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Scholarships reality

dlee1697dlee1697 Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
After doing all the research, I have come to some conclusions and these are my findings which I hope will help others:

1. If your family income is less than 60K, or 40K depending and you have stellar grades and SAT/ACT scores, you pretty much can pick any school and get a low cost education if admitted.

2. University ideal student = High grades/scores + high family income. Its the Robin Hood story. If every high performing kid gets a scholarship, who pays? Remember its a zero sum game.

3. Full tuition/everything in top 50 schools = Very rare and competitive.

4. Read the fine print. Eg Cornell U say they will provide no more than 5K loan for family income less than 120K. That 5K is for the student and family is expected to fork out a large portion.

5. Either you are in the Ivy or not, there is no significant difference between the 15th and the 50th university in the workforce. But a grad degree makes a difference.
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Replies to: Scholarships reality

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,798 Senior Member
    edited August 2014
    After doing all the research, I have come to some conclusions and these are my findings which I hope will help others:

    1. If your family income is less than 60K, or 40K depending and you have stellar grades and SAT/ACT scores, you pretty much can pick any school and get a low cost education if admitted.

    Um...no. The vast majority of colleges do NOT meet full need for all accepted students. At MOST colleges, you would get a $5500 Direct Loan, and any portion of the Pell Grant to,which you are entitled. With a $60,000 income, that Pell would be $0.
    2. University ideal student = High grades/scores + high family income. Its the Robin Hood story. If every high performing kid gets a scholarship, who pays? Remember its a zero sum game.

    Not sure what you mean. But every school is delighted to have full pay students. And merit awards to high performing students are institutional money the school has decided to allocate.
    3. Full tuition/everything in top 50 schools = Very rare and competitive.

    Full tuition scholarships at every college are rare and competitive.
    4. Read the fine print. Eg Cornell U say they will provide no more than 5K loan for family income less than 120K. That 5K is for the student and family is expected to fork out a large portion.

    Colleges do NOT give need based financial aid to cover their calculated family contribution. This is not unique to Cornell.
    5. Either you are in the Ivy or not, there is no significant difference between the 15th and the 50th university in the workforce. But a grad degree makes a difference.

    Again...not sure what you mean here. The top 50 colleges are terrific, but believe it or not, there are some mighty terrific colleges outside of the top 50.

  • KKmamaKKmama Registered User Posts: 2,931 Senior Member
    edited August 2014
    1. Tell that to a considerable number of my daughters' friends who had to drop out of college for financial reasons. Our income is less than $60K and my daughters were not offered generous aid at most schools to which they applied: one ended up nearly full-pay at a state school and another did receive a generous scholarship at ONE of the privates to which she applied.

    2. Schools cannot afford to give scholarships to every student. There are buildings and properties to maintain; salaries to pay; research to fund; etc.

    3. see above.

    4. families are expected to pay what they can afford to pay (the EFC). How they pay it is up to them - loans, rob ab bank, use savings, etc.

    5. People can and do get good jobs and into good graduate schools from lower ranked colleges. And you are pretty much correct that the graduate school can be significant in job searches - except for medical schools, as all must meet certain expectations.
  • dlee1697dlee1697 Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    1. That's why I had the caveat: stellar grades and scores. Very good does not count. Also state schools are already discounted, so no generous scholarships compared to private ones.

    3. I forgot to add. Most top 100 schools have more than enough applicants which makes the admission process more on who to reject than who to admit.

    4. The EFC don't tell the whole story. Some families are income rich, but cash poor. CU was just an example and I am aware most are.

    I put this up so that others are aware of the lofty scholarship expectations and get down to earth. I for one was like that too until the research made me realized the truth.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 16,506 Senior Member
    1) No. At hundreds or not thousands of colleges a family income of $40,000 - $60,000 will still leave the family paying at a minimum their EFC and in most cases more than that.
    2) High family incomes only mean that if a student gets accepted the family can afford the cost. Even at the most generous colleges a huge percentage - north of 50% pay full price.
    3) Full tuitions covered by scholarship are rare and in many cases competitive (student applies, interviews, etc.)
    4) The differences may depend on major. not all colleges and universities have all majors. Where you got your grad degree will depend on the industry - e.g. important in some not at all important in others.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,082 Forum Champion
    <<<1. If your family income is less than 60K, or 40K depending and you have stellar grades and SAT/ACT scores, you pretty much can pick any school and get a low cost education if admitted.>>>


    EVEN if you have STELLAR grades and scores you CANNOT pick any school and get a low cost education if admitted.

