Not "The Best" Business Programs

I’m a parent, but would love any match ideas for my son HS class of 24, maybe something to look up to (but not out of reach)

US domestic
Public HS
White male

Intended Major(s)
Something along the lines of economics, subject to change

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.5 and likely rising
  • Class Rank: Unknown
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 25ish ACT

*AP Psych - 5, AP English Language - 3 so far; this year taking AP Literature, AP US History, AP Human Geography, AP Calculus and will take economics class through community college online (only option for college level economics), intends to take AP Government and college level statistics and try and get in some high school level Spanish and a college level science

Marching band - baritone, concert band - trombone; would like to participate in college

Cost Constraints / Budget
Unknown (Sorry, I have no idea how much if any his father will contribute, and I hear they are changing the FAFSA to use info on whichever parent makes the most, which would also be his father, but if they don’t change it, and it is based on my income, we are in pell grant territory)

Should be convenient to good medical care, which is necessary
Should have plenty of options for gluten-free dining
Not conservative nor religious


This is where I’d like help - I’d like to make a nice long list of schools with good programs that offer a decent chance of admission.

Stay in state -you have fine schools - UK, Louisville, WKU, Murray State, EKU, Morehead State

OOS - Marshall, S Illinois, UAH could all be affordable - depending on what affordable is.

You may want to look at some of the Ohio schools (Toledo, Bowling Green, Akron, Ohio U) or PA schools such as West Chester, Millersville.

Really - you need a budget first and foremost - and sounds like you don’t have that.

Good luck.



Perhaps University of Alabama. Checks several of your boxes beyond being potentially affordable (particularly if GPA and test score can improve) and accessible for a student with stats such as your son.

“Not the best” but dedicated undergraduate business resources…

Well established food allergy and gluten free dining options…

Numerous healthcare options in the area that seem to receive quality reviews…

Plenty of band options…

Alabama (like your home state) is conservative but several posters have commented that the school itself is relatively progressive. You should take note of the schools broader demographic make up to see if it offers what your son is looking for relative to other schools.

“The enrolled student population at The University of Alabama, both undergraduate and graduate, is 75.1% White, 11% Black or African American, 4.94% Hispanic or Latino, 3.4% Two or More Races, 1.44% Asian, 0.336% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.0819% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders.”

Good luck!!

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If you’re not familiar with the FARE website, it’s a great resource to see how many schools do with respect to food for students with allergies. If you select a school’s name (or include it in a comparison) you will see about 14 categories rather than the 4 categories that are listed on the directory page.

Some schools you might want to look into are:

  • Butler (IN) - Indianapolis has tons of medical facilities and options
  • Knox (IL) - there’s a medical center, but does your son need multiple medical center options available? If so, please let us know. This school is part of the Colleges That Change Lives association. You may want to browse and see if there are other schools of interest and to learn more about the association. They’re smaller schools (usually about 2k or under) with a focus on undergraduate education and tend to be a bit more nurturing, and usually accept at least half of applying students.
  • Bradley (IL)

But @tsbna44 is right…you definitely want to take a good thorough look at your in-state publics. They’ll probably end up the least expensive just in terms of sticker prices, and may be more apt to be more generous with merit aid, too.

Also, how far away is he interested in going? For instance, another possibility could be Clark in MA which is another CTCL member.

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I think at each school your diet can be controlled - for example - here is WKU.

Everyone can give you school ideas - but until we know the budget, it doesn’t matter much because you have to be able to afford where you go, regardless of environment.

I also included income from the state - to help support a low income student.

glutenguide.pdf (

KHEAA-Administered Programs :: Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

The University of Dayton may fit a lot of your requests.

  • It is a reasonable fit for admissions odds, given your son’s GPA/ACT
  • For students interested in Business/Finance UDayton has the largest student-directed investment fund in America.
  • It has a Business Economics major which would seem to suit your son well. It also has an Economics major outside of the Business school.
  • It ranks highly for its Entrepreneurial program/opportunities for students that seek that. Being in the Top50 on Princeton-Reviews.
  • It is not a school that uses the CSS Profile. Unlike FAFSA, universities using the CSS Profile will almost certainly take into account your son’s father’s income for Financial Aid calculations. Because UDayton does not utilize the Profile, your son, as a Pell Grant eligible student, should receive significantly more FinAid at UDayton compared to schools that use the CSS Profile.
  • UDayton ranks very highly for campus dining. It’s #10 on the Princeton Reviews site. I’m not certain about the specific questions you raise, but the school seems to rank higher than middle of the pack on the FARE website. It achieves 11 of 14 accommodations for students with food allergies.
  • UDayton is only blocks away from Miami Valley Hospital, a large hospital with over 7000 employees.
  • It is a Catholic university (Marianist, to be exact) but my son, who is agnostic and a student at UD, feels very comfortable about that aspect of the school. In 2+years on campus, he has no complaints about the school being too religious.

As you expand your search, I would suggest you keep the private schools in two separate categories - schools that use only FAFSA for Financial Aid calculations and schools that use CSS Profile. If the father of the student has a higher income, you’ll probably want to avoid applying to too many schools that use the CSS Profile, because the FinAid is going to be less likely to match your need.

