Seton Hall University Offers 60%+ Off Tuition in Merit Plan

If you're in the top 10% of your high school graduating class, if your combined math/reading SAT scores are more than 1200 (with no single score less than 550,) then Seton Hall University in New Jersey might have a deal for you. According to Time Magazine, starting this year, Seton Hall will be offering to take more than 60 % off its tuition bill for deserving candidates who send in their college applications early. The discount will add up to nearly $21,000 per year.

In addition to helping make college more affordable for deserving candidates, with this program, Seton Hall wants to make itself the destination of top-tier talent from across the country.

For in-state students, the lower tuition would make Seton Hall's price tag about the same as New Jersey's flagship public school Rutgers University; Seton Hall would become much cheaper than Rutgers for out-of-state students.

Although Seton Hall is offering the most extensive discount, the New Jersey university is not the only one that's fiddling with its merit-based incentive programs in order to attract better students and at the same time ease the tuition burden on those hit hard by the recession. The New York Times reports that many prestigious schools, including several Ivy League colleges, have converted their aid packages to grant-only, and have begun offering those to families who make up to $100,000 a year.

Albright College, in Reading, Pa., decided in 2009 to give out more in merit aid than in need-based aid, and to send details of financial aid awards out with admissions letters, not as follow-ups.

For the past decade, top high school graduates in the state of Georgia receive a full scholarship to the state's public colleges.

Alyssa McCloud, who manages Seton Hall's enrollment, said that 16% of students would have qualified for the $21,000 discount this year if the program had already been in effect. However, as information about the program spreads this year, she expects the actual number of students who receive the scholarship to be higher.

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