Colleges That Offer Generous Merit Aid

College is expensive. And it’s about to get more expensive as states across the country cut funding for higher education and students are expected to shoulder more of the burden of paying for their educations. However, selecting the right college can help you pay less for school despite rising costs. Some schools offer generous merit aid and institutional grants that cover tuition costs not typically covered by federal or state grants. Here are some of those schools:

Colleges That Offer Generous Merit Aid

1 University of Maine

University of Maine

Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

Type of Institution: Public

Costs: $10,829 for in-state students and $27,717 for out-of-state students (2016–2017)

2 University of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin offers generous merit-based aid in the form of scholarships and grants. The school is a public university with low tuition and a low cost of living. It also has a high graduation rate, diverse student body, and very little debt on average for its graduates. But what really makes this school stand out? It’s all about the money! If you’re looking for one of the best schools that gives away free money to students who qualify, then check out this list below:

3 University of Florida

University of Florida is a large public university. It’s well-known for its large endowment and the high quality of its academics. The school is located in Gainesville, Florida—a city with about 125,000 residents—and it has a student body of about 50,000 students (including international students).

The University of Florida has an acceptance rate around 50%, making it an expensive but attainable option for many families who apply there. The school also boasts impressive graduation rates: more than 85% of their undergraduates complete their degrees within four years, while more than 90% graduate within six years.

UF was ranked as one of the top 100 universities in America by U.S News & World Report in 2016 and 2017, landing at number 58 overall; they were also ranked among the best national universities by Forbes magazine in 2016 and 2017 (ranking #56).

4 Florida State University

Florida State University, or FSU as it’s commonly referred to, is a public university located in Tallahassee, Florida. It’s the second-largest university in the state with over 40,000 students and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges for 2018. FSU is also a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) which includes other schools like Duke University and Clemson University.

As a college student you have to be selective about what you study because not all majors are created equal; however if you’re interested in accounting then you should consider studying at FSU because they offer generous merit aid packages for those who qualify!

5 New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University is a public university located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The school’s mission is to provide undergraduate and graduate students with educational opportunities that enhance their lives as global citizens.

NMSU was founded in 1888 and has since grown into an institution that offers more than 200 academic programs through its four colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Engineering & Technology. The university has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission for all of its academic offerings—including those which are offered at sites outside of New Mexico.

The school’s main campus sits on 667 acres with a scenic overlook overlooking downtown Las Cruces; it also houses three satellite campuses throughout southern New Mexico to allow residents access to affordable college education closer to home (a popular program known as Go Closer To Home). It has been recognized by US News & World Report as one of the top 100 best public colleges in America since 2000; NMSU ranks #17 among national universities offering master’s degrees within STEM (science/technology/engineering/mathematics) fields according to Forbes Magazine’s 2016 edition featuring “America’s Top Colleges” list released earlier this year; additionally it was listed among Driscoll’s Top 20 Best Value Private Universities for 2017.”

6 Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University is a public research university in Ruston, Louisiana. It is a member of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Universities Research Association.

Louisiana Tech opened as the Industrial Institute & College of Louisiana in 1894 during the Second Industrial Revolution. Its founder, William H. Danforth, designed it to prepare young people for industrial work as engineers, accountants, machinists or other things of that sort. In 1901 its name was changed to Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (Louisiana Tech), which then established engineering curricula for women in 1950s; today over half of all students are women. In 1970s additional graduate programs were established but now there are only master’s degrees available; this program began with an emphasis on petroleum engineering but has since expanded into many different areas such as chemical engineering or civil engineering etc…

7 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a merit-based aid program that gives students a certain amount of money for each year they are enrolled, depending on their GPA. This can help students who can’t afford to pay for college out-of-pocket by giving them additional funds for living expenses, study abroad opportunities and other costs.

8 West Virginia University

West Virginia University (WVU) is one of the most affordable public universities in the country. WVU has a low acceptance rate of 49%, which means that if you apply and get accepted, you’ll have a good chance at attending. The average net price for students who enrolled at WVU in 2016 was $13,831. To help make up for this cost and keep their students coming back, the university has an extremely generous merit aid program. When considering how much money will be available to you after financial aid awards are determined and paid out, it’s important to consider both grants as well as loans—if your total loan amount ends up exceeding your total grant amount by more than $5k per year or so (we’re talking about Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans here), then it may not be worth accepting those loans just so you can attend college somewhere else.

9 You can save money by choosing the right college in a lower cost-of-living area.

If you’re looking to save money on your education, one of the most important considerations is the cost-of-living in your potential college town. Although there are many different factors that go into determining how much money you will spend during college, we’ve found that having a lower cost of living can help save thousands of dollars over four years! We’ll take a look at some examples below:

  • Tuition: The tuition for an out-of-state student at an Ivy League school can range anywhere from $50,000-$50,000 per year–and that’s just for tuition! When room and board are added on top of this number (which is typically $10-$20k), it becomes clear why college costs so much. However, moving into a smaller city with a lower cost of living means not only cheaper rent but also less expensive utilities–meaning less overall spending when compared with big cities like New York City or San Francisco. While these savings might seem insignificant now, they add up over time and allow students to put more money towards things like retirement funds later on down the road!


Taking out student loans to cover the costs of college can be stressful. While there are ways to reduce your expenses, it’s important not to overlook merit aid as an option. If you have a child who is applying for college this year or next (and who doesn’t?), then our list above should be useful when considering how much money you will pay for their education.

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