Help me find schools that offer scholarships that could take its price to 50k

Trying to build a list of schools, and my budget is 50k absolute max from my parents, they prob are going to put in 40-45k instead. I’m maybe going to be a national merit finalist given my PSAT score, but I’m wondering if there’s any other prestigious or highly ranked schools that have merit scholarships that are less competitive than the full ride ones all over the internet (think half tuition or something) that I could have a shot at given my stats. Keep in mind im not gonna be eligible for any need based aid. Here are the schools already on my list:

Rutgers (in state)

Fordham (NMF full tuition)

Northeastern (NMF half tuition)

Boston University (NMF half tuition)

UNC Chapel Hill (already around 50K OOS)

Boston College (has a full ride that im prob not gonna get but ill shoot my shot)

Demographic: White male, upper middle class, NJ

Expected Major: Business

SAT: 1550 (790 reading, 760 math)

PSAT: 1490 (probably qualifies me for National Merit scholarship)

GPA: 4.57 weighted, 3.96 unweighted

Coursework: 10 APS from sophomore to senior year, most other classes are honors (except in freshman year where they weren’t offered to us)

  • AP Comp sci A - 5
  • AP Bio - 5
  • APUSH - 5
  • AP Comp Sci Principles - 5
  • AP Stat (rest are scheduled for senior year)
  • AP Psych
  • AP Calc AB
  • AP Latin
  • AP Physics 1
  • AP Lit


  • 3x Summa Cum Laude from school (4.3 weighted GPA or higher)
  • Varsity Letter for Cross Country (Junior and Senior year)
  • National Merit Finalist (Not official yet, but expecting it because of my PSAT score)
  • Seal of Biliteracy in Latin
  • AP Scholars award


  • Cross Country (Varsity junior and senior year, but not fast enough to run in college)
  • Winter Track
  • Spring track
  • Volunteer ZOOM tutoring through a club at my school, specifically for lower income families in neighboring city
  • Volunteer in person tutoring at my local church (also for lower income families in neighboring city)
  • Summer job as a slide attendant at my local pool
  • I’m self taught at guitar and play in my free time, build them with my dad
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IU Kelley should be on your list. They have a very well regarded business school and would be a great safety for you and without merit, the OOS COA is $51K/yr.


Which aspect of business. Business isn’t a major. Marketing. Finance. Supply Chain. Accounting. MIS , etc

Tons of schools to meet your needs.

If accounting, a UIUC. Supply Chain - ASU, Michigan State, Tennessee. MIS - Arizona, Indiana.

TCU has great outcomes. W&L has great merit and is highly prestigious. . Miami of Ohio is solid. U of SOuth Carolina is the top Honors College and top International Business Program. FSU is strong in finance.

You can easily beat the $45k. Even the Vandy’s, Emory and Rice level of schools could get you to $50k as could USC if you become NMF. But lots of others can get you far cheaper.

But honestly, unless you are looking for Wall Street, an Alabama Manderson (well respected) or other school that ‘buy’ in hundreds of NMFs a year may be your best bet if you do get NMF. You get paid to go, your parents save a boatload and maybe they can help you buy a house later.

Tell us more about your specific interest vs simply business.


What is your PSAT index score (the number on the report that is in the 200’s)?


You sound like a very strong student. Congratulations on your achievements so far! I think that you will do well wherever you choose to attend for university.

Rutgers is a very good choice in-state. Do not underestimate how strong this university is. It should come in well under your $50,000 budget. When I was in graduate school (at Stanford) there were several other students in the same program who had graduated from Rutgers. I have also worked with a few Rutgers graduates, and they have all made Rutgers look very good. I am not confused into thinking that all Rutgers graduates are as strong as the ones who I have met, but they have certainly made the point that you can get a good education there and you can do well with a degree from Rutgers. If you do end up at Rutgers, you should also be aware that it will be academically challenging, but that your excellent results in high school will prepare you very well to do well there.

With this as your solid safety, I think that you have more freedom in terms of which schools to consider for matches and reaches.

I would run the NPCs and see which universities come out under budget. If you are a national merit finalist this should also help you quite a bit.

The other issue is to think very hard about what you want in a university. You are likely to have quite a few to choose between and getting a good fit is important.

Perhaps my last point is that with no need based aid, some of the very top ranked universities will come out at full pay and will cost way over $50,000 per year. I do not personally believe that Harvard or MIT or Stanford would be worth taking on the difference in debt (even if I do have degrees from two of these three schools). That much debt would be debilitating. It would be much better to get an affordable education under budget, and then get a master’s degree (which only takes one or two years) from a top ranked school.


SUNY Binghamton could be a solid option - it has good OOS rates. Agree with IU Kelley as another solid addition to your list.

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Rutgers is a great choice. Their business school is well regarded and even without a merit award your cost would be under $30k/year.

A couple of other choices to consider…

Match: UMD - you may get their $12k OOS award bringing the cost to about $45k

Reach: GeorgiaTech - getting merit as an OOS is hard but COA is about $50k


Having a varied list of schools you apply to will help you compare merit offers next April. It sounds like you have figured out to not apply anywhere that only meets need unless you have run the NPC and the finances line up.

Figure out your NMF # to make sure you are in the top of the range for NJ, English score x2 plus Math score and then remove the zero.

Try to get past the idea of prestige when merit hunting to get to $50,000 or well below, if really needed (are they taking out loans to get to $50,000?). There are some smaller privates and state flagships that will be excited to have you and will give you offers to get you there.

