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Excess scholarships--how best to maximize the potential of them?

kitandkkitandk 30 replies13 threads Junior Member
My son has been accepted into Univ of WA Engineering. Very fortunately, he has received more in scholarships and aid than the estimated cost of attendance. All the aid and scholarships currently adds up to roughly $3500 more than the cost of attendance. (We haven't yet informed the college of one external scholarship, and he hasn't accepted another in-house scholarship just yet, so I suspect it's possible that his grant aid will be reduced as a result).

He's getting a small state scholarship, a UW scholarship, also a UW College of Engineering scholarship, plus an external engineering scholarship from a mentorship organization he's in. That's in addition to the normal sources of state/federal aid (we are lower income).

A UW fin aid worker once told me that they have a policy of first reducing any loan amounts when scholarships come in. For us that's a moot point, because loans are not part of our financial aid offer.

QUESTIONS:

How best to maximize the potential of these scholarships, and minimize any risk of cancellation of them? I fear a portion might be canceled due to his scholarship resources being larger than the COA, or else grants will just be canceled to offset.

The College of Engineering scholarship letter says that any excess amounts can be deposited in his personal checking account. Is that possible for all scholarships?

Would it be advisable (or even possible) to try to defer any of these scholarships, so that the money could be used in later years, when aid might not be as plentiful?

We also have a 529 for him, and I've read that there are ways to use that to advantage with unused portions of scholarships. Any tips?

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Replies to: Excess scholarships--how best to maximize the potential of them?

  • cshell2cshell2 1093 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Are you facturing everything into the cost of attendance (personal expenses, books, travel)? If so, I'm pretty sure they cannot pay out an overage amount greater than the listed COA.

    I've been looking into this myself as we would be in the same situation if DS stayed home and attended online classes, but it looks to be they will be returning to campus after all.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78287 replies3528 threads Senior Member
    Colleges can’t give you aid in excess of the cost of attendance in most cases. You are required to inform the college of any outside scholarships you receive. It is up to the college to determine what happens.

    1. If you student received a FULL cost of attendance merit award, and he got an outside scholarship, it is possible he would be able to keep that award. Not a need based award...a full cost of attendance merit award.

    2. If your kid is a Pell Grant recipient, he would be entitled to get that award, and if his costs were otherwise covered, he would get that Pell award anyway.

    3. If you can defer receipt of any of these awards to other years when the total aid won’t exceed the cost of attendance...that would be good.

    4. As noted, check that you are looking at the full cost of attendance.

    Just be honest. Report what your son has gotten in scholarships. The school will apply those to his costs. If they reduce the aid awarded, it usually starts with self help like loans and work study...then dips into grants. In many cases merit awards are bit reduced.
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1657 replies45 threads Senior Member
    I know two students who receive more in scholarships than the COA at their schools (neither receive FA). Both get the extra funds put in their bank accounts. So it's possible, though it will vary by school.
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  • kitandkkitandk 30 replies13 threads Junior Member
    edited June 30
    cshell2, yes, it's over and above the complete COA, including books, board, personal, etc. That's lucky your kid's U is returning to normal classes. I hope Univ of WA will too, though it hasn't committed to either way yet. (As for the C-bug, the only thing that worries me about it is the complications that some seem so keen to make of it.)
    edited June 30
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  • kitandkkitandk 30 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Hi Thumper1--thanks again for your helpful comments. Certainly we will inform college of all scholarships.
    He does get a Pell, approx $4700.
    I'll try contacting UW FA office and ask them their policies on the different sorts of scholarships, then I'll see if it makes sense to inquire about deferring some.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78287 replies3528 threads Senior Member
    Do contact the college. The policies vary from school to school.

    Congratulations on his achievements. The good news...he has college fully funded!!
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  • kitandkkitandk 30 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Update: just talked to a UW fin aid specialist, who told me that basically you can't get money in excess of full COA, and any excess merit-based scholarship (from outside or inside) will simply decrease both the UW general scholarship and the UW Tuition Exemption (and possibly other aid) because these are need-based.

    She told me the cash-out of excess for his UW Engineering scholarship basically means any amount above tuition. True, this excess would go to his bank account, but he would simply have to apply this money to COA expenses over and above tuition, for example housing expenses (which would have been covered by the aid in our case anyway). So I guess they figure any excess is NOT going to help my son beef up his personal bank account! (Darnit!) But really, we can't complain. Other than a modest EFC that my wife and I will pay, he does indeed have his college fully funded.

    The fin aid specialist also pointed out that because at least a couple of the UW in-house scholarships only pay out more in the first couple years of attendance, his additional scholarships that pay out the same every year will likely benefit us later, in the Junior and Senior year.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83404 replies741 threads Senior Member
    Do any of the scholarships have high renewal requirements (e.g. college GPA > 3.5)? If so, be sure to plan for the possibility of non-renewal.
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  • kitandkkitandk 30 replies13 threads Junior Member
    edited July 1
    Good point, ucbalumnus, both the major scholarships he got are curiously not specific on GPA on their acceptance docs, one says it requires "good academic standing" and the other says "satisfactory" grades.

    BTW my son put an email in to one outside scholarship asking if it would be possible to defer it to the last two years of college, since the UW scholarships are frontloaded for mostly the first two years. Waiting for a reply on that. The money on this outside scholarship would essentially go to waste (from our perspective) during this first year, and probably the second year as well, since it will simply displace grants, apparently dollar for dollar. (From what I'm gathering, the college would enjoy this outside scholarship now because it would save the college grant money.)
    edited July 1
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  • thumper1thumper1 78287 replies3528 threads Senior Member
    Does your college include things like a computer in the cost of attendance? If not, ask if they can add that amount on to the cost of attendance.

    In addition, have you take the Direct Loan? At some colleges, the first thing to get reduced is the loan, then work study. But if you haven’t taken that loan, it can’t be reduced. Then again, if your aid covers the full cost of attendance, you might not be able to take that loan.

    You do need to ask this college about the full cost of attendance. Make sure everything is included. Some schools will add the cost of a new computer onto the COA...others won’t.

    @kelsmom
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  • cshell2cshell2 1093 replies11 threads Senior Member
    kitandk wrote: »
    Good point, ucbalumnus, both the major scholarships he got are curiously not specific on GPA on their acceptance docs, one says it requires "good academic standing" and the other says "satisfactory" grades.

    You can probably find on the school's website somewhere what they define as "satisfactory academic progress". Ours says 2.0 GPA and completing 67% of credits attempted or something like that.

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  • kitandkkitandk 30 replies13 threads Junior Member
    to thumper1 and cshell2

    Great idea to ask for computer to be included in COA. Might also ask for phone. (Believe it or not, he doesn't have one. And I think schools now encourage Ss to use them for emergency alerts as well as other things.) I'll have him ask FA for that today.

    Thanks for tip on "satisfactory progress": I looked it up, and at UW it is 2.0 GPA, finishing at least half the normal credits in each term, and finishing the program within a certain maximum credit amount.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24804 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Yes, some colleges can adjust the COA just for one student who may have special financial needs - a computer, first year set up costs, a phone and the service monthly, any unusual travel costs (from a small town without air service).

    It's not a sure thing, but you can put together a list and ask.
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  • dadof2ddadof2d 274 replies23 threads Junior Member
    Congratulations on the great aid your son is receiving!

    One additional item to consider. Some outside scholarships are dependent on not reducing other aid. One of the scholarships D18 has requires annual verification from the school that other aid is not being reduced due to the scholarship.

    D18's school allows her outside scholarships to take the place of loans and work study.

    Hopefully you can defer some of the outside scholarships to take advantage of all of the aid.
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