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How Do I Go About Leveraging Scholarships for More Merit Scholarships?

WritingLifeAwayWritingLifeAway Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
I just received a full ride, presidential scholarship from a state school (school A), one of my top picks. I'm hoping to use this presidential scholarship offer to get another state school (school B), which has already given me nearly $20k merit scholarships (but there's still a $25k gap), and maybe even another small private college (school C - which has already given me $31k with a $40-$45k gap), to up their offers and close their gaps a little bit more.
School B is slightly better of a school than school A, but they're both state schools where I'm a superstar student. However, school B has the better program, so if I can get school B to up their offers a little bit, that would be great so I could consider it more. Also, I don't qualify for any financial aid, if that changes anything.
So my question is: how should I go about leveraging this scholarship? Should I email or call the financial aid offices? What should I say? Any advice?
My school's college advisor thinks I should call the fin-aid office and feel out the convo before even deciding to mention the offer, but my parents are steadfast that we should email the schools to give time to the people who can even make the scholarships happen.
Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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Replies to: How Do I Go About Leveraging Scholarships for More Merit Scholarships?

  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 10,958 Senior Member
    First of all, it doesn't matter how much the amount of merit is, the important factor for comparison is the net price.

    Cost of tuition, fees, room and board minus scholarships = net price

    So how much is that for each school?

    Second, are the schools peer schools, is the academic profile the same at all schools?

    Third, are school A and C affordable with the current aid?

    How much more aid would you need at school B to make it affordable?

    Has anything in your academic profile changed since you applied? New test scores, mid-year GPA higher?

    Any new awards or achievements?
  • WritingLifeAwayWritingLifeAway Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Well the net price for school A after the merit is zero, I would pay nothing (minus airfare, basically), the net price/gap left over for school B is about $25k, and the net price/gap left over for school C is $40k.

    I don't think they are peer schools, but school A and school B have very similar academic stats.

    Yeah, my academic profile has changed a little, my gpa has gone up a few points and I've won a few awards in the arts, but that's not really what I'm asking about.
    I'm mostly just wondering what I should say and do when trying to leverage my offer. I just want to know what the procedure should be, since the adults in my life don't really agree on how to do it.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 74,383 Senior Member
    Usually merit aid is awarded by admissions. The financial aid office awards need based aid.

    Are both of these colleges IN state for you? If not, your chances for increased any kind of aid are slim, but sure...ask.

    The criteria for awarding merit aid varies from college to college...and also is based on the strength of the applicant pool this year. It’s very possible that you don’t meet the criteria for additional merit aid at the school B or the private.

    It sounds to me like school C is going not going to meet your financial criteria if you are expecting a full ride.

    School B sounds like an OOS public...is that correct?

    Honestly, sure ask...but if you are expecting a full ride at schools B and C, don’t be disappointed if all you get (if anything) is a couple thousand dollars atthe most in additional aid.

    Why do you think these schools should give you additional merit aid? If it’s onlynbecause they are not affordable with what you have received...good luck getting more.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 74,383 Senior Member
    Checking for clarity...

    How much can your family pay?

    Are you hoping to get an additional $25,000 from school B, and $40,000 or so from school C?

    That just seems highly unlikely to me.
  • WritingLifeAwayWritingLifeAway Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    All three schools are out of state.
    I'm not expecting full rides from the other two, I'm just trying to see if they'll up their offers by any amount before I start considering which to pick. A couple thousand dollars more from school B would be great.
    They're affordable for me, I'm just trying to get the full extent of my options. If you have any suggestions as to HOW I should ask, through email or phone call or anything, that'd be great
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 10,958 Senior Member
    If the schools are OOS, check to make sure you won't have extra costs for health insurance.

    If you don't qualify for need-based aid and are asking for more merit, then I would contact school B's admissions office and let them know your recent achievements. Ask if there would be a possibility of increased merit.

    But if there is still a $25 k gap to make it affordable, I don't think they will give you enough to make it work.

    How much are your parents willing to pay per year?

    The only affordable school might end up being school A.

    What major are you looking at, and how do you determine that one school's program is better than another?
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,573 Senior Member
    Some schools are very upfront and say they will never negotiate merit $. Check first to see if any of these schools have that policy.