You fall into a similar category of many applicants, so to maximize merit you need to go somewhere where you will stand out.

Here are few to consider:

Rollins - they have some merit rounds that may work

Furman - their merit will get you to $50,000 at least.

UofSC - Columbia, mentioned above, has a top honors College and well respected business school. It has become more selection recent years so apply in early Fall at the latest. The international business major has some amazing semester or year abroad programs.

UNH has a solid business school and they are investing in their honors college to further increase the offerings. Their merit and business school scholarships will most likely get you down to $30,000 (or less) based on your stats. The train on campus goes into Boston and they have a program to spend a semester in Boston.

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Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Alabama all have great business schools and love NMF.
Great stats, obviously you have worked very hard.

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My selection index for NJ is 223, which should be in the clear as far as I know. In regards to the 50k question, I think its that my parents are willing to contribute at most 50k if they really had to, to send me to a school that they would view as better than my in state (rutgers). Northeastern and BU fall into this category, UNC would be a more difficult talk with them because its far away (plane ride). 50k is obviously not ideal for them, but they are considering making it work afaik, I don’t think they like the idea of me taking loans.


Would you be willing to go further away if the total cost of attendance including travel would be under $50k? Furman, as someone suggested, would get you there. Or would you prefer to stay closer to home?

Are you open to LACs or would you prefer mid to large schools?

When hunting merit sometimes you need to make compromises, but you still need to be happy where you land. For example, my D compromised on location and ended up at a rural campus when she preferred suburban. But everything else aligned close enough and the money was right. She has been happy with her choice and in fact has enjoyed the outdoor activities available near campus.

So if you would like more targeted suggestions, tell us more about your preferences and make note of any that are non-negotiable.

I’ll also suggest that once you identify safety/matches (considering acceptance, fit and affordability) then give some of the competitive scholarships a try if you are willing to do the extra essays and interviews. You have a strong application so it is worth taking your shot. :grinning:


Some colleges have business as a major, with marketing, finance, etc. as subarea options within it. Others have each area as a major.

Yes I understand. But in the end he is looking for prestigious and highly ranked. A Bus Admin degree with a concentration or sub area…like a babson…still has areas they are more known for.

OP could spend $20k a year or spend $10k on average incl travel with NMF. But it’s not gonna give him the prestige or ranking it appears he wants.

But I ask the area because for example, no one will rate UIUC top 10 but if you’re going for accounting, it’s arguably #1.

Eller at AZ is a fine school but it’s not top 10. But if your major is MIS then guess what…you can’t do better. And for OP it’s $20-22k with the nicest Honors dorm you can imagine.

If OP is telling us UNC won’t work due to the flight, is that distance or it’s already at budget ? If distance then OP is really looking for a Babson or Gtown or Penn but none will make cost. So it’s Rutgers and then other fine schools that won’t give the rank he wants…Penn State, UVM, UMASS, UNH, Pitt etc.

Truth is there are Ivy caliber kids at pretty much every state flagship that go for their own reasons…cost, close to home, etc. that’s why they have Honors Colleges. And OP should understand the direct admit vs non direct admit programs…why so many love IU but others may not pursue UNC unless the minor will suffice.

If distance isn’t an issue as long as the price doesn’t exceeds budget then the list can be a lot more expansive.

Op can u answer that on distance from home , your sub area if you have one and @DramaMama2021 on openness to various environments …size, population density, etc



Fordham and Northeastern offer NMF scholarships…but it’s competitive to get those, they’re not automatically given to NMF students. Also, the BU scholarship is for $25,000/year which is less than half tuition, and the wording did not make it abundantly clear if meeting the eligibility criteria would make it an automatic award (source). But $25k would bring the price to about $53k for COA.

If you’re interested in Northeastern, you might want to take a look at Drexel at it also has a big focus on co-ops, and I think chances are quite likely that it will fall under $50k for COA for you. U. of Cincinnati is another school that has a big co-op focus and its COA is within budget even before any merit comes into play.

Some other schools that you may want to look into where you stand a decent chance of getting the COA under $50k are:

Fairfield (CT)
Bryant (RI)
Saint Joseph’s (PA )

Also, if you do qualify as a NMF, New Jersey Institute of Technology grants a full tuition scholarship.


What about Pitt? If you apply early, you have a decent chance of getting merit aid there.

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If we had a 50K budget, my #3 kid would have chosen out of everything university of Colorado. It’s well thought of; and gorgeous; might come in around those numbers. You are doing great; good luck on your search.

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For me, it’s a combo of things. The biggest deciding factor is money. So if the school is 50k and a plane ride away, my parents are more hesitant. If it’s 30k and a plane ride away, that’s more open to discussion with them. Since business is such a prestige heavy major, I’m focused on going to the school with the best program


On Fordham’s website when it was talking about NMF and the full tuition it said something along the lines of “70% of people who apply with this status get it” although I’m interested about what you said with northeastern because they have had conflicting accounts online about the value of the scholarship. If BU is always 25k, maybe I focus on that rather than northeastern

Seconded. We’re in NJ, and one of my kids couldn’t stand the idea of applying to Rutgers (where a huge number of high school classmates were headed) but was happy to apply to Bing. Cost would have been cheaper than Rutgers too. She didn’t attend but it was an excellent option and would have been a bargain.