Financials of Tufts Families

Hello all.

Was recently working with my HS sophomore about early stages of college search. One of the schools that seemed interesting was Tufts. She plays soccer, and has a 4.0 UW GPA in classes that are all AP or honors.

My question though is really around the finances. Is Tufts truly a zero merit school? The price is so extremely high (80K?), and I had to wonder, who can actually afford it? I would think it would mostly be families who are making so little that they get a ton of financial aid, or families with a ton of money. Those in the middle, seem unlikely to be able to afford it.

We’re one of those middle-class families where the FAFSA process considers us very wealthy (we’re not) and we have a very high EFC number. This would mean very little financial aid from an 80K school.

Are there stories of families who have gotten aid beyond their EFC number? Or merit, or athletic help? Or are there families/students willing to take on huge debt for Tufts?


If I remember correctly from the CDS, Tufts awarded an average of $3000 of non-need aid to about 30 freshmen.

I just looked it up and Tufts has a 11.4% acceptance rate with a mid 50% sat from 1460-1560. They don’t need to give out merit. It is shocking when you start this with your first child but these schools are very difficult admits for even top students and they are shockingly expensive.


Tufts aid exactly matched my EFC


First sentence on their website:

Financial aid for undergraduate students in the School of Arts & Sciences and School of Engineering is awarded entirely based on financial need.

This is why many choose other schools. Either you can’t afford it…or like many, you don’t want to afford it. Many of us didn’t let our kids even apply to need only schools- which is your Ivies, Tufts, high end LACs from Bowdoin toFranklin & Marshall, etc. Why spend $325K when you can spend $100K or $150K or $200K.


This is true of many very selective private colleges. There is no (or almost none) merit aid and your EFC might be more than you can afford. It sounds as if you are a donut hole family.

The unfortunate reality is that you need to explore affordable options. Your daughter might receive some very lucrative scholarships, but not at Tufts.

Start a thread in the search and selection forum. Provide your D’s stats, her academic interests, her desired location, etc… Provide your financial information so we can help you find affordable colleges. You can also find a lot of threads in this subject. Try searching schools known for good merit aid.

It’s good to be aware of this now. The most important factor is affordability. She can’t go if you can’t pay, so don’t let her fall in love with unrealistic colleges.


Those who are able to pay the full cost of attendance for Tufts may appreciate this Forbes article:

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Highly selective colleges do not give merit aid. Who would be deserving of the “merit?” Every person who goes there has a ~ 4.0 HS GPA and top scores. It’s really, really good that you have started thinking about this while your daughter is a sophomore. Keep in mind that “merit” aid is not a reward for your child’s high GPA. It is a bribe to come to the school. A college that wants to attract a higher level of student than it normally attracts will offer “merit” aid to raise the average GPA/SAT of incoming students. To get merit, she has to apply to colleges for which is in the top 10% of applicants.


This isn’t quite accurate. There are a number of highly selective schools that offer merit. And it’s not a bribe as their stats are already super high.


Which are some of those and how many merit scholarships do they offer?


I second the question from @tristatecoog . What I said applies in almost all instances and can be taken as a general rule. That said, yes, WashU, Vanderbilt, and similar selective, non-Ivy colleges award a tiny number of non-need-based scholarships to snag a few students who they have assessed would otherwise end up at HYP. These scholarships exist, but their existence is not an admission strategy when, for example, at Vanderbilt 1% of the incoming class is awarded a merit scholarship.


You should try a few of the NPCs at some of the schools your child is interested in to get a sense of the potential cost. Typically top schools don’t offer merit and among those that do, it is competitive. Figure out how much you can (and want) to pay for college so you can identify schools that meet that number (either with or without merit). The rule of thumb here is that you mostly get big merit from schools that are somewhat less selective and where your child will be among the top applicants.

My kids chased merit. My daughter and her friends decided to visit Villanova after a big basketball win, and she decided to apply because she loved the campus. She was getting large merit awards from the less selective safeties she was applying to, so when she got her merit award for Villanova honors, she was taken back by the $0. Safety school for her!

Merit at Nova is very competitive.

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Univ of Rochester offered me a great scholarship

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Boston College too

Can you share the details / amounts?
And were you an athlete? Or was it purely gpa and test scores? Or something else


Sure - they offered me 35,000. I’m not an athlete. I think it was combinations of grades, test scores, interview and application essays. (this was two years ago) I hear my LOR were excellent.

My aid award was 1k over my efc but my fafsa efc was a bit high for what we can afford

UofR offer grant 30k. Does that mean the grant is only got one year?