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Merit Scholarships


Replies to: Merit Scholarships

  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia Registered User Posts: 3,336 Senior Member
    Try UT-Dallas, Arizona State, or U of NM (where you would qualify for in-state rates under Amigo scholarship, with COA annually < 20K). Also both Alabama Tuscaloosa and Alabama-Huntsville.
  • chri55555chri55555 Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    @ufalumn1997 what are the colleges that offered you out of state waiver plus merit?
  • NJRoadieNJRoadie Forum Champion Rowan, Forum Champion TCNJ Posts: 615 Forum Champion
    @Chri55555 - Do your parents actually have the money saved? If not, are they planning to take it out of their current income? Is this a realistic plan? I ask, because all too often we see folks on here who have been living in fairy land. They think they just have to make a few cuts to their expenses and they'll be fine, but when the time comes, they cannot.

    If they want to take it out of current income, I would ask them to start saving that amount now - right now - to show they can actually do it. Avoid future heartbreak.

    That said - what areas are you interested in, when you say "out of state"? NJ (where I live and my kids are about the graduate college with zero debt) has some great public schools that offer merit. If you are interested in this area, check out Rowan, Ramapo and Stockton. All three offer merit in the $10,000 and up arena for your scores. I think Stockton would give you the most (in the 18K) - it is near the ocean/Jersey shore area. Ramapo is in northwestern NJ, about an hour from NYC, they also offer very nice merit. Neither of these schools is top of the top, but they are both solid.

    Rowan has reduced the merit they are offering this year, my kids were lucky as they got in 3-4 years ago when the amounts were greater, but the money is still pretty decent and COA for out of state is 38K (pretty much the same for all NJ publics). Rowan is growing and thriving, has a solid reputation in Engineering, a new medical facility where nurse/doctor/other future medical professionals will have a chance to engage. They have a 7 year direct to med school program as well. It is 40 minutes from Philly, about 90 minutes from NYC.

    TCNJ only offers top merit of 8K, Rutgers is much larger and offers similar merit from what I've seen. Both are better known schools locally and somewhat more known regionally. I am an alum of TCNJ and my foster son will be going to grad school at Rutgers - so I think good things about the schools, but am honest about the lower merit for your needs.

    Again - talk with your folks about the finances - really sit down and put numbers on paper. It is uncomfortable for lots of folks to talk about money and budgets (I have no idea why) - talking now saves pain later!

    Best to you!
  • chri55555chri55555 Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    @NJRoadie thanks for the response! I am the first child to go to college so my parents and I are very unknowledgeable about the situation. My parents have no money saved up (we hit some hard times) and they are hoping to take out a loan.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 3,319 Senior Member
    edited May 5
    As you will find over and over again, merit awards listed might not be helpful, you need to to know the COA that works for your budget. Some of the schools listed here will still be above 20K a year with merit awards.

    When you resit your SAT, try to get that score up. Don't let that GPA slip. Make sure that you check the stats required for these cited scholarships as sometimes they are a moving target, UTDs for e.g "No specific achievement in any category of the AES award factors guarantees a scholarship or specific award level."'

    Understand how borrowing money for school works, have your parents look at those numbers. Will they qualify for loans?

    Fully investigate your local options. Room and board in most sleep away colleges is going to be above 11K a year and much higher elsewhere, the "generous" merit schools might have surprisingly high costs (like UAlabama, IIRC). Can you commute anywhere?

    If you go far away, factor in at least 2 return flights a year, and health care costs needs proper investigation if your coverage doesn't apply to your destination college/state.

  • chri55555chri55555 Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    Seems to me that I need to rethink my plan!
  • ufalumn1997ufalumn1997 Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    @chris55555 20,000 a year is a lot for parents to contribute. I assumed they had saved some already. It is shocking, trust me! Tuition/Fees and housing if on campus have to be paid at specific times so it's a lump sum rather than monthly in most places. And say it was monthly, that is a big monthly addition to current budget.

    Loan limits are a really good thing, but it does limit things. Your federal loan limit as a freshman is 5500.

    Parent loans are usually at a high percentage rate...I'm no expert on them, but 80,000 in loans for one of three kids will tap out your parents ability to take loans. I do not want to take parent plus loans....so my son had to make some tough decisions.

    My son stayed in state...our state has a tuition program so he has earned free tuition/fees. So, scholarships to cover the housing is much more reasonable. He's applied to literally every scholarship. He's had some successes.

    Georgia Tech offered my son provost, which is out of state tuition waiver...coa was still 28,000 a year though! I know Florida state offers some out of state tuition waivers. I believe UCF does too.

    I learned a lot about private schools too...full need...many set the parent contribution based on their formula. Any outside scholarships lowered the institutional aid and our family contribution remained stable. I had NO idea it worked that way!

    I would suggest spending some time really getting a realistic picture of finances. You cannot have the "we will figure it out" mindset! And I personally do not believe that an undergrad debt above 30,000 should ever be considered....as someone who made mistakes of my own way back and am still paying the price.
  • NJRoadieNJRoadie Forum Champion Rowan, Forum Champion TCNJ Posts: 615 Forum Champion
    You just need to refine your plan, and the posters here will help! Having read and posted on CC for 5+ years, I can promise that this bunch of folks is knowledgeable and helpful and LOVES to see a person succeed in finding an affordable, pleasing option.

