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teachermom2834

Automatic merit schools (southeast)

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We are building a college list for ds #3. He is wrapping up 10th grade so we still have some time but I’m a planner and scheduling visits is tough so we are thinking about it this summer. What we are basically shooting for is full tuition or close in automatic merit (at a school with reasonable housing cost). He has a 32 superscore ACT now and is going to prep so I’m looking at a 32 as a reasonable place he will be for merit aid. So far the list is:

Out of state:

UA-H

University of Mississippi 

In State

University of Tennessee- Knoxville (really too expensive but still on the list)

Middle TN State

East TN State

Tennessee Tech

He doesn’t want to go too far from home and we don’t have a big budget so the list limits itself pretty easily. He is a good student and has worked hard so I want to make sure he has some options to choose from for sure. Just want to make sure I’m not missing something that might be a good fit. He isn’t a super unique driven kid that is going to wow scholarship committees at big or selective schools.

Oh and he isn’t sure what he wants to do but he loves math. So something with math but he isn’t sure what that will be. He is pretty open minded and I suspect he’d gravitate to whatever is a really great and interesting major wherever he goes. Money is of utmost importance and he will be able to find a major probably anywhere. So at this point that is not the primary concern though will become more so I assume as he moves closer to graduation. 

 

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Other possibilities may include Florida International University and the University of Kentucky. Check them out and see if they might qualify for your list. I have read nice things here on WTM about UA-H and about UKentucky.

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U of South Alabama looks like it has auto merit of full tuition starting at an ACT of 32. A small housing stipend ($2000/yr for 4 yrs) is added at an ACT of 33.

Recheck your list in early August because the schools will often change their scholarships over the summer. (UAH changed theirs last summer, for instance, even though Admissions told prospective families there would be little to no change.)

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53 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

U of South Alabama looks like it has auto merit of full tuition starting at an ACT of 32. A small housing stipend ($2000/yr for 4 yrs) is added at an ACT of 33.

Recheck your list in early August because the schools will often change their scholarships over the summer. (UAH changed theirs last summer, for instance, even though Admissions told prospective families there would be little to no change.)

Oh definitely. I keep saying “if nothing changes”. These schools definitely change up the scholarships. We’ve had that happen and had one school second ds was planning on change it up after he hit the target score. 

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On 5/29/2019 at 5:56 PM, RootAnn said:

U of South Alabama looks like it has auto merit of full tuition starting at an ACT of 32. A small housing stipend ($2000/yr for 4 yrs) is added at an ACT of 33.

South is one of the only Alabama colleges that has actually improved scholarships for OOS students recently; for the first time, those eligible for scholarships get the in-state tuition rate. That's very powerful at levels below full tuition. A 3.0 and ACT of 28 earns $5,000 per year and tuition, fees, room, and board come in at just under $19,000 at full price. About $8,500 of that is room and board, so a 32 gets you a sweet deal. 

 

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10 hours ago, katilac said:

South is one of the only Alabama colleges that has actually improved scholarships for OOS students recently; for the first time, those eligible for scholarships get the in-state tuition rate.

And the Alabama state schools froze in-state tuition rate from last year to this year. OOS students don't get that same perk (except, I guess, for scholarship winners at U of South Alabama?).

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University of Missouri waives our of state tuition automatically for a 30+ ACT, and has some other scholarships (and TN counts as a border state). It’s not as good of a deal as Alabama, but is worth considering. Arkansas state doesn’t have as much automatic merit, but has some decent options for merit, and waives OOS if you are over a specific ACT (28, maybe?-I noticed my DD was eligible in at least 2 ways, by ACT and because our county in TN is a border county). 

 

My DD’s list looks similar to your DS’s, and we’re also looking for at least full tuition. 

Edited by dmmetler
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@dmmetler Thanks! I have been checking surrounding states little by little and I hadn’t gotten to Arkansas and Missouri yet (as we are geographically pretty far from those) but I will check them out. I really want to give ds as many options as possible.

A while back when you posted your dd’s list I did notice we are kind of chasing down the same track. So let’s keep in touch and share any finds 🙂

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If you are a Virginia resident, Averett College automatically grants you merit aid; how much is based on our ACT/SAT score.

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None of the schools in TN that you listed in the OP ring bells for me.  I suggest that you add Vanderbilt University to your list.   Frequently,  you will end up paying less, at a Private University, than in a Public University.

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@Lanny I am familiar with all of the TN schools she mentioned and had a child graduate from one of them. 😉 If you were in TN, you'd know them.  

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Second University of Kentucky and it's got a good math department with opportunities (at least in the past) to do exchange programs around the world (specifically in math).  Less academically strong in most departments, the University of Louisville has some generous admission based scholarships for out-of-staters.  There are also some pretty unique opportunities at UofL because of programs like the McConnell Scholars and Grawmeyer Awards that bring in international speakers.   Both schools provide plenty of research opportunities for undergraduates who seek them out.

You might check and make sure the schools you're looking at accept superscores for scholarship money.  I think some might accept for admission but not admission based aid.

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2 hours ago, Lanny said:

None of the schools in TN that you listed in the OP ring bells for me.  I suggest that you add Vanderbilt University to your list.   Frequently,  you will end up paying less, at a Private University, than in a Public University.

Thanks. Vanderbilt would definitely not be cheaper for us. They are generous but we are not at all comfortable with our EFC. So merit aid at less competitive schools is a better fit for us. 

Back when my oldest was looking and our circumstances were different Vanderbilt would have been a better deal. 

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On 6/9/2019 at 11:27 AM, Lanny said:

None of the schools in TN that you listed in the OP ring bells for me.  I suggest that you add Vanderbilt University to your list.   Frequently,  you will end up paying less, at a Private University, than in a Public University.

 

This is not globally true! Frequently, you end up paying less than sticker price. Whether your discount brings the cost below the cost of a public university depends on (a) how your financial situation maps to the school's financial aid formula (b) whether the law of supply and demand drives the school to offer lots of merit aid. Vanderbilt is a "big name" school, so money from option (b) will be harder to get. (Could also toss in (c) which public U we're talking about here -- some states have pretty pricey public school tuition..)

Every university has a net price calculator, so you can run Vanderbilt's or any school and see the approximate price.

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This is my third kid so I’m pretty familiar with net price calculators and private vs. public school costs. My oldest got a fantastic deal at a private that was, in fact, cheaper than our flagship for him. It still would not have been cheaper than our lower tier directional state Us (or whatever you want to call them).

However, once you are really getting down to it, rarely is a private school going to offer enough merit aid/financial aid to come in cheaper than the public schools that are offering full tuition (once room and board are figured in). I’m not going to say it doesn’t happen. It obviously does.  But when you are looking at full tuition merit aid and you are only left with a room and board bill well less than $10,000, I think it is rare for private schools to get that close. I know it happens but it definitely isn’t a case that it usually or even often true that private schools will offer enough aid to be cheaper. 

I still check out every net price calculator that holds any interest at all. Because it only takes a few minutes and I am pretty diligent in making sure we check everything out. I haven’t found any yet that would compete with the deal my ds will get at an in state school with his high stats. 

Now, if we wanted (were able to?) spend more then there would be plenty of private schools that would give big discounts. Just not big enough discounts for us. We’re just trying to get the final number as small as possible while still meeting his needs and being someplace he can be happy. 

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Also, if the HBCU awareness foundation does a college fair in East TN, it is worth checking out. Some of those schools have both really good programs and excellent merit aid. The “vibe” may not be right for your DS, but my DD found a couple of contenders that were worth putting on her list to consider, where her scores are good enough for excellent support. 

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