Very small colleges offering good merit aid?

CSU has about 30,000 students, so a lot bigger than OP is looking for. It’s also cold some of the time.

Yes fair points. I will never know what it’s like to be in another’s shoes. But I’ve never read a bad first hand story. I see too many eliminating it based on heresay. We are Jewish and were impressed by the inclusiveness that included other minorities. But again none of us knows what another feels. Sorry for my insensitivity.

Many schools, btw, are tied to racist figure. W&L is taking some naming steps but did not change the school name. I’m sure they looked at that from brand strength.

AnywY I was not trying to minimize anything. But I think some rush to judgement and should see a school through their own eyes, not that of another.

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Oops. I meant to say Fort Lewis College in Durango CO.


Re: Ft Lewis College.

Durango can get quite cold in the winter. There have been occasions when the region has the coldest temperatures in the contiguous US. (Colder even than Minnesota.) Snow begins as early as September. )

Also, Greek life is notable absent at Ft. Lewis.

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:cold_face: brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

(I guess we can strike that one)

Would Bucknell be too cold and big (only 3500ish)?

Washington & Jefferson may be too cold, but they gave my D a ton of merit and continued to pile it on until she declined. They do have Greek life. Enrollment <1500.


I agree with @Sweetgum suggestion of Furman for merit. My D received the most “non-competitive” merit from Furman… the Townes scholarship $35k with acceptance and another $10k later. This got her COA around $22k, I believe. They also have a competitive full tuition scholarship, James B Duke scholars.

The campus leans conservative, but I’m told the student body is accepting of all by the kids we know there (my D’s school sends 2-3 kids there most years). This was also stressed to us by our self-described liberal tour guide from the Chicago burbs. It has Greek dorms (not houses). Beautiful campus not far from Greenville SC, which is a wonderful small city. Cafes and restaurants are a bike ride/walk away in Travellers Rest.

When merit is the primary goal, there may be some tradeoffs. :slight_smile:


Bucknell’s largest scholarship is $30,000 – Presidential fellowship. With a COA of just under $75,000, you can’t get down to the OP’s number.

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It’s been a couple of years but we had the same budget. My D applied to small LACs and she got the best merit from Southwestern U (TX), Centre (KY), Knox (IA) and Trinity (TX). COA in 2016 after her scholarship offers was 20k for Southwestern and 25k for the other schools. She attended Southwestern and I recommend it. She had similar stats to your D and a bunch of AP credit, studied abroad twice, graduated in 3 years (incl one summer study abroad), landed a dream job in her field after graduation, and is starting a PhD program now. She got a great education at Southwestern. It’s a great small school and it sounds from your description of your D that it may be a good fit for her.

Other schools on my D’s list that at least offered competitive full tuition scholarships were U of Puget Sound, Clark University, Lewis and Clark but in the end they all landed in the range of $40k after merit scholarships.


My daughter is similar in stats to yours and is interested in Elon. Elon’s highest merit scholarship, to my knowledge, is competitive and $19,500. COA is $51k. I’m thinking my daughter is more likely to get the $7500 merit package. Consideration for the higher one would be a bonus. But I don’t think you can get under $30k on merit aid alone.


I second Southwestern. Southwestern is just up the road from Austin and they really shower top students with merit.

Seconding or thirding suggestion of Furman. Good financial opportunities for high stats, absolutely beautiful campus, enough open minded students that she could find her group, Greek life and from my class of '21 son’s experience the professors are top notch and very caring. I think he had one professor he didn’t like over 4 years and that was a new professor who didn’t return the next year. Also will add in addition to scholarships he was able to bring costs down some by using lower meal plan (after Freshman required unlimited plan), by being an RA (housing cost reduction and stipend paid) and by having an on-campus job.

My D21 received significant merit $ from Furman, but got even more money from Wofford. Active greek life, 1800 students and the weather is hard to beat.


Probably colder than you want but Beloit and Juniata both has strong merit aid programs

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Wofford merit aid for my son was the best of any school, plus they also gave some financial aid. It came down to a low 30’s number as a frame of reference.

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I think Baldwin Wallace would be a near perfect fit, except its cold for normal people (but downright balmy compared to Minnesota!). Shenandoah in Virginia potentially. My son is looking at the same issues and is similar in description but is very anti religion. These schools checked all the boxes and we learned about religious stuff because he wanted to make sure it was not too overwhelming. A decent trick to find some less common schools good for LGBT kids is look for schools with good theater programs!

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You might want to check out Rhodes College in Memphis. Small, beautiful campus. Good merit aid.


Good suggestion. Rhodes meets a lot of the OPs asks… small, Greek life, TN weather, accepting student body… but I believe the highest merit scholarship would get the COA around $26k, which is over budget.