10 Public Schools That Award Merit Aid to the Most Out-of-State Students

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

College hopefuls whose families earn too much money to qualify for need-based financial aid but not enough to comfortably afford the cost of college often turn to schools that grant merit aid.

This type of aid is usually reserved for outstanding college applicants whose academic, athletic or artistic skills are well above the norm at a particular school. High-achieving high school seniors may be competitive for this type of scholarship or grant, especially if they apply to a safety school where their GPAs and standardized test scores are above the 75th percentile.

[See: 12 Things to Know About Merit Aid Scholarships.]

Such students may be particularly interested in schools that give the majority of out-of-state students merit aid.

Among the 169 ranked public schools in the 2021 Best National Universities rankings that reported this information to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average percentage of out-of-state undergraduate students who received non-need-based scholarship or grant aid in fall 2019 was about 34%. National Universities are schools that are typically research-focused and offer a wide array of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.

But among the 10 public schools in this ranking category that provided the most out-of-state students merit aid, the average was nearly 83%. Three schools — Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Mississippi State University and the University of Hawaii–Manoa — share the distinction of granting the highest proportion of out-of-state students merit aid, at 89%.

The average merit aid award for out-of-state undergraduates at these 10 schools varied widely, ranging from a low of $3,348 at California State University–Fresno to a high of $17,152 at UH–Manoa.

Two of the 10 schools are in Colorado, and two are in Ohio. California, Delaware Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi and Utah each had one school on the list.

When looking at all ranked public National Universities that reported merit aid data, there is clearly a wide range in the proportion of out-of-state students who received such aid. For instance, at 124 of these schools, less than half of out-of-state students who enrolled in fall 2019 were awarded merit aid. Seventy-three of these schools granted merit aid to less than a quarter of out-of-state undergraduate students.

And yet, 44 public universities awarded merit aid to a majority of their out-of-state students in fall 2019.

In-state applicants often have a competitive advantage when vying for scholarship dollars at public schools, which are funded in part by local tax revenues and have a mandate to educate in-state residents. Nevertheless, many public schools recruit out-of-state students by offering them merit aid. The average merit award granted to out-of-state students at ranked public National Universities that reported this data to U.S. News was $10,977.

[Read: How to Find and Secure Scholarships for College.]

Below is a list of the 10 public National Universities that offered merit aid to the greatest percentage of out-of-state students. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School (state) U.S. News rank Percentage of out-of-state students receiving merit aid Average merit aid award to out-of-state students
Bowling Green State University (OH) 258 (tie) 89% $11,723
Mississippi State University 206 (tie) 89% $15,628
University of Hawaii–Manoa 170 (tie) 89% $17,152
Utah State University 241 (tie) 86% $14,938
Delaware State University 284 (tie) 81% $9,749
University of Toledo (OH) 298-389 81% $9,804
California State University–Fresno 196 (tie) 80% $3,348
Colorado School of Mines 88 (tie) 78% $11,870
Ball State University (IN) 284 (tie) 77% $13,842
University of Northern Colorado 298-389 75% $5,924

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find merit aid statistics, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2020 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The merit aid data above is correct as of Dec. 15, 2020.

More from U.S. News

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10 Colleges With Affordable Out-of-State Tuition

10 Public Schools That Award Merit Aid to the Most Out-of-State Students originally appeared on usnews.com

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