Where to get a $15k-20k net cost when students have 1000 SAT and 3.0 GPA? Besides a CC.

Where to get a $15k-$20k net cost when students have 1000 SAT and 3.0 GPA? …Besides a community college.

I often hear from parents of average students wanting affordable options. Parents might be able to contribute $10k-15k, student might be able to contribute $2k from summer earnings, and student can borrow $5500 for frosh year.

I know that the frequently mentioned big merit schools often require much higher stats, but here and there I will hear about some small private or some OOS lesser-known public, but I’d like to create a list here for others who are searching for such schools.

Again, remember that the net costs should be between $15k-20k after merit and a fed loan.

Maybe we can list such hidden gems by region…

West coast

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I’m in the northeast, and there aren’t a lot of choices that I’m aware of. Directional universities would work. In CT, Southern, Eastern, Central would come in in that range and would accept students with those stats. UMaine’s flagship match might work with a 3.0 and an 1120 SAT.

For parents who pretend that having the student live at home and commute costs $0 (even though the student consumes food and utilities and has commuting costs, although it may be similar to the costs of the student in high school), then those who live near an academically suitable in-state public within reasonable commuting range will find the answer there. Even if properly accounting for costs of living at home and commuting, some parents may find the nearby in-state public to be within that budget (for example, most CSUs in California are between $15k and $20k list price for California residents living with parents, including several thousand dollars for living and commuting costs).

Of course, some may not have the option, if there is no in-state public within reasonable commuting range, or any such school does not offer the desired academic programs and majors, or any such school happens to be too selective (e.g. the only in-state public within reasonable commuting range is the state flagship that is unlikely to admit a 3.0 HS GPA / 1000 SAT / 19 ACT student).

I think University of Memphis would probably fall into this category.

Looks like University of Memphis living in the cheapest dorm with full meal plan and taking 15 credits per semester is about $18k per year for Tennessee residents, $25k per year for non-residents, not including books, travel, and miscellaneous costs.

The instate PASSHE school my S attends is about $26,000 a year for tuition (15 credits) , fees, room and board. If student takes direct loan and works in summer, that might leave a net price of about $18,000-20,000.
Penn State and Pitt branches charge about the same for tuition, fees and housing. Or if student can commute they can pay tuition and fees only, about $15,000.
Merit scholarship might be possible here as well.
Lycoming, Susquehanna, Geneva, Messiah and some other smaller privates give generous merit and need based aid.
My S got a merit scholarship from his public school but his GPA was above 3.5 and SAT above 1100.

University of Toledo

$22,984 annual in state direct costs (tuition & fees, room, board)
less any automatic in state merit aid - grid starts at $1,000 for a 2.75 gpa with 20 ACT/1030 SAT, bumps to $3,500 for a 3.0 with 23 ACT/1130 SAT and goes as high as $6,000 for better stats

$32, 344 annual out of state direct costs (tuition & fees, room, board)
less automatic merit for oos merit aid - grid starts at $9,500 for a 2.75 gpa with 20 ACT/1030 SAT, bumps to $12,000 for a 3.0 with 23 ACT/1130 SAT and goes as high as $14,500 for better stats http://www.utoledo.edu/admission/freshman/scholarships/2019/out-of-state.html

For instate only students? And would the goal net costs work? During a quick look at a couple of the Conn directionals, I’m not seeing much/any merit

@thumper1 what do you know about merit opportunities at the directional/regional Conn publics?

I helped a friend recently to look for schools with lower merit thresholds: Youngstown State and Southeastern Louisiana offered pretty good merit, even for OOS. You might also check out York and Arcadia, both in PA.

In the west, U of NM’s Amigo Scholarship provides in state rates for OOS students with the following stats:

23 ACT (1130 SAT) and 3.5 Unit GPA or 26 ACT (1230 SAT) and 3.0 Unit GPA

Full COA of only 20k or less does not appear to be possible at public universities in Maryland for in-state students unless they can find a way to get a very low cost for housing, meals, books, materials, transportation, etc. Happykid had a cheerful landlord in Towson who probably never knew how many students were squeezed into the two apartments in that old Victorian house.

MD public universities likely to admit a 3.0 GPA and 1000 SAT applicant. After the Fed Loan, some of these might just scrape in under 20k. For 15k or less, the kid will need to start at a CC then transfer.
Bowie State U https://www.bowiestate.edu/files/resources/2019-2020-fa-cost-of-attendance-information-041619.pdf
Coppin State U https://www.coppin.edu/financialaid/attendance_cost#u1
Frostburg U - need to click through to get housing/meal costs https://www.frostburg.edu/admissions-and-cost/tuition-and-fees/Undergraduate-Tuition-and-Fees.php
Morgan State U - no estimate included for books/materials/transportation/personal expenses https://www.morgan.edu/finance_and_management/office_of_the_bursar/tuition_and_fees/fall_2019_-_spring_2020.html
Salisbury U https://www.salisbury.edu/afford-college/tuition-and-fees.aspx
Towson U COA https://www.towson.edu/admissions/tuition/cost.html
U of Maryland Eastern Shore https://www.umes.edu/Comptroller/Pages/Tuition-and-Fees/

In Oklahoma, Northeastern State University has a COA of $18,848 for 15 credit hours per semester, living on campus. (Off campus is actually more expensive.) Tahlequah is actually a nice little college town. Auto-admit for a 2.7 GPA or 20 ACT.

