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Need Merit Advice

nusernamenusername 2 replies3 threads New Member
I'm trying to find anything about paying for college. No contribution from my parents but they also make too much for me to qualify for pell grant, need-based, etc.
SAT: 1550
ACT: 34
GPA: 3.5
I haven't been the strongest student, but I've also moved around a lot and grew up in a different culture, had hard time adjusting. I am hispanic too. Located in WA and interested in Comp. Sci. or related
23 replies
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Replies to: Need Merit Advice

  • thumper1thumper1 77981 replies3490 threads Senior Member
    Is that your weighted or unweighted GPA?

    Will your parents work with you to complete the FAFSA form? Are they giving you $0 towards college? And if so...why?

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  • GTAustinGTAustin 1238 replies9 threads Senior Member
    With those stats, you could get full tuition +fees and $3000/semester stipend for living at UT Dallas through their AES scholarships. That would leave $5000 to $6000/yr for you to cover. You could do that by working the summers or during the school year. They do have a strong CS program. If interested, apply early.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 934 replies111 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    If 3.5 is unweighted GPA then with your high SAT scores, you can get full tuition at many schools. How’s your PSAT? If you can make National Merit, there are several full rides available.
    edited May 2019
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4755 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Re UTD, there is no guarantee now "No specific achievement in any category of the AES award factors guarantees a scholarship or specific award level." Is that new?
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  • thumper1thumper1 77981 replies3490 threads Senior Member
    @GTAustin

    Does that award at UTD include the Direct Loan as part of the award? If not, this student could take a $5500 Direct Loan and have costs covered.

    Is this a guaranteed award for all with the right stats? Or is it competitive?
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13431 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Why are your parents refusing to contribute anything to your college education?

    Do they realize that full-ride scholarships are extremely difficult to get these days?
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  • suzy100suzy100 5695 replies58 threads Senior Member
    OP posted in March that they had UW GPA of 3.4.
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  • nusernamenusername 2 replies3 threads New Member
    My parents can't contribute, they wish they could tho – while they make enough now to not qualify for much need, they only started making that a couple years ago and can't afford to contribute because our area has a high cost of living.
    My gpa will be 3.5 UW at the end of the semester, and probably about 3.6W (school didn't have any AP/honors classes until junior year).
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13431 replies31 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    OK, they didn't save anything up but it's hard to believe that they're not able to contribute anything from current income even if they live in the highest COL area in WA if they don't qualify for any fin aid, as that would mean an income of 200K+/year.

    If they're not able to contribute at least a few thousand, you're fairly limited in where you may go with free-rides being difficult to get. There are the University of London International distance degrees.
    Those are cheap (a few hundred for each class + other fees) because they are essentially self-study and they just grade the tests (that determine your your entire grade for a year-long class in most cases).

    Though if you are in a high COL part of WA, you should be able to live at home, and work your way through CC and UW-Seattle
    (commuting) though it may take longer. Though AP scores could get you credits.

    edited May 2019
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4755 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I think you will need to make sure you apply to schools where your GPA is not an issue. Expecting a full ride is going to be a stretch.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30576 replies194 threads Senior Member
    What can your parents pay? Can they cover your health insurance? Can they chip in something toward your books? If you need to commute, can they pay for the car and/or car insurance? If you commute and live at home, will they need to start charging you room and board?

    Can your parents carve out anything each month now? We had no college savings until January of Happykid's senior year of high school. We scraped together $500 each month and were able to have the cost of the first semester at her community college safely in the bank before that tuition was due. She got lucky and landed a full-tuition and fees scholarship there, so we kept on stashing $500 each month into savings and she used what would have gone for the CC tuition and fees for costs when she transferred.
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  • delilahxcdelilahxc 240 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @Sybylla, the "No specific achievement in any category of the AES award factors guarantees a scholarship or specific award level" is in fact new. AES used to have three distinct level with different automatic qualifying standards. Those standards have been tightened annually. If my memory serves from this admission cycle, op would qualify for full tuition based on her test score but the GPA would limit her stipend award (I want to say I saw people with similar stats get the 1k stipend level but I couldn't say for sure. The 3k stipend was very hard to get this year.) But with AES becoming more competitive, it's very difficult to say for certain what this next cycles awards will look like.

