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Just Toured Furman and We are in Love, Any Other Recent Tour Reviews? Current/Recent Parents/Studen


Replies to: Just Toured Furman and We are in Love, Any Other Recent Tour Reviews? Current/Recent Parents/Studen

  • dheldrethdheldreth Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    ColdinMinny, I certainly understand. Both of my Ds had acceptances to highly ranked (top 25) national universities with a liberal arts curriculum. Even with what they considered generous merit aid they were unaffordable because we are in that "donut hole". We got a lot of scholarship money from Furman and SC (we are in state) which made it very affordable and so was the school of choice for both Ds.

    I think the benefits of a liberal arts education that my Ds found at Furman can be found at many of the LACs around the country. I do wish they weren't so expensive. They are out of reach for many students.
  • mommameganmommamegan Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    @ColdinMinny we are exactly the donut family you are speaking of in regards to Furman. My husband graduated from there and we have always loved the school. D was named a Furman scholar and spent a week there last summer. She was admitted and awarded a $16,000 merit scholarship. This does not stack with the alumni discount. As a matter if fact none of the scholarships stack ( except maybe music). D was awarded similar aid to other LAC however when they start a full. $10,000 less it makes a difference. Furman only offers 4 full rides and 5-6 full tuitions. The next level of scholarship is $25,000. The it drops to 16,000 and down from there. We do not qualify for any FA. Sewanee made it more affordable by the merit aid stacking with the Tennessee Hope scholarship ( we are from TN ) she was also recently admitted into a leadership program at Sewanee that added more scholarship. Sewanee also caps the tuition so the price you start with stays the same for 4 years. Furman has increased tuition so much over the last few years, we were afraid if they kept the same pace it would become unmanageable,.
    In the end Furman had been our top choice for a while, but when D saw the aid packages she was getting from similar LAC she could not figure out why Furman costs so much more. Honestly, I can't either. You are right in most cases it is a full $10,000 more per year. We had told D she could go there ( it was going to be painful ) but in the end she chose Sewanee. I think Furman was a little surprised. I will say this, when a family like us is questioning the value ( it's a great school for sure, but honestly no school should cost $61,000 ), has a parent who is an alum ( actually pioneered the music major to pre med program that many kids do now ) and have means to go there choosing another school it makes me think they have out priced themselves. There may be plenty of families willing to pay that much, we were not one of them. I'll be curious to see what the new president does. The former one did not last long there and the faculty was not happy at all about the test optional and lowering the merit aid to get more full priced students in there. One of DH friends is a professor there and we spoke of this at our visit. The new president is very nice, we met her when she came to Memphis. Maybe with her doctorate in accounting she can improve the tuition situation there.
  • ColdinMinnyColdinMinny Registered User Posts: 902 Member
    @mommamegan Thanks for you comments. Makes me feel better, that we were no alone not seeing the value.

    It does not surprise me that the faculty would be unhappy with going test-optional and dropping merit aid levels; they want to teach the best and the brightest, not the wealthiest students.

    Well, time will tell, but that ship has sailed for our S.

    I can tell you this: we will be back in Greenville to visit. Loved that small city!
  • hornethornet Registered User Posts: 660 Member
    Sad to hear Furman doesn't take care of its legacy well. My son did comment that it seemed like the athletes (Furman is D1 and can offer scholarships) and musicians made up the bulk of middle class kids. He is now at Carnegie Mellon for grad school and enjoys having more middle class peers that spend spring break at school or home and drive 15 year old cars (like he does). That said, the school was a friendly place and a good education. Schools do change however. D turned down Vassar many years ago and went to Grinnell. At that time, Vassar did not give out the aid they do now. A new president at Vassar changed things dramatically Maybe Furman will shift with the new president.

    I agree about the price issue. Had Furman come with the price tag you are talking about, my son would not have gone there. The LACs mentioned here are all very similar in what they have to offer. An excellent experience can be had at any of them. We had no regrets when D turned down Vassar, Oberlin and a few others. Seversal years later, it has made no difference in her grad school acceptances. Although no one in our community knew of Grinnell, the grad schools did.
  • MidwestDad3MidwestDad3 Registered User Posts: 2,186 Senior Member
    We are in the donut as well. D was accepted to 8 lacs, all with merit. The merit awards ranged from $5k to $25k, with the two highest awards coming from schools where she was a legacy. The final cost to attend ranged from $29k to $60k at the places she was accepted.

