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Award Displacement at Northwestern

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Replies to: Award Displacement at Northwestern

  • collegemom9collegemom9 795 replies30 threadsRegistered User Member
    @MarcoContreras It doesn't appear so. You can take out loans yourself and work. You can reach out to your FA adviser and see if they have any suggestions.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2236 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 12
    So essentially there’s no way to help out my family by earning outside scholarships?

    Correct. You could take out the $5,500 federal direct student loan to help lessen the burden on your parents. You can take out a max of $27K in undergraduate student loans, which is probably not an undue burden when coming out with an NU degree.

    Note that if you do work during the summers/school year, this income will likely reduce your financial need in future years.
    edited June 12
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22965 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    On the link to the Northwestern policy, it tells students to contact the school to discuss this:
    The Financial Aid Office makes every effort to avoid a reduction of a student’s Northwestern Scholarship assistance. Students who receive an outside scholarship in excess of their self-help may want to contact our office to discuss their financial circumstances. The Financial Aid Office may be able to reconsider eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

    The school determined how much your family could pay and awarded the rest as NEED based aid. If you get that from an outside scholarship, you no longer have that need. If NU had known about the scholarships when you submitted the financial aid application (which is usually impossible since those outside scholarships can keep coming in throughout the spring and summer) it wouldn't have awarded the need based aid at all.

    It's a good think that you were awarded those scholarships. You earned them for your academics or talent and now need less in need based aid from the school.
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 15580 replies98 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 12
    Did you have SEOG or FWS in your aid package? If so, then it's true that federal regulations would not allow you to receive an outside scholarship without the school adjusting aid to keep it all within your Need (which is Cost of Attendance - EFC). What federal regulations do not dictate is which components of the aid package will be adjusted ... that is done according to the school's policies.

    You can request an unsubsidized loan up to $5,500 or the amount of your EFC, whichever is less.

    Why do they do what they do? Because aid is limited, and they have determined that this particular policy is best for them in terms of being able to distribute limited aid to the neediest students. When your need is reduced by an outside scholarship, you become that much less needy. I know it seem unfair, but they publish their policies & apply them to everyone.
    edited June 12
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14738 replies985 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have friends who go to other private institutions who have not had the same issue.
    If true they either had merit aid or failed to tell the university of the outside grants. If the latter they will inevitably be caught.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I’m sorry this happened to you. I’m from the old days when students could make money on scholarships and financial aid. My EFC, back in the day, if they even called it that was about half the cost of what a private college cost. Two schools loaded merit money On TOP Of the need based aid, giving me a full ride. Basically, federal money, (BEOG back then) and college financial funds, allowed the school to reduce their merit money awards to me and use that money to buy other top students without need. Then I got outside money, which was just extra in the bank for me. I was flush in funds going off to school. But no more so than a well to do student who got merit money and scholarships

    These days, my alma mater would not permit this. They’d do exactly what NW is doing. Financial aid would be reduced by merit funds so that you would get your full need met but still have to pay what their EFC comes out to be. And the outside scholarships would reduce need based awards even more. The reason for that, is so that the school has even more money to give out as financial aid to those kids who need it. It’s difficult for schools to be need blind in admissions AND guarantee to meet full need. My alma mater wasn’t there yet; it’s getting there, maybe it’s there now. With the cost of college going up as it has, more and more applicants are qualifying for financial aid, so that money is watched carefully. And at schools that also have merit awards, they find those necessary to keep their rankings up there to get those kids who would otherwise go to HYP.

    You are going to one of the few schools that do guarantee to meet full need and you did not get self help in your package. Likely it was replaced by the merit money, and you didn’t see it unless NW gives no self help in Fin aid packages. I didn’t check, so I can’t say. At most colleges, (and maybe even at NW possibly), you would have gotten some loans and work study. You could then usually use outside scholarships to eradicate that part of your aid package.

