Pomona College Ranked Fourth Private College For Financial Aid

A digital drawing of a plush Cecil the Sagehen propped up against a bag of money with a green dollar sign on it.
(Lucia Marquez-Uppman • The Student Life)

At the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year, Pomona College was ranked the fourth best private college for financial aid by the Princeton Review.

Pomona joined the ranks of Vassar College, Princeton University, Yale University, Vanderbilt University and 15 other schools that made headlines earlier this year for their generous financial aid programs.

The Princeton Review’s ranking is based on the percentage of students who received aid, the percentage of need met for the students and the percentage of students whose needs were fully satisfied, as reported by the college. The ranking also considered students’ satisfaction with the financial aid they received based on student survey data.

Along with Claremont McKenna College (CMC) and Harvey Mudd College (HMC), Pomona College practices need-blind aid.

When asked about the factors that lead to Pomona’s recognized financial aid, Paul Dieken, director of financial aid, explained that they “package students up to their full calculated need” and fund them up to their full need.

Dieken added that Pomona’s financial aid as presented by the college does not include loans. The office also packages international and undocumented students with aid.

According to Pomona, 58 percent of students receive financial aid in some form, including loans and private outside scholarships. In the 2021-2022 school year, the average award was $61,621.

This is significantly more than the $23,080 provided to students on average by private institutions across the US.

It also exceeds the average award at Mudd, where 45 percent of students receive financial aid in some form, with an average award for the 2021-2022 school year of $44,743. Likewise, 47 percent of CMC students receive  financial aid.

Alessio Narvaez PO ’26 reflected on his positive experiences with Pomona’s financial aid office.

Upon his acceptance, he reached out to the office to appeal his aid package because his financial circumstances had changed. “I managed to have calls and email exchanges with my financial aid advisor for a few days in a row throughout this process,” Narvaez said.

Narvaez notes the financial aid office’s generosity as a key factor in his college decision process.

“If it weren’t for the additional aid I received, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Pomona, so I am incredibly grateful,” Narvaez explained.

Dieken stated that while the office is “very happy to be acknowledged this way, Pomona is not a ranking-fixated school.”

According to Dieken, the office is continually striving to make improvements. This year, Pomona has 11 fully funded students in the initial run of its refugee program. In the future, they hope to implement a wider variety of similar programs. Dieken also indicated an interest in funding more books for students and increasing funds for emergency travel.

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