The top 10 colleges for financial aid

When it comes to choosing a college, the cost alone is one of the most important criteria for families. But crossing off a pricey private school could be a big mistake.

It’s true that public schools charge less than half as much, on average. At public, four-year institutions, the cost for the 2017-18 school year was $20,770, according to the College Board. Tuition plus room and board at four-year private universities was much higher: $47,000, on average, in the last academic year.

However, about two-thirds of all full-time students at private colleges receive aid, which can bring the sticker price significantly down.

Your net price is a college’s tuition and fees minus grants, scholarships and education tax benefits, according to the College Board.

To that end, The Princeton Review ranked colleges by how much financial aid is awarded and how satisfied students are with their packages. The report is based on data collected from students over a three-year period.

The schools that fared the best were all private schools, many of which have sky-high prices but very generous aid packages.

When it comes to offering aid, private schools typically have the financial wherewithal to make enrollment more affordable, said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and author of “Colleges That Pay You Back.”

To that end, “a school that has a lofty sticker cost could be a better value.”

Here are the schools that made The Princeton Review’s top 10:

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