3.0 weighted/ 24-28 ACT (Computer Science) College Options (Under 25K) OOS/or instate

Hi All,

I have always loved the comments on this site…My son is in his Junior year…Soph. year pulled his grades down terribly, but they are on the upswing. He made honor roll this past 9 weeks.

We are leaning more for smaller-medium size schools (under 25K students)
We are open to anywhere, BUT he loves nature…very outdoorsy. Ideally we need to stay in a budget under 27K. We are in Florida, but he is not 100 sold on FL as his college destination. How important are the essays…he has been through some traumatic life experiences he will talk about on his essay…but how much do colleges look at these in their decisions or do they have weight.

*We need to know the college has some disability center that has experience with students. Some do and some don’t.

Computer Science
2.9-3.1 weighted
24-28 ACT (he got 24 on first time, but 32 on practices) hoping for higher scores…
High functioning autism (aspergers/ADHD)
AP classes
Several letters of recommendations
City Volunteer for years
owns his own business
JROTC, Cross Country Team, Band

Would love to hear any ideas on good colleges you have learned about…
we are tossed with starting at CC or going straight into a college and getting the college life experience…

Open for ideas…

I have a friend in Florida with similar stats. He’s looking at West Florida, Central Florida, Florida Tech, U Tampa, and South Florida.


Florida is a big state. Nature - look at W Carolina. Southern Illinois. U Wyoming. Maybe some other directional stuff like U of North Alabama. Truman State a large reach.

Your problem is low stats don’t = merit.

I’d find schools with other interests. Upwards of half of engineering and CS kids don’t make it and this may happen to yours given his scores. So you’d want fallback majors.

Good luck.

1 Like

This list might prove helpful, and University of Central Florida is on it.

This list may be helpful in terms of some universities that are better known for some of their support services: Colleges with Strong Learning Support Services

Here’s a different list from Fiske’s List of Colleges that are good for learning supports: https://www.collegecountdown.com/choosing-the-right-college-for-you/fiskes-list-of-colleges-with-good-learning-disability-support.html

Have you seen the College Navigator website? (ETA: here’s the link: College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics) It’s done by the federal Department of Education and I think it might be helpful. I looked at FL, GA, SC, NC, TN, AL, MS, LA, and AR and had the upper limit of the 25th percentile for ACT set to 26 and tuition maxed out at $20,000 and came up with 57 colleges (excluding for-profit universities). Most of the colleges are directional publics, but there are some private ones, including Birmingham-Southern, which is featured as one of the Colleges That Change Lives and had a tuition “reset” a few years back.

When you say your son loves nature, does that mean you want a rural campus? Or a wooded campus? Or a campus a certain distance from state/national parks? That can help narrow things down some more. Additionally, if your son does want to leave Florida, how far away is he interested in going? A certain hour drive? Or with a direct flight from your nearest airport? Or…? Does your son want a primarily residential campus? Heavy sports or not?


On College Navigator I reduced tuition to $15k (as I think with room & board you’ll be getting closer to the $27k mark). 24 colleges made the list (same restrictions as above):

Alcorn State (MS)
Arkansas State
Austin Peay State (TN)
Bethune-Cookman U (FL)
Elizabeth City State U (NC)
Florida A&M
Florida Atlantic
Florida Gulf Coast
Henderson State U (AR)
Jackson State U (MS)
Life U (GA)
Mississippi Valley State U
Southern Arkansas U
U. of West Florida
Tougaloo College (MS)
U. of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
U. of Florida Online
U. of Memphis (TN)
U. of New Orleans (LA)
U. of North Carolina at Pembroke
U. of North Florida
U. of North Georgia
U. of Southern Mississippi
Western Carolina U (NC)

That being said, some of the schools that are a bit more expensive might still be possible to get into your financial zone. For instance, Birmingham-Southern is $33,650 for tuition, room & board, but 65% of its students receive merit aid averaging $8,751, bringing the cost down to $24,899. It’s ACT range is 22-29, and if your son is able to raise his ACT score higher, then it seems quite possible that he could make BSC fit within your budget. Also, I would run the NFC for each college to get an estimate of what your family’s cost would be at each school, as that number can vary, and their systems usually will include an approximation of how much merit (if any) would be provided.




He is cool with going anywhere and so are we…:>

thank you!! great stuff

We are looking at western carolina. I’ll def look at others . thanks!

Not into sporty school…he is a computer geek at heart and builds computers all the time from scratch and works PT with computers

Okay, with no geographic restrictions, here are a few I would consider with tuition at less than $15,000:

  • Slippery Rock University (PA )
  • Western Carolina U
  • University of South Dakota
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Lake Superior State University (MI…practically Canada)
  • Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
  • Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Ferris State University (MI)

If we up tuition to $20,000, these are some other possibilities I would consider:

  • Grove City College (PA )
  • SUNY Oneonta (NY)
  • Truman State University (MO)
  • Central College (IA)
  • SUNY Plattsburgh (NY)
  • SUNY Brockport (NY)
  • Mississippi Collge
  • SUNY Oswego (NY)
  • Westfield State U (MA)
  • SUNY Fredonia (NY)
  • University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
  • Louisiana Tech U
  • California State U - Monterey Bay
  • College of the Ozarks
  • Sonoma State U (CA)
  • University of Wisconsin - Stout
  • Bridgewater State U (MA)
  • University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
  • University of Wyoming
  • Tennessee Tech
  • University of Wisconsin - Platteville
  • Minnesota State University - Moorhead
  • SUNY Polytechnic (NY)
  • Murray State University (KY)

They’re all either in a wooded, natural area, or within an hour’s drive or less of state/national forests/parks, or right by a large body of water (ocean, Great Lake, etc), and have a computer science degree, and have at least a 50% graduation rate.


My oldest son is a self-described “computer geek” with high-functioning autism (aspergers/ADHD). He is a junior at FAU. He has had a terrific experience and their Student Accessibility Services group has exceeded our expectations. He got in to UCF, USF and FIU but loved the campus and his specific IT program at FAU. This summer, he has an internship with a global consulting firm. He is very happy there.


University of New Mexico offer automatic merit for your son’s stats:

LUE requires a 2.8 GPA OR 18 ACT/960 SAT
Gives 150% of instate tuition

LUE PLUS requires a 3.0 GPA OR 20 ACT/1030 SAT
Gives instate tuition

AMIGO requires 3.5 GPA AND 23ACT/1130 SAT
OR 3.0GPA AND 26 ACT/1240 SAT
Gives in state tuition plus annual $200 stipend.


UNM Cost of Attendance (in-state, direct costs) is under $21K


love this thanks!

1 Like

I wanted to connect. Lost your cell. Would love to discuss FAU. Our son got in!


Just wanted to say thanks for all your help with this list. My son got into 5 on the list so far!!!


That is great! I am bananas with work until after Thanksgiving. Let’s connect then. I have some good suggestions for you.

1 Like

That’s wonderful; Thanks so much for the update! Are there any favorites so far?


we visit UNF next week - he got in
FAU is in our back yard. He LOVES it and amazing services too
Slippery Rock- gorgeous.
Western Carlina - waiting to see if he gets in in 3 weeks.