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I don't think I will get financial aid but can't afford college!!!!

averageapp1852averageapp1852 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
Basically I need schools where I will hopefully get really good merit scholarship! My dad makes a decent middle class salary but has a lot of investments and other assets which pretty much disqualify us from financial aid (because theoretically we could just sell them but it's not that simple obviously)... I'm a pretty average student I think but my school does not disclose our stats (gpa, rank, etc). All I know is that I am in the second decile (top 20% of my class) and my ACT is a 29 and my SAT is 1260 but I haven't gotten my most recent scores back yet so hopefully it increases. My school has 5 levels of classes (in order from lowest to highest) CP, CP1, H, H1, AP and I was in all H and then moved up to almost all H1 by senior year. I have taken the most AP classes that my school will let my take (3 - chem, stats, and calc) based on prereqs and other weird policies involving required study periods based on the number of APs. I have gotten all As, A-s, and 4 B+s over 24 classes in 3 years. I live in Massachusetts if that helps with area and I don't mind going far but maybe not passed the Mississippi. PLEASE HELP WITH WHERE I'M REALLY QUALIFIED FOR MERIT SCHOLARSHIP!!!!!
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Replies to: I don't think I will get financial aid but can't afford college!!!!

  • collegemom9collegemom9 823 replies30 threads Member
    Your school doesn’t give you your GPA? Do you go to a public school? It’s going to be tough for people to help without GPA.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9982 replies386 threads Senior Member
    What do you need the net cost to be?
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  • averageapp1852averageapp1852 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
    my guess is my gpa is about a 3.75 unweighted based on my grades but I can't be 100% sure obviously
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  • averageapp1852averageapp1852 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I could probably afford no more than $20,000 a year including everything and that would be with loans and working while in school.
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  • CaMom13CaMom13 2392 replies15 threads Senior Member
    So - you can calculate your own GPA. It's pretty simple to do and you can google it.
    Just because your Dad has assets doesn't mean you won't get financial aid. The calculation only takes 4% of the assets as available for college. You need to get yourself better oriented before you start looking for schools:

    Calculate your own GPA.
    Ask your parents what they can and will contribute for college (if anything)
    Do a rough FAFSA calculation to get your expected family contribution

    When you have those things done you know the minimum "gap" between what's available and what you will be expected to have available. That's what you need to meet (minimum) with merit aid. When you know your GPA, your scores and how much merit aid you need people here can be much more helpful.

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  • averageapp1852averageapp1852 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
    so unweighted out of 100 I think I have a 92.9 and that would be a 3.7???
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  • averageapp1852averageapp1852 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
    the fafsa 4caster said that roughly $40,000 would be the efc but we could max afford $20,000 so I have to make roughly $20,000 in merit money which is DAUNTING
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  • mamag2855mamag2855 842 replies2 threads Member
    Luckily you have some excellent public Unis in MA which you can add to your list and build from there.. I have family members who graduated from Westfield State and Framingham State recently , and they did well and enjoyed their experiences at both schools. Fitchburg State also has a good reputation, along with Umass Amherst and the UMass branches. They are often a good value for in state students, especially the state Unis. ,

    You need to find out what your family is willing to pay for your college. Your best chances for merit aid will be at colleges where your scores and gpa are above the 75% ile of admitted students. Odds are better with higher scores, you can self study or take a course and try to raise yours.

    You will also need to research whether each colllege even offers merit aid, and how much (some offer none or only smaller amounts). Sources for financial info and admitted student profiles are college websites, common data sets, also the government college navigator tools https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

    You/your parents should also run the Net Price Calculators for each college you are interested in to get a rough idea of costs.
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  • cshell2cshell2 1114 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Just because your EFC is 40K doesn't mean you have to spend 40K. There are schools in MA with a 20K/year cost of attendance. Choose from those.
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  • averageapp1852averageapp1852 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I'm not the biggest fan of the UMass Amherst vibe (if you know what I mean) but I definitely am considering some of the smaller public universities. UMass Boston just built new dorms but isn't really the community I am looking for. As for Westfield, Bridgewater, and framingham, I haven't visited so I don't know. Does anyone know which one would have the best undergrad focus and research opportunities?
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9982 replies386 threads Senior Member
    The federal student loans are $5500/year. How much will your parents pay (without borrowing)? Those two figures, plus whatever you can earn in the summer are your base budget. You can pay in monthly installments, but unless you're planning to work full-time while you're in college you won't be able to pay much on student earnings so try to raise your test scores so you'll be eligible for merit.