West Texas A&M
Several Dakota colleges
Chadron State in Nebraska, also other Nebraska state schools

Just s few that come to mind. You have to cast a wide net and be willing to travel to areas that may be unfamiliar. But, yes, it’s possible

I don’t know anything about merit awards at our four CT State University campuses…Except that there are no guaranteed awards.

To the OP…I’m wondering if Plymouth State In NH might be a possibility.

The easiest way is to not pay room and board, so a local in state university just paying the tuition, books, and fees should easily get you in under $20K.

Mississippi University for Women - now coed despite the name. OOS tuition same as instate, total costs for tuition, fees, room, and board less than $16,000.

Mom2- why not community colleges? For a kid who’s a late bloomer-- maybe saving money Freshman and sophomore year to then have the funds (for the flagship? a private?) for the last two years- sometimes that’s the much stronger option, no? Not every college is going to be a “hidden gem” even if it comes in below your price tag and nobody in your community has ever heard of it. Sometimes it’s just a small, regional college with a low price tag that has a decent major in K-12 education, a well regarded Mass Communications program and a good accounting/finance major. Going out of state to such a “hidden gem” isn’t always the right call for a kid who might not be interested in one of the three or four strong programs even if it comes in under budget.

In the New England area, there are plenty of options at less selective schools…Merrimack, Stonehill, Endicott, Curry, Regis College, Lasell, Bryant, Nichols, Suffolk, etc. They are not highly selective or super rigorous, but they are safe campuses that provide solid degrees and can give the C+/B- students a chance at a reasonable price after significant merit money. Most kids receive $20-25K of merit because these schools need students to fill their seats and they want to provide an education at a reasonable price.

Most don’t require the CSS profile. I suggest parents look carefully at the number of full professors…if you see too many “Adjunct Professors or Lecturers” look elsewhere. They are paid just a few thousand dollars for each course and many teach at several area colleges to pay their bills. This is important because they may not have flexible office hours for kids that need extra support.
If these are too expensive, consider state colleges and live at home…Framingham State, Salem State, Worcester State in Massachusetts. Transfer to a bigger/better name after 2 years if you can, as these schools don’t attract the best companies for recruiting graduating seniors.

Unversity New Hampshire just released info that their enrollments decreased by 10% last year, especially in their School of Management & Economics because their primary competition at UMASS/Isenberg siphoned off more kids than expected.

One of the advantages to Ohio having so many public school options is that if you are instate in Ohio you have a pretty good shot at having a 4 year university you can commute to. Youngstown State, U of Akron, Kent State, Cleveland State, U of Toledo, Bowling Green State, Wright State, Shawnee State all would accept students with those stats and would be less than $15k per year if you commuted. Other options would be the 20 some plus branch campuses of OSU, Miami and Ohio University. Southeast Ohio is the closest to being an education desert to such a student though OU has branches in Chillicothe and St. Clairsville with dorms available. I doubt they would be under $15-20 though.

In the West, UNM

Beside the Amigo Scholarship that @mamaedefamilia mentioned. UNM offers WUE scholarships to residents of western states (CO, AZ, NV, CA, UT, OR, WA, ID, WY, MT, HI) and LUE and LUE PLUS scholarship to students in the rest of country.

WUE and LUE recipients play 1.5 times in-state rates (or $11,550 tuition)
LUE PLUS recipients get $15,464 in merit (or close to in-state tuition rates)

WUE: 19 ACT (990 SAT) and 3.0 Unit GPA.
LUE: 19 ACT (990 SAT) and 3.0 Unit GPA.
LUE Plus: 22 ACT (1100 SAT) and 3.0 Unit GPA.


Eastern New Mexico State University  (Portales, NM)
OOS COA: $16,688/year
<a href="https://www.enmu.edu/admission/tuition-and-fees">https://www.enmu.edu/admission/tuition-and-fees</a>

Western New Mexico State University (Silver City,  NM)
OOS COA: $23,967
Numerous OOS scholarships available. Scholarship calculator on FA page.
<a href="https://admissions.wnmu.edu">https://admissions.wnmu.edu</a>

U of South Dakota OOS is $22k, South Dakota State OOS is $21k, U of North Dakota $24k, Winona State OOS $25k, Bemidji State $19k and a bunch of other small, out-state MN schools are similar. Many of the WI state schools are $25k OOS, more or less. In fact in many systems you can find a bunch of $25k options that drop below $20k once you take your federal $5.6k. You’re not going to have a lot of luck paging through USNWR rankings, but if you just want to go to college you should be able to do it by rooting around rural America.