    Back in the day, I was accepted to three schools that did not give me any merit money. Two simply didn’t give out any scholarships, just Fin aid, and I didn’t get any merit money from the third. So I only got half my cost covered by their packages which puzzled me, as two of those schools were heavier endowed, richer schools I knew. At that time, I didn’t understand what was happening, the merit and need thing, which I now get, many years later

    I agree it is unfair that we’ll to do families can pocket the merit money and scholarships, apply them to their EFC and those with need are stuck paying their EFC regardless of what awards they may win, unless they get amounts exceeding financial aid. It’s because those are two different pots of money, and need only goes if there is need so that as much need can be covered for all applicants.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2236 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^^^NU cpt, NU
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  • PepperJoPepperJo 288 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 12
    I believe some states (MD for example) are making scholarship displacement against the law. My D received a 4 year full tuition award, (but no need based FA), yet our remaining COA will still be about $20k a year. She is applying for an additional small scholarship to cover some student fees and books. I called the FA office at her school to ask if her award would be adjusted, and was told no. However, had she received FA, they would only allow her to keep half of any additional scholarships received, and then reduce her FA award by the remaining half.
    edited June 12
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sorry, @Mwfan1921. NU.

    I’ve not heard of that @PepperJo. A law? In your case, since you got no Financial Aid, any additional scholarships can’t affect it. For all you know, if you had not gotten the merit awards from the university , you might have gotten Fin Aid from them. Usually for those who qualify for both, the package is fixed internally, so you don’t see the offsets being made. Students and families don’t get upset if they don’t see the Financial aid replaced with the merit instead of being stacked. It’s when the scholarships come rolling in later and the school takes away the financial aid award already revealed as in this case, everyone sees the process.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14738 replies985 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @PepperJo Yes because your daughter received merit aid, If it were need based aid it would be reduced if she got outside scholarships.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22965 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Maryland's law is for public colleges, not private. And the school still has to follow federal law for federal funds.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There’s a law?
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  • PepperJoPepperJo 288 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 12
    @cptofthehouse
    Here is a link about Maryland’s law against scholarship displacement.

    https://central-scholarship.org/what-we-do/advocacy/

    In my D’s case, we were awarded $14k in a FA grant, making our EFC $65k a year. A few weeks later, she was awarded a full tuition scholarship (approx $58k) a year, but with the grant taken away. We were notified that the receipt of additional scholarship *could* change the amount given by the university. But a phone call the FA office a few days ago said that didn’t apply to her.
    edited June 12
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  • PepperJoPepperJo 288 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 12
    @TomSrOfBoston
    Yes the FA office said her outside scholarship amounts would be reduced by half if she received any FA. But that’s still better than a university taking it all away.
    Now we just have to make sure we/she have no tax liability for any additional scholarships that don’t count toward qualified educational expenses, which I think also catches people off guard.
    edited June 12
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20736 replies1998 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    In order to lighten your parent's financial burden, then you would need an outside scholarship that covers all of the need based aid you are receiving at North Western. Then it would lower your EFC
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  • LynnskiLynnski 245 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My child was so burnt out and stressed from college applications that she didn't apply for any specific scholarships. There were a few that I think she would have received, but she was a wreck and just couldn't do it. I certainly wish she had, but you can't get blood from a stone and that stone was at the verge of a breakdown.

    Based on that experience, I have a lot of sympathy for the OP. Yes, in this case, the college spelled out expectations quite clearly and doesn't stack aid. But students rarely know what college they'll be attending when they pursue these outside scholarships. The OP made good-faith efforts to garner more funds, and the university made good faith efforts to meet need so the OP can attend. No one is wrong here.

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  • kelsmomkelsmom 15580 replies98 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I know it's really hard to know what to look for and how to keep everything straight. The problem is that schools need to be able to make their own policies based on what they believe works best for them ... which means that they will do their best to publicize their policies, but they can only do so much. Yes, there are kids who end up feeling like they got the shaft as a result. I don't know any way around it, though, and the info is not being hidden. (I am a financial aid director, so I know how hard it is to do everything possible to put things out there & hope people see it.)
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It does hurt when it happens. That’s why colleges will internally coordinate Fin aid and merit awards before sending the package to the student.

    I believe PELL does not get reduced by Merit, is that correct?
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 15580 replies98 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    That is correct. Poll is an entitlement & a student could be overawarded if a combination of Pell & merit (non-need based) exceeds COA. But some schools will include Pell as a component of their full scholarship.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    From the awards I’ve seen with PELL, it has always been integrated into the school grants. It has been many years since I have seen anyone with financial aid have their expected contribution eliminated by merit. I suspect that except at the very few most generous schools, PELL and merit reduce institutional grants into expected contribution, and all of this is done in house without the workings shown.

    I have seen loans and workstudy replaced by scholarships.

    In this case, I don’t know if NU has eliminated self help from their financial aid packages. If they have not, I suspect that some of the institutional merit money went towards loans/workstudy and maybe even towards need grants. No way to tell
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