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Merit Scholarships

premedhopefulpremedhopeful Posts: 23Registered User New Member
Hello Fellow GW-Hopefuls & CCers-

My son is really hoping to receive some good news in March/April for admission into GW. But, I don't know if we can afford it. Does GW offer sizable merit-based scholarships for applicants? I know some schools give like 5k/yr, and that's cute and all, but we really need some help (around 20k/yr)

We applied for need-based aid, but we make too much money to be realisitically considered for aid (this is not an opinion--other colleges have accepted him without a penny in FA).

Also, if you know, what is the avg. profile for a University Honors Program student? He applied for that program (happily, because he loves writing), and on my end, I know that it comes with a sizable scholarship! (yay)
Post edited by premedhopeful on

Replies to: Merit Scholarships

  • yelle85Ayelle85A Posts: 50Registered User Junior Member
    I am also very interested in the answer to this!!
  • gwseniorgwsenior Posts: 250Registered User Junior Member
    GW does have some merit scholarships, but these are highly competitive. Especially because of the economic downturn, more money is going into need-based aid. However, I wouldn't be SO sure that you don't qualify for ANY aid. Even if other schools have not awarded you aid, GW is both far more expense but also far more generous than other schools. Either way, you will find out shortly (as in, within a few days) after receiving your decision whether or not you received aid or a merit scholarship.

    I'm not sure where you heard that students admitted to University Honors get a scholarship, but as far as I know (and I looked at the admissions page to double-check), they don't. Due to the typically higher caliber of Honors applicants, Honors students might represent a lot of the students receiving merit scholarships, but being in the Honors program does not necessarily guarantee a scholarship.

    On the bright side, you will have plenty of time between the time GW gives you a decision/notifies you of aid and the deadline for making a deposit. If you feel as if you didn't get the money that you need, you might be able to do a little negotiating if you show you are really serious about attending GW. Good luck!!
  • premedhopefulpremedhopeful Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    gwsenior-

    I appreciate your honest answer. As for the UHP comment, that was my fault, sorry. My son misinformed me--the admissions officer said that UHP recipients usually receive a sizable scholarship because of their caliber, as you said.

    We're still 100% certain that we don't qualify for FA. Other schools have bribed my son with the whole "generous FA" deal, and to no avail. Absolutely nothing, spare a 5k/year direct loan from one college (which, when you think about it, is stupid because you'd be paying MORE than the COA in the end because of interest on the loan...)

    If I'm coming off as bitter or rude, I really don't mean to, and if I still am, I'm really sorry. But, as you mentioned, due to this economic crisis, true merit scholarships at GW (as well as the majority of similarly-strong universities across the nation) are being converted to FA or even erased all together. It's very hard to keep optimistic in this college application nightmare.

    And as for my son, who doesn't have an "edge" in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, family connections, first-generation in college, family situations, etc., scholarships are very limited. In deciding which scholarships to continue to fund in this economic downturn, colleges seem to be holding onto the diversity factor more than ever. I'm not saying this merit-based diversity aid is wrong or unjust at all, don’t get me wrong, but in the end, it’s hurting my son and others like him.

    He has actually been rejected from several supposedly "purely merit-based" college-affiliated scholarships because of these factors. We've searched our city, county, and state funds for scholarships, but he's ineligible for 90% of them because he isn't attending a public high school. And the other 10% he is eligible for in terms of his school choice, he is ineligible because of his gender or future career choice in medicine. (Many of them fund budding women engineers, on a side note). Even that FastWeb site found nothing for him in terms of his background or hobbies...no exaggeration...he's left fighting for those scrappy $500-$1500 scholarships that everyone is eligible for and fighting for, (of which he has applied for SO many over the last year and a half, and won none, to really no one's surprise.)