    There are many schools that even if you were a 4.0 2400 SAT student and very low income and you would STILL not get much or nearly enough aid.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,082 Forum Champion
    What are YOUR stats and we'll tell you where you might get large merit.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 18,405 Senior Member
    edited August 2014
    If your family income is less than 60K, or 40K depending and you have stellar grades and SAT/ACT scores, you pretty much can pick any school and get a low cost education if admitted.
    You will have a hard time to defend this statement as it is basically not true for most students.
  • scholarmescholarme Registered User Posts: 2,547 Senior Member
    edited August 2014
    Probably the only silver lining to a low income but stellar grades & scores is that it allows you to compete for the big outside scholarships (QB, Gates, etc). Still very hard.
    As much as I hate that we are in the middle class dilemma, I would not trade it to have no money for college.
    Most top 100 schools have more than enough applicants which makes the admission process more on who to reject than who to admit.

    Very true.
  • dlee1697dlee1697 Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Whoa... to think I was already filled with low expectations, this really hit below the belt. I guess I should rephrase the statement. Also I have friends who have done the CC route and still made it with not only a bachelor, but also a masters. So all is not lost.

    mom2collegekids: I have seen your posts about Ubama and also other posts about schools who offer bigger than usual merit scholarships based on scores.

    I put this post is to let many who think full scholarships and affordable education is a norm, which is not and hopefully they will start navigating their college career voyage as early as possible.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    1. If your family income is less than 60K, or 40K depending and you have stellar grades and SAT/ACT scores, you pretty much can pick any school and get a low cost education if admitted.

    What do YOU define as stellar? What do YOU define as low cost? Some people regard the current cost of even the most expensive schools low. Some feel that asking for $1000 for a year of college is high. Yes, there are kids lined up at the fin aid office who cannot come up with even less than that, their families cannot come up with any money either. When you look at scholarship criterion, some have cut offs at ACT 30, gpa 3.5, for others, to realistically have a chance of getting a merit award it's a lottery ticket with even perfect numbers.

    2. University ideal student = High grades/scores + high family income. Its the Robin Hood story. If every high performing kid gets a scholarship, who pays? Remember its a zero sum game.

    Most schools are need blind in admissions. There are not very many schools that are need aware for admissions except for certain category of students (transfer, waitlist, international, for example)

    3. Full tuition/everything in top 50 schools = Very rare and competitive.
    ALL schools, not just the top 50. Even the top schools tend to have a required student contribution and there really are very, very few schools that offer full ride award and there aren't many of those even at such schools.

    4. Read the fine print. Eg Cornell U say they will provide no more than 5K loan for family income less than 120K.
    That 5K is for the student and family is expected to fork out a large portion.
    Don't understand what you mean here. It's not so the fine print, but trying to find all of the information in one place. I think you misunderstand what the deal is at Cornell. They meet full need as THEY DEFINE IT, and when they put together a package for the student, they do not include more than $5K in loans in there if the family.

    5. Either you are in the Ivy or not, there is no significant difference between the 15th and the 50th university in the workforce. But a grad degree makes a difference.
    I disagree with you fully here. The biggest difference in the workforce is the type of person the student is, the field in which the student is looking for work, and the record said student racks up in college. Though yes, a grad degree makes a difference in ones options--to get certain jobs without one would be nigh impossible, in some fields doubling the chances of finding a job in certain fields when the chances are so low, doesn't make it much of a difference.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    Yep, the individual matters most, and there are Ivy-equivalents that open as many doors as an Ivy. In some fields/regions, certain non-Ivies/equivalents can open as many or more doors than an Ivy.
  • CCDD14CCDD14 Registered User Posts: 1,084 Senior Member
    >>Also state schools are already discounted, so no generous scholarships compared to private ones.

    This is not true. Public schools have full rides for instate students with stellar stats.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 18,405 Senior Member
    edited August 2014
    dlee1697 wrote:
    1. That's why I had the caveat: stellar grades and scores. Very good does not count. Also state schools are already discounted, so no generous scholarships compared to private ones.

    Don't mix up merit scholarships with need based aids. Most top privates do not have merit scholarships but need based aids.
    Also, many full ride scholarships do not have a need component. So it does not matter if your family made $40k or $400k in that case if you do have stellar credential eligible to the scholarship. And CCDD14 is right, there are full ride scholarships from many public universities though highly competitive.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 35,840 Super Moderator
    Public schools have full rides for instate students with stellar stats.
    Some do, most do not.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    @Erin's Dad‌ :

    I daresay many if not most state schools have at least some full-tuition scholarships, and they may not be limited to in-state students. Nor do they have to be based on stats.

    For example, First Wave at UW-Madison:
    http://omai.wisc.edu/
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