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Help for college list with high merit/aid

MMomBTRMMomBTR 0 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hi, My D is applying this fall and we are looking for more safety and match schools that will keep our annual college cost under $10k, preferably under $5k. I don't want her to have more than the govt loans if possible, at the end of 4 years. ($27.5k)
She has GPA 3.92
Act 32, SAT (we won't report) 1390 Good ECs, leadership, no sports, nothing like starting a company to make her application POP for the top 20. She likes the mid Atlantic and NewEngland areas, prefers small to 5/10k students. She knows it all depends on price.
We are MD residents so UMD college park is a good candidate, and UMBC. I've done net price calculators for MANY colleges. St Mary's college southern maryland is a little higher.
We are candidates for merit scholarships also and are applying to a few reach select schools that meet all need, but her dad (we are divorced.) makes enough to tip us over $15/20k in net price calculators and he can't afford to contribute to college expenses. We are doing them separately and adding the results. I know they are definitely not totally accurate, but that's the best estimate that's been recommended to me.
I've been looking for schools with great scholarships and aid, ones that don't require the non custodial CSS (haven't found many privates). This is long enough I think. Thank you for any suggestions.
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Replies to: Help for college list with high merit/aid

  • happymomof1happymomof1 29579 replies172 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There are several threads on chasing merit-based aid in the Financial Aid Forum. That would be the best place for you to start looking.
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 320 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 8
    Good luck. Community College then transfer is likely your financial path.
    Try Frostburg and Salisbury, should be offered scholarships and honors opportunities. Those are lower cost areas, housing may be less over four years.
    UMD is iffy, class rank, rigor, so many holistic factors.
    edited September 8
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41727 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Vanderbilt and UChicago would be high reaches but they don't require NCP info. Applying for an undersubscribed subject in which she has experience will likely help (ie., a foreign language, history...) as is the geographical diversity if she starts showing interest right now (start by having her fill out the request info form today).

    For better odds of a full ride, she'd need to retake the act, hoping to score higher in at least one section.

    She's going to need to expand her search beyond 5-10k students (among the most expensive colleges due to likely low financial aid) and Northeast (most expensive region).
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  • cshell2cshell2 404 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    5-10K/year net price is a pretty high bar for a FAFSA only school unless it's one she can commute to. DS20 has a 0 EFC with similar stats (31 ACT and 3.8 GPA) and 10-15K is what most are coming back at for us after Pell and merit. Some of that cost is indirect expenses though.
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33066 replies3745 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Moving to the FA forum
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29579 replies172 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Which county are you in in MD? What are the guaranteed transfer routes from your community college into the state system? Does your CC have any merit money to throw at good students? Check the website carefully and ask the guidance counselor at her high school. Happykid had a merit scholarship at Montgomery College that covered her tuition and fees for 15 credits each semester for all four semesters. We only paid for books and credits over 15. What we saved those two years helped pay for the last two at Towson. Something like that could be your daughter's back-up plan.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74205 replies3245 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    If your net cost needs to be $5000 to $10,000, then your daughter needs more than a full tuition scholarship...because the amount you can pay won’t cover room and board.

    I think your best bet is the community college transfer route. If there is a CC within commuting distance from home, the costs would be within your price point.

    She should get a job, and save save save. She will need money to complete her degree at UMD.

    I think to get the costs down to your price point at a 4 year school where she can live in a dorm...is going to be challenging.

    You could check York College in PA. @fendergirl if you see this perhaps you can chime in. York is a smaller private college, and more modestly priced than most. Your daughter would likely get merit aid there.

    I agree that to improve her chances of acceptance at more generous schools like Vandy and U of Chicago, she needs to retake that SAT or ACT.
    Act 32, SAT (we won't report) 1390

    These really are great scores, but not if you are looking for full tuition plus an additional $5000-$10,000 for other costs like room, board, etc.

    edited September 11
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2064 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There are plenty of scholarships. Right now she would qualify for a near full tuition scholarship at University of AL and University of AZ. Check out UAB, Univ of KY, Auburn, and Mississippi State. Most of the best merit aid can be found in the south and southwest US where it's less populated. Hope that helps.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74205 replies3245 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    She should check University of Alabama Huntsville. Their scholarships are guaranteed also with a slightly lower bar and more money.
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  • cshell2cshell2 404 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    thumper1 wrote: »
    She should check University of Alabama Huntsville. Their scholarships are guaranteed also with a slightly lower bar and more money.

    Unfortunately they raised the bar for 2020-2021. You have to have a 34 ACT to get 100% tuition scholarship (used to just be 30) . If you have a 4.0 GPA the score requirement is a little lower.
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 134 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'd look into living at home and commuting to one of the Maryland state schools. Perhaps find a co op job to help pay and get experience.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29210 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    How much are you and your DD able to pay out of pocket? Is $5-10k coming out of savings and income during the school year? So, Is the $5500 Direct Loan your DD will be able to take out for the year in addition to the $10k figure?

    What is your estimated EFC? What is your 2018 income using AGI on that 1040?

    I’m trying to see if you qualify for Simplified Needs (Your 2018 AGI under $50k) and Auto-Zero EFC (AGI under $26k).

    I’m looking at FAFSA only right now.



    What is your DD’s father’s 2018 income, approximately?

    Looking at those schools that use FAFSA only And will not consider your Ex’s financials, you pretty much have the in state schools. You say you have run a number of NPCs. How are the MD state schools coming out in Net Price? What are UMD-CP, UMBC, Salisbury, Towson, Frostberg, etc reporting? I can tell you that in NY, it would be tough to get the sleep away school price to under $15k because room and board is pricey here , and the state aid formulas do not tend to stack. It would be easy to get free state tuition for her, but beyond that is challenging. I do not know if Maryland is more generous to those students who want to go away to school.

