Evaluating Your Options
After you have received your Award Notification from TU, this page explains how to evaluate your aid offers, how to compare your net costs after aid, and how to manage your remaining costs.
Comparing School Costs
We encourage all prospective students to carefully compare their projected costs at the schools they are considering, and then to select the school that best meets their educational and financial needs. While cost is not the only factor to consider, when you do compare costs, you should accurately compare your costs by focusing on your Net Costs at each school after subtracting all gift aid (grants, scholarships, etc.). (Ignore all loan offers for now, because loans don’t reduce your relative cost at each school.)
Your Net Cost will vary both on the estimated costs and your gift aid offers (grants & scholarships) from each school. If school B offered you $5,000 more in scholarships than school A, but school B is also $8,000 more expensive, then School B is still $3,000 more expensive.
Try not to let emotion cloud your cost comparisons. Some schools with higher published tuition rates may seem to offer more scholarships, but your actual Net Cost after aid may still be higher than another school that offers less scholarships but charges lower tuition. The most important factors are always your actual Net Cost after gift aid at each school and the quality of each school, not the discount amount or discount percentage. For more information about accurately comparing costs and schools, see the College Financing Plan, which is a federal tool for comparing standardized cost and aid data.
After you have accurately compared your Net Costs at each school, then you can make an informed decision about which school you can afford, where you want to attend, and the amount of loans you would need to borrow at each school to finance your remaining costs. If you can only afford to attend a school with higher net costs by borrowing higher loan amounts, then you must decide if that school offers enough additional long-term educational value to justify the additional loan debt burden.
Estimated TU Costs
Please review our estimated TU Cost of Attendance Budgets. We believe that we offer a high quality education at an affordable price. Our in-state tuition & fee rates are very affordable, and our out-of-state rates are also lower than many of our peers.
TU Quality & Value
- The Wall Street Journal's 2024 Best College Rankings, placed TU at No. 1 among all public universities in Maryland, and second to only Johns Hopkins among all universities — public or private — in the state. According to the publication, this year’s rankings placed greater emphasis on student outcomes, including four-year graduation rates and post-graduation salaries. TU ranked No. 50 among all public universities in the nation.
- U.S. News & World Report placed TU at No. 6 among public universities in its 2023-2024 Best Universities - North Region.
- TU was was No. 1 in Maryland and Number 19 in the Northeast in Washington Monthly's 2023 Best Bang for the Buck Rankings.
- Money magazine ranked TU among the top universities in the Northeast and among the nation's best public universities, with a 4.5-star rating.
- Review more of our Rankings and Achievements.
Loan & Financing Options
- Loan Programs: Your Award Notification should list the maximum amount that you are eligible to borrow from each of the federal student and parent loans. For more information about the various loan options and financing costs, see loan programs.
- Payment Plan: Our Tiger Installment Plan helps students and families to spread their payments throughout the semester so you have extra time to pay for school while avoiding any late fees.
Deadlines vary widely between scholarships. If you have already received your FAFSA Aid Notification from TU, it will be too late to apply for many scholarships for the next academic year. Some scholarships do have later deadlines, but for others you would have to wait until next year to apply.
- Explore scholarship opportunities.
- If you are a Maryland resident, explore the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) aid programs.
TU Admission’s Office Merit Scholarship Selection Criteria
Most merit scholarships from TU are offered by our Admission’s Office to undergraduate students who apply for fall admission. We are usually only able to offer these scholarships to around 21% of our applicant pool. Competition for these scholarships is very intense because many strong students apply to TU. To compete for these scholarships, students have to submit their admission application and all supporting documents/information by December 1. The selection criteria and amounts vary each year based on the size and strength of each applicant pool. Recipients are selected based on high school GPA and other factors. All recipients are notified in February.
University Admissions considers a limited number of appeals for merit scholarship awards. These appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For questions about the appeals process, please contact your admissions representative.
Due to the competitiveness of the applicant pool, the university is unable to negotiate financial aid awards.
We encourage current TU students to explore and apply for scholarships every year. Merit-based scholarships are available from a variety of sources, but because funding is limited, the selection process is competitive. You should choose which school you will attend based on your current aid offers and current projected Net Costs at each school.
Other Options for Reducing your College Costs
Investing in your education can pay off with greater lifelong opportunities and higher earnings, but you have to be careful about borrowing too much. If you have carefully compared your Net Costs and are still unable to afford your favorite school choices without borrowing excessive loans, then you may need to consider other options. You may need to take a harder look at other school choices and may also want to consider living at home and commuting to school.
At most public universities in Maryland, your annual room & board costs will be more than your tuition and fees. You can significantly reduce your costs by living at home and commuting to a nearby school with affordable Net Tuition & Fee costs. If you change your housing status after a school has already offered you aid, you must notify the school, and they will have to revise your Cost of Attendance budget and your aid offers, but in most cases your cost savings will offset any aid reductions.
If you decide to consider another school, but have not applied for admission to that school by their scholarship deadline, then it will probably be too late to get any admission’s merit scholarships from that school. Depending on your family income level, you may qualify for need-based grants; but application deadlines may also be an issue for grants. Ask that school’s financial aid office about their grant deadlines.
When making your final school choice, remember to consider all of the following factors:
- How well will this college prepare you for your career goals?
- How much is your Net Cost for each school?
- Am I getting the most “Bang for my Buck?”
If you have additional questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office.