    It should also be noted that due to fund limitations, the priority deadline is January 15.

    I believe NMF is the only automatic scholarship UTD currently offers.
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  • GTAustinGTAustin 1238 replies9 threads Senior Member
    @Sybylla and @delilhxc, you are both right, there is no guarantee on what level you will receive at UTD. The SAT of 1550 is definitely in line with the higher levels. Rank of the student would also feed in, the higher the better. The student does have 2 other things going for themselves - they are OOS and hispanic. Both of those attributes UTD is looking for. I say apply early - September/October and you will get an answer fairly quickly both on admission and level of AES. For both the top two levels, your tuition and fees would be paid for. One would give you $6000/yr for living, the second $2000/yr with COL about $10,000 to $12,000. You could pay for that difference by working and taking out the small student loans. Living off campus can also be cheaper. If you apply early, you will know if that is an option early in the process.

    Also, research other schools that do provide significant merit scholarships. You could qualify for University of Alabama Presidential Scholarship which would be close to full tuition. Also, a full tuition scholarship at University of Alabama at Huntsville which is a good STEM school. At both, you would need to pay for living. I'm sure there are many more that I'm not familiar with.

    As others have said, you probably will not find a full ride scholarship unless you are a NMF but you can find full tuition + scholarships. Apply to these schools that give high merit, research living expenses and travel costs, and see who gives you the best offer. Also, start working and saving your money.
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  • whidbeyite2002whidbeyite2002 219 replies1 threads Junior Member
    NM Scholarship status is unfortunately very hard to achieve in WA state. UW Seattle gives out very little merit aid. I would be inclined to look for colleges with high merit scholarships here on CC. Hopefully @nusername’s family will have the funds later to help if the family income level continues. I’m also wondering if the high school offers ROTC...
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2885 replies8 threads Senior Member
    Check out scholarships at the University of Alabama.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43091 replies470 threads Senior Member
    Run the NPC on WWU and WSU, Whitman, Lewis&Clark - they may reward you for your SAT score. Participate in scholarship competitions at UPuget Sound and USeattle.
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  • bopambobopambo 1255 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Are you the first in your family to go the college? That would probably be advantageous for you, lots of colleges are interested in getting more economic and cultural diversity on their campuses, your background and test scores should be a big plus for you. Your grades aren't bad. Will your parents be willing to fill out the forms you'll need to apply for financial aid? FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the federal form you'll need completed. You should be eligible for federal loans as well as tuition reduction from the college. Federal loans are capped at a certain level according to your year in college, I think freshman are capped at $5,500 per year in loans and then more aid is often provided by offering work/study jobs during the school year. The college may give you considerably more in reduced tuition, but usually not reduced to zero. And consider expenses such as books and living costs. If you commute to school and have a part time job throughout, you may be able to make it. As MYOS1634 pointed out there are scholarship competitions that schools offer to students who excel in certain areas, these will be unique to each college so look on the websites for more information. Communities and organizations often have scholarship competitions for local students, you can see your high school counselor for information about those. In fact, I think you should go discuss all these things with your guidance counselor at school, he/she may have some good ideas. There are many ways to get a college education and you will need to be creative in pursuing your dream. Your grades and test scores indicate you have a good intellect and resilience, those attributes will help you figure this out. Do you have a family friend or relative who knows about college admissions and can offer some help in figuring things out?
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  • bopambobopambo 1255 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Just read the info other posters have given about UT Dallas, definitely check that out!
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  • nusernamenusername 2 replies3 threads New Member
    Thanks for all the great advice! I'll definitely be looking into UTD and some of the other options. If anyone thinks of other suggestions I'm always open :)
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  • JimQPublicJimQPublic 43 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @nusername Just because your family income is above Pell grant cutoff doesn't mean you wouldn't qualify for substantial financial aid. This is especially true for private colleges with large financial endowments. When you find a college of interest, run the Net Price Calculator (NPC) on the school website using your family's real financial data.
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