    I’m going to list some problems and alternatives I see:

    Looking for merit money is going to be problematic because most schools will reduce need with scholarship awards. Let’s say we are looking at a school that has a total cost of $75k. Let’s say that she gets $50k in a financial aid package from the school. Let’s say she also gets $20k in merit money. That does not mean the school will necessarily stack the $50k + $20k and give her $70k in combined Financial aid and merit money. No, no, no no! They will more likely reduce her need of $50k by the $20k merit money and reduce her financial aid do that she gets $50k in scholarships and aid. The same if she gets outside scholarships. Most school require your DD to report them, and they usually reduce financial aid. They usually start the reduction with subsidized loans and work study, but with high need , it will likely eat into the grants as well

    So, in order to get grants that don’t just Reduce financial aid, your DD needs to get pretty much s full ride or close to it. At very least a full tuition scholarship. Those are very very difficult to get. Though your daughters numbers are excellent, if you look in these forums, you’ll see many students with near perfect scores vying for those big awards and it’s a reach or lottery ticket for them

    I would look at some OOS schools that have good merit if UMD-CP and your other instate public schools are unaffordable. Some mentioned above like @coolguy40’s suggestions might work. But that means a lot more in travel costs than staying in state, and you have a strong state flagship. Trying to “beat” UMD-CP in rankings and total price is not going to be easy.

    If smaller schools interest and fit your DD better, I suggest looking at Albright, McDaniel, Elizabeth town, Hofstra, and UDenver.

    She can, of course, for high reach schools try to go for some schools generous with financial aid that tend to be selective and hope that the Financial did packages come in affordable when her father’s NCP financial info included on CSS Profile. Rice will give full rides to those with family income below s certain set point and other schools like that may also have such initiatives. The problem is that they are lottery tickets for admissions.

    There are also little known schools in South Dakota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas...far away places, where one can get the whole kit and kaboodle for under $15k. Research, least expensive colleges in US. There are also schools like Berea, Alice Lloyd, Ozarks with unusual programs. I particularly recommend Soka and Deep Spring in California.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41727 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 12
    I don't think OP would qualify financially for Berea etc. since the NCP's income pushes total to 125K. (Also, Alice Loyd, Ozarks, Soka, and Deep Springs all require a very specific turn of mind/set of beliefs. )
    I think a lot of the suggestions depend on whether the 5-10K budget is "out of pocket" expenses then add Pell and/or federal loans, or if it's the total. 10K+5.5K can cover R&B, then the student's savings can cover books&transportation.

    What about Minnesota Morris? As a competitor to St Mary's MD for a smaller school?
    edited September 12
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  • tk21769tk21769 10641 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'd look into living at home and commuting to one of the Maryland state schools.

    I second this. UMBC tuition and fees are about $12K/year (in state).
    With books and transportation, etc., maybe closer to $15K.
    Sounds like that is about what you can afford. $5K-$10K parents' contribution + $5K-$10K in student "self help".

    The schools most likely to offer net prices that low, after merit awards, probably won't be academically stronger than UMBC. Maybe not more attractive in other ways, either. If UMBC isn't within commuting distance, maybe another state school is?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29210 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    MYOS1634 wrote: »
    I don't think OP would qualify financially for Berea etc. since the NCP's income pushes total to 125K. (Also, Alice Loyd, Ozarks, Soka, and Deep Springs all require a very specific turn of mind/set of beliefs. )
    I think a lot of the suggestions depend on whether the 5-10K budget is "out of pocket" expenses then add Pell and/or federal loans, or if it's the total. 10K+5.5K can cover R&B, then the student's savings can cover books&transportation.

    l?

    Does Berea use PROFILE or just FAFSA?

    Yes, mindset is important. Just throwing out some options here. OP is saying With NCP EFC added together to custodial parent’s comes to $15/20k. That is conservative since NCP financials are treated a bit differently than just adding the two EFCs together. Until you actually do these things, impossible to tell how this is going to be handled.

    For whatever reasons, OP indicates UM-CP and UMBC as good affordable options. If that’s the case, those are the schools to “best” in terms of what the student wants.

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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33066 replies3745 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Berea uses FAFSA.
    Yes. Berea College students are required to file a FAFSA for every year they are enrolled at Berea College. The FAFSA must be filed to determine what federal and state financial aid programs the student is eligible for.
    https://www.berea.edu/student-financial-aid/frequently-asked-questions-faq/
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41727 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @cptofthehouse
    Good catch wrt FAFSA v. profile for Berea!
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29210 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It’s a valid point, in general. There are QB kids with zero FAFSA EFC, on free school lunch or other government programs ...... But QB requires PROFILE as well and a NCP with financials that up the expected contribution, can squelch the deal.

    Maneuvering all the intricacies of financial aid eligibility is not easy.

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  • mommdcmommdc 11331 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 13
    That budget is going to be difficult. She will need full tuition plus.

    In MD she should maybe add Towson.
    Maybe IUP honors college will give her good merit, run net price calculators for Susquehanna and Lycoming.

    She can try to see how much merit U Toledo and WVU give, but not sure if it will be affordable.

    Could she commute to an instate university?

    Does MD have a state grant and would your family qualify?
    edited September 13
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  • mommdcmommdc 11331 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    She needs to apply asap to the merit schools.

    If schools that require CSS profile aren't affordable because of her dad, then she should focus on schools that require FAFSA only, or don't require non custodial parent profile, and ones where she has a likely chance of enough merit.
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