    Make sure you have a safety school or two lined up first, then add whatever reach schools you want. Your state schools would make good safeties if they're affordable.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78481 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    The calculation only takes 4% of the assets as available for college.

    Not correct @CaMom13 the FAFSA calculation uses 5.6% or so of assets. PLUS....some private universities consider home equity of the primary residence to some degree as well...which the FAFSA doesn’t do.

    For significant merit aid, I believe this student will need to retake their ACT and hope to score over 33.
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  • MAandMEmomMAandMEmom 1747 replies10 threads Senior Member
    I would say that of the state universities, bridgewater would have the most research opportunities in the science area.

    Have you considered UMass Dartmouth? A bump in ACT score will definitely help with merit. My son received full tuition and fees with an ACT of 34.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7948 replies160 threads Senior Member
    MA has some great state schools! Are you close enough to commute to any of them?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30448 replies59 threads Senior Member
    As others have said, you have some affordable state options in the state of MA. You are not likely to be going to sleep away school. Those expenses alone run about $15k. But you can comfortably afford tuition.

    In order to get sufficient merit money to make up the gap, the thing that is the biggest issue in your case are your test scores. If you can raise them, you’d increase your chances of getting merit money.

    Be aware, however, that most colleges will reduce financial aid by scholarship money. For in college funds, the way the usually do it. Is that they award institutional merit awards first and then calculate financial need with those scholarships in place. So it’s not a matter of getting “just” $20k in merit money. You pretty much have to get enough merit money to cover whatever the COA OG s school is, minus what you and your family AND FINANCIAL AID will pay.
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  • bobo44bobo44 242 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Schools where a 29 ACT and similar grades brought merit offers between $18,000-$25,000: Butler, Dayton, University of San Diego, University of Denver. Not sure if strict merit or combination of merit and FA, but also same 18-25K range: Denison, St. Olaf. Had good extracurriculars, recommendation, essay. FAFSA EFC was around $26000. Nobody met full need, even though they say they do.

    I think you can get merit money, but cost of attendance for most private schools runs around $70K or more, so your parents only putting in $10K (plus your earnings and loan, another 10K) won't make a big enough dent to make most private schools affordable. If your parents have major assets they may have to tap them to get you through most schools. I'm a single elementary school teacher nearing retirement (with a decent pension) and I am selling stock assets every month for tuition payments. And my "assets" are very modest. Other families in similar situations find money by taking second mortgage, HELOC, or second job. It pretty much is expected that families make some sacrifice for tuition. My daughter mostly targeted schools where she would be in top 25% so she could get merit. State flagship gave no help (Illinois--expensive in state!). Her best deal by far would have been University of Nebraska with auto merit (still over $20000) and University of Iowa (just a bit over $30000 with merit and FA--and a super nice school).
    Good luck--I think you will find a school that will work for you.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4184 replies92 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    My D attends Northeastern. With her merit and whatever little financial aid that she got, it pretty much covers 80% of the tuition (tuition is $50K/yr), so out of pocket is the remaining tuition and housing, etc which is around $23K/yr. Her unweighted GPA was in the 3.6-ish range but she did get a 34 ACT/2200 SAT (new SAT converts to around 1500?) and took a ton of AP classes. That’s probably what you need to be shooting for for merit.
    edited June 2019
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  • HRSMomHRSMom 4605 replies50 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    What about some of the SUNY schools? Other than Binghamton and Buffalo? Say, Plattsburgh. You might get merit there and the whole TRB total is around $31k for out of state. Your stats should get you at least the $7500 welcome to NY grant.

    Also, if Dad’s investments are in a retirement account, it may not be an issue.
    edited June 2019
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  • averageapp1852averageapp1852 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
    if it helps the investments are a combination of stocks, a few rental properties, and a little cryptocurrency. He has virtually no debt but not much savings unfortunately. He refuses to sell any of it for me to go to college because that "defeats the purpose of investing." I'm really really hoping my june SAT scores are good, they come back on july 10th. That seems like my best bet? If that doesn't work out then September ACT?
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 34136 replies4919 threads Super Moderator
    Yes, try both.
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