    It seems like the highest variability in awards occurs for the kids just beyond the need-based cut-off. For families in that segment, whether applying to Furman or elsewhere, I would suggest applying to a wide enough selection of lacs that your child can actually see herself attending, so you can get a good comparison of merit offers. There is a good discussion of this over on the Southern LACs thread. Along with Furman for example, one might consider Wofford, Sewanee or Rhodes.
  • hornethornet Registered User Posts: 660 Member
    Need-based aid is that it can change from year-to-year (sometimes in a negative way). My kids overlapped two years. D's LAC came through with aid the two years they were in college at the same time. Because S did not have need aid, his costs remained the same at Furman after D graduated. I have known of families with huge tuition jumps (and loss of need money) when a parent got a significant raise or inheritance as well. When an older child graduates, the aid also can decrease if it is need-based for the younger.
  • mommameganmommamegan Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    @ Hornet you are right about the middle class kids. My husband was a music major when he attended Furman on a music scholarship. He was actually the first music major who took the pre requisites for medical school as electives. This is now a plan they have used for many kids since then. It was funny when we toured they mentioned it ( that some. Music majors can go on to medicine ) DH was laughing.
    Furman has an amazing music department and I have no doubt those kids get nice scholarships that make Furman more affordable. D is a great clarinet player ( like her dad) but is not passionate enough about it to want to play in college.
    I do think they are going to need to re think the tuition. They recently eliminated ( or talked about eliminating) the golf program there. I just think something is off with their financial management. Yes, they have a beautiful campus that is probably really expensive to manage but so do a lot of other LAC. In general the cost of college is skyrocketing to the point where all schools are ridiculous. I mean when we start saying a college that is $48,000 is " affordable" what the heck has happened. That being said to be a full $10,000 more ??
    It is interesting to me that the new president has a doctorate in accounting. Maybe that is part if the reason she was hired. I have a son who will go through this process in 4 years or so, that should be enough time for her to get in there and implement her vision ( whatever that should be ). I'll be curious to see what the landscape will be like then. I seriously doubt we will consider Furman. I think we may even stop donating as alums. When D was accepted at Sewanee I was shocked to hear my husband say I hope she goes there. That comment was not only about the cost. Taking a closer look at Furman through this process I think was pretty disappointing for him.
  • 123Angus123Angus Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    My daughter toured Furman a couple weeks ago and spent the night on campus with the daughter of a family friend. Another family friend has a son at Furman. Both students love FU but both complain about the social life. They feel it is a bit like HS in some ways. But Greenville is a fantastic town with much to do, however, a student has either got to take a shuttle or drive. There are a few places to eat in Travelers Rest, but that also is not right next to campus. The campus is beautiful but a bit isolated. Every student we came into contact with was cheerful and polite. Of course, the size is also a Furman positive in that you won't take Econ 101 in an auditorium with 500 other students. All of the students with whom my daughter spoke mentioned that their professors were easy to contact and willing to help when needed.

    There is drinking and parties on the FU campus and some drug use as well. Of course, there is a difference between a 30K student school where one can find a party or social activity every night of the week and constantly meet new people and a school like FU where everything is done on a smaller scale.

    Another positive which sets FU apart from most other LACs is that FU at 2,700 students FU really does feel much bigger than many 1,800 student LACs. Having a D1 sports program also helps.

    Personally, I think FU would be a great fit for my daughter but I understand those who feel it is just a bit too small.

    @momamegan - interesting the connection between undergrad music major and med school. Our older child is about to graduate from U of Rochester where there are a ton of undergrad pre-med kids as well as a few hundred at their Eastman School of Music. Some of the Eastman music majors have gone on to med or dental school. IIRC a recent parent magazine said U of R had looked at all undergrad majors to see which major had the best odds of med school acceptance and the answer was.....religion majors. Seems many med schools also like well rounded classes and the thought that one must only major in bio or chem to gain entrance to med school is not accurate.
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