    Point: School guidance counselors are good people, but they aren't finance experts :0 and tend to just "sell" the dream of Ivy League, Big Name schools etc. without true understanding of the impact the cost of those places has to any family that isn't flush with income.

    Point: Recognize the "game" of one upmanship your classmates will play - "I'm applying HERE" and the wearing of the big name college sweatshirt with swagger. Don't get sucked in!! There are many good, affordable and challenging schools out there - let's find a few for you!

    You will go, learn and graduate without crushing debt, able to get a job in an area you want, travel to places you want etc. It may not be a dream place for 4 years (i.e. the haloed NYC or California) but you can afford to go there after you get your education, when those folks have to move home to Mom and Dad's for years and years because of the loan payments they need to make to pay off that 4 years. Dream long term, not just for the next 4 years.

    Read the bookmarked threads on the Financial Aid message board (where you posted this message), educate yourself and keep talking with us.

    Merit aid from the colleges is your first mission, so research that in May :)

    My advice to you is to focus this summer on three things.

    1. Find a $$ job - and save as much as you can!
    2. Find a volunteer opportunity - or create one - where you can give back, meet people and explore a passion (i.e. helping younger kids with math tutoring at the local library, working at an animal shelter - whatever you love).
    3. Work on your Common Application essays. Find someone you trust to review your first attempts and offer constructive criticism. Adjust the essays and re-write - wash, rinse, repeat. Having several well developed essays NOW will help you in your application process, as well as in your scholarship search.

    Outside scholarships can also provide some $$. Those applications start to open in mid-August, and many close by December.

    Woe to those poor folks who don't plan and think the way you are, and come here desperately in March looking for scholarship opportunities which are long gone. See how far ahead of the game you already are? Keep it up!
  • lemonlululemonlulu Registered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
    heard Pittsburgh do. Not 100% positive, you need to find out.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 75,611 Senior Member
    If your parents think they can contribute $20,000 out of current earnings...then right now...this month, they should start socking away $2000 a month. See if that is sustainable.

    If they are planning to take $20,000 a year in loans...that will be $80,000 for your undergrad years...and that’s IF you can fund the rest some other way. My opinion...that is a lot of debt for a family who has a lean budget anyway.

    @mom2collegekids what will UA give this kid for scholarships guaranteed with a 1430 SAT and above 4.0 weighted GPA? What about UA-Huntsville?

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 9,080 Senior Member
    Your parents should not take out loans for your education for reasons given by @NJRoadie , so you need viable options. I assume you are a junior? Your SAT score is good, but perhaps study some more and retake for a higher score. Colleges often superscore the SAT and you might find that gets you more money.

    Try posting in the college search and selection forum, briefly explaining your financial situation and what you are looking for in a college. If you can get your test score up, it will open more doors. Take a look at the automatic full tuition and competitive tuition websites. http://automaticfulltuition.yolasite.com/

    Look at the linked thread provided by intparent. Consider the options suggested by Mamaedefamilia. Check out the threads by @CourtneyThurston , who applied for and received many scholarships. Use this summer to come up with a plan for affording college. Post questions here on CC frequently and you will get answers from knowledgeable people who know what they are talking about.

    Get a job this summer, and start saving. Have frank discussions with your parents, right away, about what they can actually afford. Many parents today have NO idea how much college actually costs these days. Show your parents articles like this: https://money.cnn.com/2017/04/25/pf/college/pay-for-college/index.html

    You can also save money by getting credit for AP exams and by taking CLEP exams, both of which will either get you credit for intro level courses, or will at least let you place into a higher course level. Both AP and CLEP credits might allow you to graduate earlier, which will save you money. https://clep.collegeboard.org/

    Many students think they just have to get into college, but don’t consider how it’s going to be paid for, so you’re wise to get this ball rolling right now. You don’t want you or your parents to have any nasty surprises in a year when you’re getting ready to head off to college. Good luck.
  • bjscheelbjscheel Registered User Posts: 441 Member
    The Midwest can have some good deals as they try to draw good students. Look at Southeast Missouri State- you would get in-state rates and the top Copper Dome scholarship, making your annual COA a little over $10,000. University of Nebraska-Kearney would give you full tuition (Blue & Gold scholarship). University of Central Arkansas would give you the Out of State Distinguished, giving you $12,000/year and the COA is only about $16,000 so you'd pay about $4000. We visited this one and really loved the campus. (Of course you should verify all of these figures for yourself. This is just some that we came across in our Midwest search.)

    The drawbacks are they are not well known, not flagships, not prestigious, not the easiest to get to, but they are affordable with good stats like yours.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,878 Forum Champion
    This student would qualify for UA’s Presidential scholarship of 25k per year....nearly free tuition.

    Apply at the beginning of July when the app goes Live. Then you’ll have acceptance and merit offer in hand by about Labor Day. Win!

    Your parents’ contribution can cover the remaining costs.

    What is the major and career goal?
  • chri55555chri55555 Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    I am thinking of becoming a high school math teacher
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