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10 best colleges for the money

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro
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With an in-state tuition rate of about $5,300, this school is a deal for state residents and a bargain for nonresidents, too. Out-of-state tuition is $15,754, but the school provides enough need-based financial aid to lower the net price to just more than $8,600 for families with combined incomes under $75,000, reports the National Center for Education Statistics, or NCES.

The deal is even sweeter for academically competitive students. New Mexico Tech offers substantial renewable scholarships for National Merit finalists, New Mexico science fair winners and entering students with high GPAs and SAT or ACT scores.

Mark Truman, founder and CEO of the college consulting firm Omniac Education, says that all students -- even those who aren't interested in New Mexico Tech -- can increase their likelihood of landing gift aid by applying to schools where they will be in the upper academic tier.

"State schools usually have very average SAT and ACT scores," he says. "If you can substantially beat those, you're more likely to get scholarship dollars."




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