Utah State isn’t the biggest name school but they have good engineering and IIRC they have done more projects with NASA than any other school.
They also give very good automatic merit aid.
Here’s a link to the lab so you can see what it is all about.
To be clear here, this isn’t really Utah State University that received a $1B contract. It is the Space Dynamics Laboratory, which is a University-Affiliated Research Center (UARC). It’s like the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins or the Georgia Tech Research Institute. UARCs like these already have massive federal budgets, as they are federally-sponsored entities. Very little of those funds typically find their way into student programs unless it is through programs like internships since UARCs are separate business entities.
From what I understand through my uncle (Stanford PhD, former department chair at another university) they do a very good job at training practicing engineers. About 20% of that lab’s workforce are students.
The school and area are so homogeneous, that our son never considered it. It came up though when we were discussing the University of Utah.
20% is unusually high for a UARC, so kudos to them. That totals about 180 students who work there. I’d be willing to bet that most are graduate students, but the data aren’t that granular on their website.