10 Colleges That Give the Most Financial Aid to Transfer Students

Colleges That Give the Most Financial Aid to Transfer Students - featured image

Reviewed by: Melissa AndersonMS.Ed.
Reading level: Grade 10
Original publication date: December 2023

Financial aid has always been one of the common concerns of students who want to transfer from one college or community school. Those with financial assistance from their previous school would still want to enjoy such aid when transferring to another higher education institution. However, not all financial aid will automatically transfer. 

Related: Transfer Student Scholarships for Online College

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Colleges That Give the Most Financial Aid to Transfer Students - fact

It’s important to check with your new school to determine whether or not you can still take advantage of the grant, loan, or scholarship you previously had as a transfer student. It also helps to understand what you need to do to get federal student aid at the new college or university you will be attending and the factors that might influence your eligibility. 

10 Colleges That Offer the Most Financial Aid to Transfer Students

1. University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tuition and Fees: $16,736

At The University of Michigan, transfer students are considered for most scholarships upon admission. For one, you may be eligible for the U-M Go Blue Guarantee. This program offers free and reduced tuition to U-M students for up to four years, depending on the credits you received and the terms you attended at your previous school. This financial aid program is for students with a family income of $75,000 or less. 

2. New York University

New York, New York

Tuition and Fees: $58,168

Transfer students at New York University are only offered institutional grants and scholarships in select programs. However, you may be eligible for federal or state financial aid. Some of the institutional aid transfer students can apply for include:

  • Community College Transfer Opportunity Program – provides scholarship funds and support to students from select partner institutions to allow them to complete their degree at NYU. 
  • The second degree program in Rory Meyers College of Nursing – provides funds for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in another field and want to complete a second degree in nursing at NYU.
  • Gallatin Undergraduate Initiative for Discovery in Education – offers mentorship, scholarship, and transition to prepare high-achieving students at Borough of Manhattan Community College to pursue a BA-degree liberal arts program at NYU. 
  • CAS Pipeline Opportunities for Inter-Collegiate STEM Education – supports promising sophomore-standing students pursuing STEM at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. 

3. Smith College

Northampton, Massachusetts

Tuition and Fees: $58,768

Smith College supports qualified students from any economic background.

It’s committed to providing accessible and affordable higher education for all. Therefore, the school has eliminated loans from its bachelor’s degree financial aid packages for those who receive institutional need-based aid. Instead, it offers institutional grants for all admitted students who apply for aid. Transfer students at Smith College who are not able to apply for financial aid by the deadlines set must complete 32 credits before they can apply for institutional grants.

4. University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Tuition and Fees: $13,275

Students who apply to transfer to The University of Arizona may be eligible to apply for federal financial aid. On top of that, they can also qualify for different University of Arizona Academic Tuition awards, which are merit-based scholarships designed for transfer students:

  • Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship Award
  • Transfer Tuition Scholarship
  • All-Arizona Academic Team Tuition Award

5. Harvard College

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuition and Fees: $57, 261

Harvard College accepts exceptional students to transfer from other related liberal arts programs. U.S. military veterans may also qualify for its transfer program if they have completed at least one full academic year of college coursework. 

At Harvard College, transfer students, including international students, may be eligible to apply for need-based financial aid. They will be required to join a fall orientation program and get connected with a dedicated transfer adviser to help them with their academic planning and transition. 

6. Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington

Tuition and Fees: $50,735

Gonzaga University offers a range of transfer scholarship opportunities to recognize student achievement. An estimated 98% of incoming students are offered merit-based scholarships and other aid forms. To qualify for such financial assistance, transfer students must have completed at least 30 semester credits or 45 quarter credits. You can receive a merit scholarship between $14,500 and $25,000 if you qualify. Moreover, transfer students who satisfy the application requirement will be automatically considered for the Transfer Opportunity Scholarships with an award of $4,000 per year.

7. University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Tuition and Fees: $64,260

The University of Chicago is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated need of transfer students. Its loan-free financial aid package is based on the estimated full enrollment cost. This includes tuition, health insurance, housing, meal plans, and costs for books and personal expenses. Each student’s financial aid package will be tailored to their specific financial profile.

8. Elmhurst University

Elmhurst, Illinois

Tuition and Fees: $40,232

Elmhurst University offers scholarship opportunities to transfer students. Its financial aid staff and admission counselors can help students reach their goals by providing them with a financial aid package that meets their demonstrated needs.

Some of the academic scholarships that transfer students can apply for include:

  • PTK Excellence Scholarship – up to $24,000
  • Transfer Excellence Scholarship – up to $20,000
  • PTK Achievement Scholarship – up to $19,000
  • Transfer Achievement Scholarship – up to $16,000
  • Transfer Recognition Scholarship – up to $14,000
  • Transfer Heritage Scholarship – up to $10,000
  • Star Scholarship – up to $2,000

9. Clark University

Worcester, Massachusetts

Tuition and Fees: $38,060

U.S. college students who wish to transfer to Clark University may be eligible for scholarships to help reduce the total cost of undergraduate education. This is depending on your academic accomplishment, aside from other factors.

  • Clark Merit Scholarships – these are for transfer students who display academic achievement and personal qualities that show their potential to perform at the highest level.
  • Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship – must be transferring to the university with an associate’s degree from a two-year college.
  • Phi Theta Kappa All-USA Academic Scholarship – must be transferring to the university with an associate’s degree from a two-year college.
  • Segal AmeriCorps Scholarship – must be a recipient of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, and full-time day student of a bachelor’s degree at Clark.

10. Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Tuition and Fees: $13,650

Transfer students who meet certain eligibility requirements set by Central Michigan University may receive up to $13,500 in scholarships for over three years. Some of the requirements include:

  • Must have U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen and must not be in default on a federal loan or have an outstanding debt on any state or federal program. 
  • Must have regular admission to a certificate-granting program or eligible degree.
  • Must be enrolled full-time in on-campus courses. 
  • Must make satisfactory academic progress to continue eligibility for financial assistance.

What to Do to Get Federal Student Aid as a Transfer Student

Here are the steps you need to take to get financial assistance as a transfer student:

  • Notify your current school’s financial aid office about your transfer plan so they can determine whether you have fully settled your account with them. This is important because failure to settle can cause your transcript to be withheld. 
  • You may need to submit a withdrawal or a request to cancel whatever is left of your current financial aid disbursements.
  • Talk to your school administrator to determine whether they are part of the federal student aid programs.
  • If the school you will be attending does offer federal student aid, you need to update your Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to indicate your new school. 
  • Once you receive information on the financial aid offered at your new school, take the time to carefully review the offer and determine how much you will need to pay out of pocket and how you can afford such an amount.
  • Talk to financial aid advisors at your current and new school about further steps you need to take to have a smooth transfer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the general rules for applying for financial aid?

The first step you need to take is to complete and submit promptly the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This will also be used to determine your eligibility for other financial aid opportunities. 

Do schools have a different set of admission requirements for transfer students?

Some colleges or universities may have a different set of requirements for transfer students, including minimum GPA requirements, test scores, transcripts, and application deadlines. It is best to talk to the school’s admission officer to get a list of all the requirements you need to submit by its published deadlines. 

Will transferring from one college to another affect my student loans?

Transferring to another school may affect your financial aid because it will not automatically transfer with you. This is why you will need to update your FAFSA to determine the implications. It is also possible that you can lose certain financial aid you previously had. Aside from that, you will need to apply for an in-school loan deferment to enter a grace period that will allow you to delay the repayments of your previous loan.


  • StudentAid.gov