ACT Scores and Merit Aid Payback. One graphic. Two compelling conclusions.
ACT Scores and Merit Aid Conclusion #1: Sometimes one more point on the ACT CAN make a difference. More points = more better.
ACT Scores and Merit Aid Conclusion #2: If you’re not already considering schools outside the UW System, maybe you should be.
In my view there are a few truly beautiful things in life. Sunsets, rainbows and vast mountain ranges come to mind. Toward the top of my list of beautiful things are graphics like this one about ACT scores and merit aid. It’s stunningly compelling. I’m a college data geek, and I spend countless hours pondering things like this. There are so many insights to be gained from it. The families I’ve shared it with usually respond with wide-eyed amazement and a “wow…”.
Conclusions About ACT Scores and Merit Aid Opportunities
When you’re deciding whether to invest time, energy and money on ACT Test Prep, you want to know if it’s worth it. There are two key reasons to boost your ACT score: One, to “get in”. Two, to get money.
It’s not usually easy to determine what college will cost you. More schools are now making cost a bit more transparent by making merit aid (sometimes called merit-based scholarships) publicly available online. All colleges have a net-price calculator on their website, but most don’t ask for academic information that could impact your score. Some schools post net-price calculators on their sites where you can put in personal information and get an estimate of the price you’d pay.
We used merit-based scholarship information available on a few school websites to build our infographic. Here are a few key insights:
- Holy cow! At the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi, every single ACT point gained from 27-32 earns you more money!
- Wow, at some schools, merit aid scholarships start in the low 20s for ACT scores.
- Zowie! With a 28 on my ACT, Minnesota is actually more expensive for me than KU or Ole Miss.
- Man, with a 30 on my ACT, I’d pay the same at KU as I would at UW-Madison. And Alabama or Ole Miss is actually less expensive.
- Holy Toledo! If I can earn a 32 on my ACT, tuition & fees at Ole Miss are FREE, and Alabama’s next to nothing!
- Wow, depending on ACT scores, there are private schools out there where merit aid really helps bring the cost at least somewhat closer to tuition for Minnesota or Wisconsin.
Granted these are only a few schools, and perhaps you’re not interested in any of them. But if this is the case for just a sampling, what about colleges you’re interested in?
Conclusions About In-State versus Out-of-State Tuition
Here’s where things get interesting. We’ve all heard someone scoff, “What fool would ever pay out-of-state tuition?” I would, if I could get it for less than I could while attending an in-state school and/or if that school was the best fit for my child. In other words, based on my personal criteria, I’m going to make an informed decision based on what I feel is the best VALUE, the best CHOICE FOR ME. That is what an informed College Search process SHOULD BE about.
Here are a few compelling conclusions from the infographic:
- Holy cow! Depending on your ACT and GPA, going out of state may actually be cheaper!
- Man, with a 30 on my ACT, admission to UW-Madison may not be a lock, but Alabama or Ole Miss would be less expensive anyway.
- Hmmmmm, the SEC delivers as much athletic pageantry as the Big 10. And it may deliver a quality education for a great value, too.
The point is, before you make assumptions, do your homework.
Working With a Professional College Planner Can Pay Off
I’m passionate about helping students and families explore and effectively weigh their options once they’re armed with correct and complete information. Nothing pleases me more than helping a student find some great options they never knew existed or were previously unlikely to add to their list.
There’s a version of this graphic for each and every student, based on the schools YOU want to put on the list and the academic achievements you’ve earned. This is exactly the type of work we do as part of our College Search program. It’s not always about getting in. Sometimes it’s about saving money. A professional college counselor like OnCampus College Planning has the experience and expertise to help you discover hidden gems and high-value colleges that could reward you financially for your achievements.