In Massachusetts, students are awarded tuition waivers at UMass Amherst or UMass Lowell if their grades and MCAS scores are high enough. (Back in my day, the top 5% of a class were automatically eligible for the tuition waivers.) Sounds like a good deal, but the scholarship accounts for a mere 6% of the cost of attendance.
Tuition: $1,714 (waived)
Room and board: $6,989
The low tuition/high fee structure is supposedly due to the fact that Massachusetts has limits on how often it can raise tuition but fewer limits on raising fees. In order to balance the books, the fees get raised while tuition is a meager $1,700/year (less than the cost of a single course at the Harvard Extension School during the summer).
In a state with 270 colleges and universities, is it any wonder that the most talented students rarely take this offer, when it will cost their families over $60,000 to pay for their education?