    He just a really good student: hard-working, decent SAT II and ACT scores, top 10% of his class at a top notch private high school, something like a 3.97/4.0 GPA UW, generous, genuine about community service, Eagle Scout, research experience, and more, and *(I know this is all from a parent's POV, but)* he's an awesome candidate, you know? And it pained me to see him accepted last month into his second-choice college (GW is his #1), but not be able to consider it as a choice anymore because he didn't receive FA or merit aid from that supposedly "FA-generous" institution.

    But that’s more than you ever needed to know, sorry.

    I sincerely hope GW is different from these other universities. And, nonetheless, I sincerely hope your optimism for need-based aid consideration, gwsenior, carries through in the FA offices for my son. :)
  • gwseniorgwsenior Posts: 250Registered User Junior Member
    No worries- I definitely understand your frustration. The way a lot of colleges are set up, middle class students often have a tougher time affording college than even low-income students. Assuming that your son doesn't get financial aid or a merit scholarship, the other option I'd urge you to consider are federal loans. Obama is expanding the amount that you can take out, and much of it is subsidized, meaning that you don't accumulate interest while you're in school and you don't have to start paying back interest until after you graduate (and they can be deferred for longer if you go to graduate school). Additionally, if your son goes into a career in certain types of public service (see FinAid | Loans | Loan Forgiveness for details), the loan can be forgiven.

    I realize taking out loans in this economy is a very scary thing to do, and I'm not saying it's necessarily the right thing to do in your situation. I don't know if it's the same for med school or other kinds of grad school, but I've learned from applying to law school that it doesn't actually matter too much where you go to undergrad, only how well you do while you're there. However, you should take the time to carefully consider the opportunities your son will have coming out of GW or another school, and whether this will in the long run outweigh the potential costs. I know in my hometown there was a non-profit organization that helped students figure out the most prudent way to finance their education, and they helped my family a lot; I'd encourage you to search for similar services.
  • premedhopefulpremedhopeful Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    Thanks, I'll be sure to take a more thorough look at that website...it sounds promising.

    For medicine, some say it doesn't matter where you go, others say it makes a difference. It's about a 50-50 split of people I've asked. Both sides agree that grades are the most important factor, though.

    You are correct, federal loans for college students are being expanded under the Obama administration, but after a rather meticulous reading of that section of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to see if he'd be helped, it was of course to no avail. The subsidized loans are great IF you are only receiving a bachelors degree *(that is four, maybe five yrs of education),* but since my son wants to enter medicine, like a law education, he'd need to take out additional loans for grad school, and specialization, and residency, and etc. etc.

    Anyway, the truth of the matter is he'd have close to half a million in loans (subsidized or otherwise), and I don't know how safe that is to do. Especially, since he'd be starting his career with that debt in such a topsy-turvy economy. Who know what his starting salary will be? etc.

    BTW, are you going to GW School of Law, or elsewhere for law school?
  • kid112kid112 Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    for merit scholarships, you don't have to apply specifically for them or do anything to get them, right? they just award to whomever they see fit?
  • peppermintdeluxepeppermintdeluxe Posts: 24Registered User New Member
    yes i believe so
    i remember seeing on their website that they automatically consider people for merit scholarships; you dont need to do a seperate supplement app or anything and i think $$ notifications come with the package they send you after you get accepted.. not sure though
  • MHETTmomMHETTmom Posts: 26Registered User New Member
    By son is a senior at GW and he received a very nice merit based scholarship his freshman year. It was guaranteed for 5 years as well as the tuition remaining the same amount. He needed to maintain his grades to keep his award. He will be graduating this May!!!! The financial help was wonderful. He did not need to apply separately, it came with his notice of acceptance.
  • gwfreshmomgwfreshmom Posts: 75Registered User Junior Member
    I currently have a junior at GW that had/has the same exact challenges with financial aid as your son. The middle class student. We did receive some financial aid in the way of merit (alumni scholarship/grant), work study and student loans. GW senior commented:

    "Assuming that your son doesn't get financial aid or a merit scholarship, the other option I'd urge you to consider are federal loans."

