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Recommend Schools With Good Merit Aid

SG2468SG2468 23 replies3 threads Junior Member
Hi everyone, I'm a rising senior in Socal. I'm looking for schools to apply to, but my main issue is finding ones that will work financially. My family is in the 200k income range, but my parents can't pay much for my college tuition. They are willing to pay for a UC school, and I would be happy to go to any of the higher ranked ones for chemical or materials engineering (SD, LA, Cal, SB). However, with UC applications being so competitive, I know none of these are a guarantee and would like to apply to some other schools that have very high merit aid since I know we won't qualify for need based aid but my parents don't want to pay for expensive schools. Can anyone recommend some universities where I would have a shot at getting large merit scholarships? I don't care much about prestige, it would be great to go to a school where I could graduate with less debt but also still go to a great grad school afterwards.

Female, white
ACT: 35C (35E 35M 35R 36S) 10W
SAT Subject Tests: Bio 780, waiting for Math II scores and retaking Chem August (740 first try)
APs: Bio (5) / waiting AP Chem, AP Calc BC, AP English lang, AP Spanish lang
GPA: 4.0 UW, 4.67 W
Classes senior year: AP Comp Sci A, AP Stats, AP Physics
ECs: Piano CM for 11 years with senior medallion next year, do research at CSUN with biochem prof during the school year and right now, volunteered in Ukraine with refugees (my parents are from there), math honors society at school, president and co-founder of my school's literary magazine (good LoR from adviser, she let me read it), in community choir for 8 years and on choir board, like 120 hours volunteering at community center, going to COSMOS for chemistry cluster at UC Davis this summer
edited June 2018
11 replies
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Replies to: Recommend Schools With Good Merit Aid

  • astute12astute12 675 replies9 threads Member
    USC has excellent merit aid -- Mork, Stamps, Trustee cover all tuition, and then there are others that cover half tuition. You have to be a top student with top stats, which you have. Make sure to apply by December 1st to be considered.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6936 replies171 threads Senior Member
    You’ll get into one of the UCs.
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  • jamesk2014jamesk2014 289 replies0 threads Junior Member
    SMU has a similar vibe to USC, and also has good merit aid, too.
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Forum Champion Williams College 2262 replies104 threads Forum Champion
    Clark University in Massachusetts, if you are willing to come to the east coast.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2469 replies51 threads Senior Member
    I agree - I think you will get into a UC program. (And SLO.)

    But, other programs where merit could potentially bring the sticker-price down to UC cost-level or below:
    In the top 10 ChemE programs: UMinn Twin Cities and UDelaware
    Other excellent STEM schools that have ChemE/Materials and offer significant merit: CWRU, Pitt, UA Huntsville, Michigan State
    More excellent STEM programs that are affordable for CA students because of the WUE discount: Colorado State, U of Utah, U of Arizona, U of NM
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  • kalonskalons 625 replies21 threads Member
    edited June 2018
    someone can correct me if i'm wrong, but even at the ivy league schools, i think you would still qualify for some need-based aid. in the meantime, i know duke and carnegie mellon give out some scholarships, but they're competitive. the students to whom they choose to give them will have just as impressive stats as you.

    many liberal arts colleges—particulalry the midwest ones (kenyon and grinnell specifically)—give out very generous merit-based scholarships, but i take it you want to major in engineering, which rules most, if not all, of them out. what is your parents' budget?
    edited June 2018
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  • aquaptaquapt 2469 replies51 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    Clark doesn't have engineering.
    edited June 2018
    Post edited by vonlost on
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 2196 replies21 threads Senior Member
    I'll second the University of Utah as having excellent merit aid. With 4.0UW/35 ACT (same as my D18) you are well placed to receive a full tuition scholarship in their Honors College and could be competitive for more (they have 30 full ride scholarships per year). My D18 chose it over Berkeley and UCLA (we are in CA) and over 4 years will pay ~$100K less than her twin brother at UCLA.

    Note that they don't particularly recommend using WUE since you can get instate tuition in Utah after the first year (with careful planning) unlike most other states.
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  • Peruna1998Peruna1998 142 replies4 threads Junior Member
    A few questions. What is your parents expected financial contribution? Top end schools like Harvard, Yale, and Duke have excellent aid programs, but your parents will have to meet the expected financial contribution. Maybe they can, maybe they can't.

    Think about where you want to live after your graduate. There are excellent merit aid programs out there, they may just be in places you wouldn't think.

    In your backyard is Cal Poly SLO. It is an excellent university and you would get in-state CSU tuition. That is a deal and probably better than most UCs.

    Utah is a good deal (though think long and hard about having to maintain a 3.6GPA for its scholarships).

    Washington State, Arizona State, New Mexico, Iowa State, Iowa, Mississippi State, Alabama, and South Carolina are all large public university with well-defined merit aid programs. If you are a national merit scholar (not mentioned, but you never know), then look at Florida (free), Alabama (free), and Texas Tech (not as good as the previous two, but free).

    Were I in your shoes, I would certainly look at Cal Poly. Beyond that, it is a matter of where you want to live.
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  • tk21769tk21769 10710 replies27 threads Senior Member

    I'd agree that you should be able to get into most of the UCs (maybe all of them).
    If you want to search for other options, here are a few links that might help:


    The tables on the above sites aren't always perfectly up to date.
    For any schools that interest you, consult their FA pages for the latest available information.
    FWIW, the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) seems to be the highest-ranked university that guarantees automatic full tuition (/ full ride) merit scholarships for qualifying stats.
    someone can correct me if i'm wrong, but even at the ivy league schools, i think you would still qualify for some need-based aid.

    For a $200K family income, maybe so. Depends on the number of children, family assets, and other factors. Run the online Net Price Calculators to check. I did a quick-and-dirty run of Brown University's NPC, assuming 2 siblings, $200K income, $100K cash savings. Result: ~$24K in need-based aid, ~$51K EFC. So at that income level I wouldn't expect nearly enough n-b aid to drive the net cost down to UC in-state levels.
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  • amandakayakamandakayak 2396 replies57 threads Senior Member
    If you'd like to try out snow and ice, Pitt will likely give you full tuition (not guaranteed but likely) and research is very prolific there, lots of opportunities in a INEXPENSIVE city to enjoy (eg off campus housing between $500-800 - I bet that sounds good after dealing with CA?). You'll likely get into a UC though so enjoy the sunshine!
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