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Best Buys for Top Students

Although many highly selective private colleges offer need-based aid, families who do not qualify for financial aid are faced with the daunting task of paying more than $50,000/year for their child to attend. And the picture isn’t pleasant at prestigious state flagship universities. Although in-state students can take advantage of the best bargains in higher education, the picture is bleak for out-of-state or international students. These students face not only competition for limited out-of-state spots, but also tuition costs that can make state schools financially comparable to private colleges.

The team of counselors at IvyWise has identified schools where students can get an “Ivy League” education at affordable prices. And these days, isn’t everyone looking for the best value?

Washington University, St. Louis, MO
With a top notch medical and business school, “WashU” is a heavyweight when it comes to attracting research funds. Undergraduates enjoy ample hands-on opportunities for research, as well as a successful Division III athletic program. With an extensive merit scholarship program geared to attract the best students in every academic discipline, this research university in Midwest continues to lure highly qualified students away from the Ivy League. If you are lucky enough to be admitted (less than 20% acceptance rate), future business leaders should ask about the Entrepreneurial Scholars Program.

Georgia Tech University, Atlanta, GA
Engineers and Georgians know how good they have it at “Tech.” But did you know that you can also come to this Atlanta campus to study business, economics, international affairs, or architecture? With 100 students selected every year to be President Scholars, top students not only receive a generous merit scholarship, but also priority housing, scholarships to study abroad, and individual guidance for fellowships and scholarships.

University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Don’t let the name confuse you: this is a private university, with a tuition bill to match. But, unlike its peers who have impressive medical and business schools, Rochester has one of the best music conservatories: the Eastman School of Music. With less than 5,000 undergraduates, this is among the smallest research universities, but it has one of the most generous merit scholarship programs. Ask your guidance counselor about the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award, the George Eastman Young Leaders Award, the Xerox Leaders Award for Innovation & Technology and the Frederick Douglass & Susan B. Anthony Humanities Award. Wining these awards may lead to thousands of dollars of merit scholarships.

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota is just more than lakes—it’s a perfect place to get a great college education at a better price. While most states charge an average of $25,000 for out-of-state tuition, the University of Minnesota charges less than $15,000. This is also one of the largest universities in the country, with more than 30,000 undergraduates. And although weather may be a concern for many students, this is one of the few state universities located in a major city. With a skywalk that connects most downtown buildings, students can enjoy Minneapolis’s activities without stepping outside.

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Where else can transfer, international and first-year students win a merit scholarship that can pay for half of your tuition while you get a great tan? USC is more than just headline-garnering football teams and loyal alumni—with fifteen colleges offering undergraduate majors ranging from accounting to dental hygiene to public policy and Italian- you can study almost anything here. Also, you’re bound to meet students from all parts of the world—9% of undergraduates are from abroad.