    Unless I am completely wrong, which I believe I'm not. Those federal loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, are part of the financial aid package and based on financial need. If the limits get raised on those, terrific...to a point, it will make more loan money available at a supposed decent interest rate. But again, if you don't qualify for financial aid then it's a moot point. Additionally, the "struggle" comes in with the EFC that FAFSA determines. That's the part that you don't need according the Federal government/colleges. You're suppose to come up with that amount. Many middle class people DO NOT have 35,000 dollars sitting in the bank for each year of college. (if you did you'd probably have a higher EFC!) Therefore, more debit is incurred to obtain that money.

    I wish you and your son well. It has been a struggle for us. Currently my son is on track to graduate a semester early to help with the costs. We (his parents) took out a decent size loan to help, his great grandmother helped, he works (to earn money) like crazy. And, he will graduate with federal loan student debit at the max. amt. he could have per each year.
  • premedhopefulpremedhopeful Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    I appreciate everyone's comments. It's good to know there's a chance for some help from GW. Best of luck to you and your families!
  • waveswatcherwaveswatcher Posts: 395Registered User Member
    gwfreshmom-my parents just sat me down and explained life to me - well, really, investment life anyway. Our EFC is not realistic because even though they have money in the bank, it is earmarked for things like my Dad's retirement and my sister's wedding, etc. They don't want to touch that money for college expenses. We fall into the typical middle class dilemma. Even though my Dad's 401K has tanked, we are still responsible for the amount the SAR states. But having said all that, my parents see how much I want to go to GW, so if I'm willing to work during school, we'll make it with the help of a good FA package. It sounds like your son had the same plan we do. Best of luck to your son and wish for an acceptance for me!
  • umboFever09umboFever09 Posts: 87Registered User Junior Member
    premedhopeful: Your son is definitely not alone. I am waiting for GW in April. But I think I know the punch-line because I already got in EA to a couple of other very similar schools, and our EFC is ridiculous -- it ends up being like 1/2 of my parent's take-home pay. If I get into GW, I will probably not be able to afford to go.

    We met with a woman at one of the schools that i got into EA (a major Catholic private college just outside of Boston) and her response to our request for addressing the situation was: "Well, you have some nice home equity, so you could take a home equity loan. Or you could stop making your 401k contributions while she is here -- that would free up 15% of your income to cover tuition". And then she sat back smugly with a "Are we done here?" look. So their answer for middle class applicants is for our parents to trash their retirement in favor of meeting the $50K COA. I will not be going to that school, or any others that have a similar 2006 view of the economy. It's state school for me, and if you think about it, with the economy so crappy as it is, your son probably does better coming out of college with only a few $10Ks of loans, vs $150k or 200K , since the job market will likely still be pretty bad in a few years. And if your son is going to graduate school, then his undergrad school means very little unless you are talking about an Ivy. But GW or BC, vs. UMass or UConn or Penn State? Little or no difference.

    I know it hurts for him to work so hard for all of his high school years, and then watch people who are less motivated get a full ride just because their families perhaps didn't do the right thing and build up equity in homes, or work hard to advance to jobs with higher incomes, or make some investments for the future. Financial aid in this country is seriously broken, and yet we give billions to banks who have no clue. Even our president says people who make $150K are "rich", so why should we be surprised when colleges make this same incorrect assumption?

    Good luck.. it's a tough time but we'll all get through it.
  • FrannyTFrannyT Posts: 29Registered User New Member
    Premedhopeful - My son, who is in his second year at GW, sounds a lot like your son, (3.5 grade point average, 700s on his SATs, not ethnic, etc.) except he went to public high school. He applied to SEAS and got a $15K/year merit scholarship which is a huge help to us. I think they were looking for good, strong students for SEAS and wanted to entice him. It worked! I don't know which GW school your son applied to, but if it was to SEAS (biomedical engineering is a popular pre-med major) he probably has a good shot at a nice merit scholarship.
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