what colleges can my daughter apply to

Is that $50k for $200k pre-tax or post-tax income? If it’s pre-tax then that’s just ridiculous! Middle class families, i.e. most of us, have the hardest time paying for college. If you are rich it doesn’t matter because you can afford it; If you are poor, it doesn’t matter either as you can get a free ride most anywhere. But if you are neither rich nor poor, you pay through the nose!

It sounds like the OP’s daughter might be interested in med school? If that’s the case she’d want to get through undergrad as inexpensively as possible. Especially if OP has other children in the pipeline, I would avoid all private schools like a plague. Even with “generous” financial aid, most of these schools will still end up costing a fortune, as their aid will mostly come in the form of loans. The last thing OP would want is to saddle her daughter with loans before grad/med school. A degree in Neurology/neuroscience/biology does not have the best job prospects. The pay is also quite low. You almost need to go on to grad/med school to get a well paying job.

I would consider first and foremost the in-state public university options. Many public universities have scholarships that they do not go out of their way to advertise, but are available to in-students who earn good grades. Next, research state U’s in neighboring states that often have tuition discount agreements with your state. Staying within driving distance also lowers cost for traveling to/from home for the holidays, breaks, summer. Last look to OOS publics that offer good merit aid to top OOS students, such as University of Alabama.

If the OP’s home state is MA, then UMass-Amherst should be the top choice, followed by UMass in other locales.

For OOS options in neighboring states, I would consider:
U of VT
U of CT
U of DE
All are considered part of the “Public Ivies” (top 30 flagship state U’s) if you care about such things.

With this as a weighted GPA, a desire to control costs and potentially future med school costs, the only logical choice is public in-state particularly in a state where the public universities are good.

Also consider SUNY -Buffalo and SUNY Stony Brook. The NY state schools have (relatively) low out of state tuition, which could be reduced further with some merit scholarships (if they offer them). Likely to get some merit scholarships (perhaps not large, due to GPA) at U of VT, and Delaware, and perhaps U Conn. It’s hard to predict if the scholarship $$ will bring out of pocket costs to around $20K at these places. Search their web sites for merit scholarships and criteria. State universities, in general, tend to be fairly transparent about the cutoff grades/scores needed.

Not true that Wellesley offers merit based aid - not sure about Smith and Bryn Mawr.

From the list of schools mentioned by OP:

“UPitt, Washington State(wustl?), Rutgers,
maybe as a reach
Johns hopkins university

I guess OP’s D may be interested in med school because many of these schools are like magnet schools which attract premed students. (I could sense that someone could be a premed wannabe even when he/she is a mile away from me. lol.)

Private colleges are in general more expensive unless you can get a really good deal.

(It may be hypocritical for me to say this because we sent our child to a private one even though our income was almost just a half of OP’s, lol. However, they have more kids.)

Lots of high schoolers think they want to be MD’s. I wouldn’t center plans around it just yet. And med schools are interested in students from the humanities these days.

UMass :slight_smile:

This is a list of public universities with the most generous merit aid:

csdad - 200K income- (between both parents)
mcat2= we are convincing her to find something closer to NE.
mom2collegekids - I can pay upto 20k - what can these colleges provide as FA/loans? or are we even eligible for that



@intparent I don’t think the parents are separated.

The income is too high for FA. And, most publics don’t give need based aid (free money).

You can get a Parent Plus loan, but I don’t think you’re going to want to drown in debt when you also have 2 younger kids.

With a $200k income, your EFC is going to be about $65k per year.

UCONN is $47,000 tuition, room, board for OOS. Very tight with OOS merit and GPA may not qualify. We sent our 2 children to a private LAC with merit aid, was less than in state tuition at UCONN.

Is that $50k for $200k pre-tax or post-tax income? If it’s pre-tax then that’s just ridiculous! Middle class families, i.e. most of us, have the hardest time paying for college. If you are rich it doesn’t matter because you can afford it; If you are poor, it doesn’t matter either as you can get a free ride most anywhere. But if you are neither rich nor poor, you pay through the nose!