There are not going to be many OOS Public universities and/or Private Colleges likely to be affordable for your son - unless your budget exceeds $20K/yr, nearly all of the OOS Public schools will be unaffordable. However, after he nails down his affordable in-state options, UD is not a bad option to shoot for. My son was in a similar situation in 2020, not having tippy-top exceptional stats but requiring a ton of FinAid to go OOS or Private.

A few other schools (that use the FAFSA but not the CSS Profile, and that are not out of reach reaches for your son’s stats) to consider are Manhattan College, Marist, St Joseph’s (Philadelphia), Butler, Bradley, Marquette, Ursinus, Allegheny, U of Tulsa and St Louis U. Some are Catholic affiliated, but I discovered that some of the private schools that offer the most FinAid included many such schools. Not every Catholic school has the same level of religiosity on campus, so it makes sense to keep some on the table.

Many of the schools I listed made themselves affordable for me - Like you I’m also a Pell Grant single parent and Cost Of Attendance (for us specifically) was the #1 factor for every school we considered. There’s no guarantee the results will be the same for you and your son, but they should at least be on your initial list to investigate to see if they might fit your son’s other stipulations.

Best of luck to you and your son.

EDIT: Class size was a very important consideration when looking for options for S20. I was satisfied UDayton had the smaller classes I wanted for him, and that turned out to indeed be true. His freshman year, he had 2 or 3 classes each semester with 11-15 students in the classroom. He’s had (what I consider to be) a great academic professor-to-student experience so far.


I haven’t been able to find anything to support that statement online. @kelsmom is there such a change?

Kentucky awards students $3,200 in need based financial aid on a first come first served basis and to apply you need to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after it opens Oct. 1. see KHEAA-Administered Programs :: Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority So it is important that you familiarize yourself with the FAFSA now, so you will be prepared to file as soon as possible if you are the parent that must file FAFSA.

Does your child live with you or your spouse more days in the year?

"Divorced or Separated Parents Who Do Not Live Together

If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived with more during the past 12 months.

If you lived the same amount of time with each divorced or separated parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent 12 months that you actually received support from a parent."

from Federal Student Aid

Similarly, the Kentucky site reiterates that in its instructions.

Mark Kantrowicz, a FAFSA expert, says: “Under the new rules, the parent who provides the most financial support to the child in the prior-prior tax year is the one who should file the FAFSA. If this isn’t definitive, Kantrowitz thinks that the U.S. Department of Education will issue guidance basing the determination of the custodial parent on whichever parent has the greater adjusted gross income (AGI).”

Thank you for responding so quickly! If a parent has full custody/student resides in home for school year and child support payments are less than half of household expenses would that parent be the one to file then?

I hope DOE issues guidance sooner rather than later!

Linked below is a new (and good) summary of the FAFSA Simplification Act changes.

The info re: parent who provides greatest support in cases of divorce/separation becoming FAFSA filer (next year when this change takes effect), is on page 8.

Until the FSA amendments takes effect, dependent students with divorced or separated parents typically report only the financial information of the parent the student lived with more frequently during the prior year. In cases in which the parent for whom the student reports information has remarried, the information of the stepparent is included on the FAFSA.
Under the FSA amendments, a student with divorced or separated parents will report information on “the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support.” In cases where the relevant parent is remarried, information on the stepparent will continue to be collected on the FAFSA.

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If the Gluten issue is a severe allergy or a Celiac condition, do the research (as @Catcherinthetoast w/respect Alabama’s stand-alone gluten free food station) and don’t assume any school will actually accommodate safely. A lot of restaurants and school food service will say they have G-free options, but when you put the fear of God into them by noting a medical condition, many will back off and fess up that their processes don’t really eliminate the possibility of x-contamination. With 3 celiacs in the family, we actually eliminated schools on this basis, especially if the town had few or no safe restaurant options. Some schools take it very seriously; others are just trying to sound like they’re with it and mostly just go through the motions.

This is a huge generalization coming at you, but we have found that the southeastern US is harder than other parts of the country for this challenge.

A poster mentioned Berea, which has a Business Admin. major and is supposedly the only school in the country that doesn’t charge tuition. The admission rate of 33% is lowish, but the testing profile seems within reach.

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It is celiac. Thanks I’d love any info you can give.

We kinda go for the least likely to be contaminated things at the places that have the least sources of contamination strategy.

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I have no great advice beyond doing what I’m sure you already do when you go out to a restaurant: test the waiter. Don’t be low key about it by just asking about GF options. Instead, make the point loudly and proudly that it’s Celiac, and if you get a blank stare, use “severe allergy” (even though that’s not a precisely correct description) and then step back and see how they respond about their processes. For example, at Wes, where one my Celiacs attended, they showed us the prep and handling process and the due diligence they do with respect to GF pre-packaged items. That’s what we needed. We also critically assessed restaurant options. Middletown was and is full of safe restaurants. Surprisingly, in Northampton, MA, where the same kid spent a year, options were very limited and it was a real challenge even though Smith itself does a pretty good job of it.

With my Celiacs, choosing among the same one or two safe options day in and day out with no reasonable alternatives for variety catches up with them and becomes a source of angst. That was the year in Northampton. Your son’s MO may be different. But I would press the campus options aggressively and satisfy yourself that they know what they’re doing.