.I.14110.14197.5430000
164Fordham19440.14272.1631000
165Northeastern28910.1289.126000
166Providence10270.1102.727000
167University of Miami21150.12253.829000
168Bryant8900.13115.732000
169Quinnipiac17950.12215.431000
170Marist11490.11126.3929000
171Southern Methodist14280.09128.5227000
172University of Dayton17650.08141.227000
173Worcester Polytechnic Inst11030.11121.3331000
174Emerson8620.12103.4433000
175Rhode Island School of Design4550.1568.2536000
176Elon14750.07103.2528000
177Texas Christian19350.06116.127000
178University of Puget Sound6700.1173.733000
179Saint Joseph’s, Pa.12720.0789.0430000
Totals0.1420192.0819986

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