@cmsjmt a $200k income isn’t a middle class income.

Yes, it is pretax. Using post-tax income would be misleading since mortgage interest deductions, etc, can make “post tax” income seem a lot lower than the income really is.

The poor cannot “get a free ride most anywhere.” Why would you think that?

I did not see where OP mentioned the exact state of residence, but if it were, say, MA then it might be possible to pay in state tuition to go to UCONN. CT and several New England states have reciprocity where if a particular major is not offered by the public colleges and universities in resident’s home state, the student might be eligible for discounted tuition at the other state’s university.

@enthuparent from our experience (S14) do not count on much Merit from UMass Amherst for an Instate student with those stats ( and I will add that your D has very good stats). S14 had higher GPA and SAT and got the “standard” $2000 Merit award. We were not eligible for need based aid and were unimpressed with the Merit Aid that they gave him. Was not any more that they typical “smart” student with lower stats from his HS received. Nothing special. The only other school on your list that he applied to was Duke and he was not accepted…but as somebody else mentioned Duke has very limited Merit money and I don’t think your daughter would realistically be eligible…admission isn’t a given either. Good luck with her college search. I will echo what sybbie719 and others said…to get merit aid you need to target school that give Merit and that she is in the 75th percentile for stats.

I would like to put a plug in for UT Dallas. They have a good neuroscience program and good acceptance rates to med school. If your daughter is a NMF, it basically would be a full ride. It is a very diverse school and might be a good fit.

I would like to second UT Dallas and also encourage you to consider TX A&M and Baylor if you are named a NMSF.

UT Dallas is very strong in STEM fields, A&M is a top university with many opportunities, and Baylor is a school that students love with lots of school spirit and a nice campus

Travel costs by plane plus room & board should keep your costs less than $20,000. NMF scholarships provide for free tution at these schools.

@jrm815 I think the OP mentions Mass as the home state in another post.

If I remember correctly, UMass schools have strangely low tuition but very, very high fees, so a “free tuition” award is almost meaningless.


A couple of things.

  1. With gross income of $200,000, the EFC will be between 1/4 and 1/3 of that gross income. So...$50,000 would be on the low side,
  2. Just because you are poor does NOT mean you can get a "free ride most anywhere". The very vast majority of colleges do NOT NOT NOT meet full need even for low income students. Many of them find their EFCs to be unaffordable as well.

Two things. First- many schools only consider the unweighted gpa.

Second- why neurosciences for a major? Is it because she is interested in medical school or because she wants to do research in that field? Far too many students are using that as a springboard to medical school- it’s the current biology choice for premed wannabes. She needs to clarify this for herself (not us) when choosing which schools to consider. If only because of the desire to attend medical school/become a physician she needs to realize she will set herself apart from the masses by choosing another major. She may be fascinated by neurosciences (as many of us physicians are) but must also consider what is involved in it. There are many other majors and any suffice for medical school admissions. This field is becoming overcrowded.

And- as pointed out early on in the posts- remember it is your D’s life and she needs to be doing the work in researching her opportunities.

For merit aid, look at U of Rochester.

thank you all. There are so many good pointers and helpful tips here. Now, we are doing a bit of regrouping including going back to fundamentals on how these choices have been made to see if we just hurtled on and picked a major or if there were really other underlying things d wants and she thinks nueroscience meets those. My d doesn’t want to pursue medical per se as she believes blood and such makes her queasy. But she likes the community help, people and especially children interactions aspects. So she thinks her neuroscience work would take her to those opportunities, keep her close to medicine via research but not have to deal with surgery etc; Plus she did some data analyses work during her Tufts internship which is another interesting intersection between neuroscience and data work. So we are trying to sit down and taking another look at related areas to see if she really wants narrow and straight neuroscience. But d has to clarify.

High income, northeast region, and small parental contribution will make finding financially feasable colleges more difficult. Your income will mean that colleges will generally expect you to pay a lot more than $20,000 per year unless their list prices are that low, so your kid needs to seek merit scholarships, but merit scholarships are not as easy to find in the northeast as they are in some other regions of the country.