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The reason schools give merit based aid is to draw students who have high statistics compared to the rest of their students. So to some extent you are going to have to accept that you can't go to a school that is very challenging for you AND get a tuition break
I like looking at the USNews and World Report Big Book, that has pages of schools in order of how much merit money and financial aid they give.
Golffather, I have an older edition of the Ultimate Guide