The moment she stepped onto its leafy Nashville campus, 17-year-old Tyra Searcy fell in love with Vanderbilt University. The students' drive to succeed, the activities and clubs, everything down to the smoothie bar and waffle makers in the dining hall — it all just felt right.
Except for one thing: Vanderbilt's $62,320 annual price tag.
"My sister has loans. And I see how much of a burden it puts on my mom when that bill comes in the mail," said Searcy, a high school senior from Florissant, Missouri, who got accepted to Vanderbilt, Washington University in St. Louis, and a handful of other top-rated schools.