Colleges that offer substantial merit aid

Colleges that offer substantial merit aid

Many of my students often come to me with a “Dream School” list when we begin the college search process.  When we dig in and the cost of attendance (COA) along with the expected family contribution (EFC) come to light it sometimes makes those “dream schools” seem like just that… a dream!


I discuss with them the idea of looking at institutions that are not “brand name” where they still will receive an excellent undergraduate education while being able to qualify for substantial merit aid with their qualifications.  Where as even with those amazing qualifications and stats at other institutions that aid would sometimes be minimal or non-existent.

*Many of the schools on the list still fall under “brand name”… Hooray!


University of Alabama – 3.5 GPA/32 ACT – covers most of tuition

Baylor University – 29 ACT – must attend Invitation to Excellence Weekend

Bentley University – 75% of financial aid awarded comes from Bentley grant and scholarship resources.  Boston College – Boston College awards institutional financial aid on the basis of demonstrated institutional financial eligibility (need) rather than on merit.

Boston University – Rank in the top 5% of their high school class, SAT 1500+/ACT 33+

  • Trustees Scholars – Full tuition (20 awards a year)
  • Presidential – $20,000.00 (3% of incoming freshman)
  • National Merit Scholarship – $20,000.00
  • National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) – $20,000.00
  • College of Engineering FIRST Robotics – $20,000.00


Centre College – 50% of applicants

  • Brown Fellows Scholarship & Lincoln Scholars Program 3.2 GPA (UW)
  • Gisson Scholars Program 2.67 GPA
  • Colonel Scholarship 2.5 GPA
  • Founders Scholarship 2.25 GPA
  • Centre Award 2.0 GPA
  • New Horizons Scholarship 2.0 GPA


Earlham College

Emory University – 3.4/3.2 depending on scholarship

Florida Southern College

  • McClurg Scholarship – 3.5 GPA, 1330 SAT/29 ACT
  • Christoverson Scholarship – 3.5 GPA, 1330 SAT/29 ACT
  • Jenkins Scholarship – 3.5 GPA, 1240 SAT/26 ACT, complete FAFSA and demonstrate financial need
  • Hollingsworth Scholarship – 3.5 GPA, 1330 SAT/29 ACT
  • Many others based on specific departmental applications


Fordham University – top 1% of admitted pool, top 1-2% of high school class, approx. 1460 SAT/32 ACT

George Washington University –

University of Hartford – “In awarding academic scholarships, University of Hartford considers the overall picture of academic performance, so that a single factor like SAT score may not automatically result in a smaller scholarship.  As a general example, a typical student with a SAT of 1090+, in the top 20% or better of their class, and GPA of 3.45 awards $23,000.00 to full-tuition”

Hendrix College – compete for full ride for 3.6 GPA/32 ACT

Hoftstra University

  • Hofstra University Trustee Scholars – Full tuition (30 per year), 4.2 GPA (W), 1537 SAT
  • Hofstra University Presidential Scholars – $27,000.00 – $29,000.00 (15% of admitted pool), 3.6-4.3 GPA (W), 1320-1600 SAT
  • Hofstra University Provost Scholars – $24,000.00 – $26,000.00 (20% of admitted pool), 3.4-4/0 GPA (W), 1170-1300 SAT
  • Hofstra University Dean’s Scholars – $7500.00 – $23,000.00 (45% of admitted pool), 2.9-3.9 GPA, 1080-1260 SAT


College of Idaho

  • Presidential Merit – $15,000.00, 4.07 GPA, 29 ACT, 94.1% high school rank
  • Trustee Merit – $13,000.00, 3.87 GPA, 26 ACT, 85.9% high school rank
  • Dean Merit – $11,000.00, 3.67 GPA, 25 ACT, 74% high school rank
  • William Judson Boone Merit – $9,000.00, 3.4 GPA, 24 ACT, 62.5 high school rank
  • PEAK Merit – $7,000.00, 3.13 GPA, 21 ACT, 49.4% high school rank

Lafayette College

Lehigh University

Loyola Marymount University – Trustees

McDaniel College

Miami University – 3.5 GPA/33+ ACT – half to full out-of-state tuition

University of Miami

University of Mississippi – Ole Miss – based on test scores only

Mount Holyoke College – trustee scholars – full tuition

University of New Haven

University of New Mexico

Nova Southeastern University – President’s Scholarship

Oglethorpe University – Flagship 50

University of Oregon – Stamps Scholarship – 3.85 GPA/28 ACT

University of Pittsburgh

University of Richmond

University of Rochester

St. Edwards University

St. Lawrence University

St. Louis University – due by 12/1 – 3.85 GPA/30 ACT

Santa Clara University

Seattle University

Simmons University – Kotzen Scholarship – due 12/1 – 3.3 GPA/28 – full ride+

Soka University

University of Southern California

Southern Illinois University – 3.5 GPA/28 ACT

Southern Methodist University – 20 full-ride

Southwestern University

Syracuse University

University of Texas/Dallas – McDermott – 33 ACT

Texas Christian University – Chancellor’s Scholars – 4.0 GPA/ 34 ACT

Truman State University

Tulane University – separate application due 11/15

University of Tulsa – Presidential Scholars

Vanderbilt University

Wake Forest University

Washington University – nomination for Danforth

Washington & Lee University – Johnson Scholarship

Webb Institute – free tuition for all accepted students

Worcester Polytechnic Institute – WPI

More College Admissions Insights

Many of my students often come to me with a “Dream School” list when we begin the college search process. When we dig in and the cost of attendance (COA) along with the expected family contribution (EFC) come to light it sometimes makes those “dream schools” seem like just that… a dream!...

May 1 is traditionally National College Decision Day. Typically, schools require that students choose where they will enroll by submitting an enrollment deposit on or before May 1....

In light of all the media focused on the so-called Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) William Rick Singer out of Newport Beach and his company Edge College & Career Network, also known as The Key, I felt the need to write!...

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About KnowledgeWorx

Meet Nagla Orlando, M.Ed.

Nagla Orlando, KnowledgeWorx founder, has worked with a diverse group of students, assisting each in confidently engaging in the college application process. Nagla approaches the college application process as a 25-year veteran California credentialed educator in Science (Biology, AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology). In addition to teaching Nagla mentored thousands of students in interpersonal growth and leadership skills outside of the classroom. Nagla built KnowledgeWorx around her passion for helping students gain exposure to higher education and finding the best fit for students’ unique interests, abilities, personalities and goals.


With a singular focus, an engaging personality, and an intuitive ability to relate to students and parents, Nagla has the expertise to understand the individual, their needs and passions giving her the unique insight to objectively see each students strengths and potential.  Nagla helps you see yourself objectively rather than merely as a test score, GPA, or letter grade. When you are able to perceive yourself in this light you are able to communicate these attributes in your college application allowing an admissions officer to get a glimpse of your intellectual curiosity, tenacity, evidence of personal growth and excellence


Nagla’s Education and Professional Memberships:

California State University of Long Beach, BS, Human Health Science
California State University of Long Beach, Single Subject Teaching Credential
William Howard Taft University, M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction
University of California, San Diego, Certificate in College Counseling
National Association for College Admission Counseling
Western Association for College Admission Counseling
Higher Education Consultants Association
Independent Educational Consultants Association – Professional Member

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