    This is a busy time for admissions so I personally would email over calling. I would also highlight recent achievements and grade uptick first. Then I would probably tactfully say that they are your first choice (only do this for the school that truly is the first choice), but that you have more merit $ on the table from Peer School A (and be sure that it truly is a peer school) and that you are hoping to close the gap.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,446 Senior Member
    So as stated it depends on their policy. Like Berkeley says basically "don't even go there"... Lol. But a lot of Lacs will negotiate but this is not your case. Look up the merits awards of each school. They are usually a set number. You will never make up the $25,000. But it seems like you are trying to get the most for your dollars with the hopes to going to school B/A.

    How much demand are you for the school? Lots of kids have great stats. Knowing the schools would really help BTW.

    My daughter was in high demand by 3 schools but got accepted to like 10/11 schools. First we just asked plainly "we need more money to be able to send our child there". Then we gave them another school's higher offer. Yes, they gave us money to come close but we are talking a few thousand of dollars. Then we emailed the head of the department, head of the school and the financial aid /merit departments and asked again. Yes, we got a few thousands more. Then when we were totally merited out we called housing and asked about help with room /board. They said no one ever asked them before and got $3,000 /towards housing. We didn't care where it came from its the end result that counts.

    But saying this... Get your parents involved. It means more if the school assumes you won't attend due to finances. We are self employed and one year can be different from previous years etc.

    Remember the schools truley want you to go there and a small gap they won't let you get away. But they might say just get a job if you don't qualify for work study. But being honest and nice is the key here. "I would love to accept admittance to your school today but I need help with the costs of college. What can you offer to make that happen for me today" "I have a full ride at x and I will willing to give that up since your department of X is more important to me but I need help in attending your school".

    There are lots of exception scholarships, private donors, alumni associations to look into money for. Most don't know that Alumni associations have instate scholarships for kids like you.

    But having a full ride is awesome and really hard to beat no matter what school B or C is. No debt is something most would wish for.
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 4,131 Senior Member
    Also, I don't qualify for any financial aid, if that changes anything.

    Merit aid is one kind of financial aid. You have been offered tens of thousands of dollars in merit aid. So yes, you do qualify for financial aid.

    I'm pretty sure you meant that you do not qualify for need-based financial aid. I know that I'm nit-picking here, but understanding and using the terms correctly is helpful.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    edited March 8
    This is a busy time for admissions so I personally would email over calling. I would also highlight recent achievements and grade uptick first. Then I would probably tactfully say that they are your first choice (only do this for the school that truly is the first choice), but that you have more merit $ on the table from Peer School A (and be sure that it truly is a peer school) and that you are hoping to close the gap.

    Exactly what I was going to say. Email admissions (not FinAid) and explain that School B is your top choice but you have this great offer from School A that makes it very difficult to choose B, can they help close the gap at all so you can attend School B?

    I'd leave School C out, most privates won't compete with public offers. Especially if B is your actual first choice and you will attend if they give you a little more $.

    Honestly it can't hurt to ask. They might do it, they might not, but they aren't going to rescind your acceptance or scholarship or anything over it.
  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,672 Senior Member
    I would add, do not feel bad at all about asking. The schools deal with this ALL THE TIME. They totally understand why it would be in your best interest to compare offers, and the biggest part of their job is to help students and families.

    Best of luck - and congratulations!
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,446 Senior Member
    One thing I was warned about from others that this process was a lot like buying a car and comparing offers etc within reason. Again, if your wanted for a certain program like theater and you bring something unique to the table then you have some leverage /bargaining power. If your just a good student then not so much. As I tell my kids, "bet on yourself". You don't have any extra money now so you can't do worse by asking the questions.
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 8,039 Senior Member
    I don't think they are peer schools

    If they aren't peer schools I wouldn't expect a lot of additional aid. Which states are you talking about?
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,456 Super Moderator
    First and foremost start with the school's website.

    Merit scholarships are done by the admissions department not the financial aid department, so you should start with your regional admissions rep.

    Does School B even offer a scholarship that is equivalent to the presidential scholarship at school a?


    if so, is it guaranteed or competitive?
    How many are given and what are the requirements of the scholarship?

    IF school be does offer a similar scholarship, do your grades and scores meet this requirement and any other requirements for the school?

    If School's B top scholarship s 20K, it does not matter that school A gave you a full ride. School B is not going to meet it and they will wish you well at school A.
  • Britmom5Britmom5 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    How do you know if it is a school that doesnt negotiate merit? Does it say so anywhere on their websites? Also - what determines “peer school” status? Im asking because the front runner of our current acceptances is the most expensive, by far
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