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The DLG (that's Daddy's Little Girl for those of you not blessed with one) is in her Jr year of HS and is starting to look seriously at college options. For my part, I'm looking just as seriously at merit scholarship options. Long story, but for the 1st two years of her college career, we will be in a cash crunch while at the same time classed as "Never" recipients of need-based aid, so it's all academic schollies for her. Many people in the middle class also fall into this category. Fortunately she is ranked in the top 3% of a class of 523 in an IB curriculum. No SAT/ACT scores yet, but we have our fingers crossed. We have a chance....so, looking at how some schools of GENERAL interest stack up (only AU and Clemson from this group are on her list): AU and uat both made the top 50 list of schools by share of freshmen without financial need who receive merit aid, AU coming in at 18th with 29.8% of incoming freshmen receiving an average of $5,976 per year in aid, and uat at 45th with 24.4% of freshmen receiving a stunning average of $11,919 per year! AU had 3,852 freshmen to uat's 6,838 ('13-'14 school year numbers). uat is doling out an astounding $18.4M/year in merit schollies! AU gave out $6.85M in contrast. In terms of $/student, only the vastly smaller U of Texas-Dallas exceeds bammer's per student numbers. No one else in the top 50 is within $2k. Interestingly, UAH, UAB and UNA all make the top 50, but their numbers pale in comparison to uat's per student $, even though their % receiving merit aid is much higher. USC-e, Clemson, OM, and MSU also make the list. Of those schools, Clemson with a ~$7400/per student average is the highest. Looking only at public flagship universities, again uat jumps off the page at you with a per student number $2k/year, actually almost $3k now that I look at it, greater than the next highest, and more than double the merit aid offered by most universities. It is crystal clear that uat has chosen to mortgage its present while gambling on having a bunch of high achievers doing well later in life with donations to bail them out. It's not a bad gamble, especially when coupled with the hedge in sheer number of admissions. One of those two should pay off, and if both do, they may be a very wealthy school in the future. AU has gotten better, but I wish we would be more imaginative around things like this. Thoughts?