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How to ask colleges what financial aid package will look like with national merit scholarship

ShipAlreadySankShipAlreadySank Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
Okay, so a good amount of my colleges give NMF scholarships, ranging from a couple thousand a year to 30k per year. I'm not ready to do the college choice thing on the website. I know that some colleges will decrease need based aid if you get more merit aid.

For example, the school that gives 30k a year doesn't meet 100% of need. In fact, according to their NPC, the scholarship would be more than my entire FA package. There'd still be a gap between the scholarship + efc and cost of attendance. In this scenario, could I expect to still get a little need based aid?

Can I tell my colleges that I'm a NMF and ask them to give me a financial aid estimate based on that info without listing them as my sponsor college? Would that be weird or impossible?

Replies to: How to ask colleges what financial aid package will look like with national merit scholarship

  • STEMFamilySTEMFamily Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    Colleges WILL decrease need-based aid when you get a merit scholarship because the scholarship decreases need. It doesn't matter whether they know it now or later. Attempting to hide it now will do no good. They will adjust your need when the merit is awarded. Any grants based on financial need will be removed and replaced with the merit scholarship. The only incremental benefit will be the amount that the merit scholarship exceeds the need-based FA.

    Sure, you can contact the colleges and ask them the impact. It isn't weird. And the financial aid office won't have your name until after March 1st even if you did name them as First Choice now.

    Regardless, there is no harm in waiting until either the NM Corp. final deadline of May 31st or the college's own deadline for these large scholarships, whichever comes earlier. And you can always change to undecided or different colleges anytime before the deadline.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,233 Forum Champion
    <<<
    For example, the school that gives 30k a year doesn't meet 100% of need. In fact, according to their NPC, the scholarship would be more than my entire FA package. There'd still be a gap between the scholarship + efc and cost of attendance. In this scenario, could I expect to still get a little need based aid?
    <<<

    ?

    What is your EFC?

    What aid did the NPC show?

    Did the NPC also show the scholarship? If not, then the NPC result may not be accurate unless the aid shown was all fed aid.

    What schools did you apply to that give large NMF money?

    Do you still need a financial safety??? It sounds like you do.
  • ShipAlreadySankShipAlreadySank Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    @STEMFamily I don't want to try and "hide" it in hopes that I will be able to get more money. I plan on submitting my college choice when I've decided on which school I want to attend (that's what people do, right?). I just want a financial aid estimate that takes into account NMF status, even if it may not increase the amount of aid I get before I make that final decision.

    Can I use the NMF college choice the same way you can add more colleges on the FAFSA? (Submit my choice, wait a while, change my college choice and have both or however many schools notified?) I'm not quite clear on how college choice works. Is the college I have listed on May 31st the only college that is notified?

    Or, if one college had a deadline of April 1st, could I list them as my college and then change my college choice to somewhere else to meet a deadline of April 15th or something?
  • STEMFamilySTEMFamily Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    (Submit my choice, wait a while, change my college choice and have both or however many schools notified?)

    Or, if one college had a deadline of April 1st, could I list them as my college and then change my college choice to somewhere else to meet a deadline of April 15th or something?

    Yes.

    May 31st is the latest that you can declare a First Choice but NMCorp will start sending college-sponsored scholarship offers on May 1st and then periodically until the end of May. So, you need to be either "undecided" or have you final First Choice listed at any time in May.

    Note that those large scholarships only include a small part that is actually from NMCorp (500 - 2000/yr) The rest of those scholarships come directly from the school and they set the rules for those. Some of those schools require you to have them listed as First Choice on May 1st. You can't then change after that and get a different school's NMCorp college-sponsored award, at least not the part that comes directly from NM Corp.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,370 Senior Member
    So at most of those colleges who say they give $2,000 to NMFs... they will just reduce your need based aid by that amount, so your cost of attendance is the same. You can call and ask each of them.
  • ShipAlreadySankShipAlreadySank Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    @intparent Even if the school hasn't met 100% of need? That's...kind of lame, but more or less what I expected. Alright, I think I will do that.
  • ShipAlreadySankShipAlreadySank Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    @mom2collegekids

    > What is your EFC?
    About 22k.

    > What aid did the NPC show?
    COA: 63k
    Grant: 30k
    Self-help: 7k (1.5k work, 5.5k loan)
    My net price: 33k

    > Did the NPC also show the scholarship? If not, then the NPC result may not be accurate unless the aid shown was all fed aid.
    I was using the one on collegeboard. None of the boxes asked about test scores/gpa/NMF status, but the aid still seems higher than I expected. I'm suspicious. The collegeboard breakdown isn't detailed, so it doesn't say if it's a scholarship.

    >What schools did you apply to that give large NMF money?
    Northeastern, USC.

    > Do you still need a financial safety??? It sounds like you do.
    I've got a school I could attend for about 20k, so I think I'm safe for now.

    Looking at this NPC, I guess it's very unlikely they'd give me any more money to decrease self-help.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 9,419 Senior Member
    Are your sure you will win NM?

    My son won a corporate award.

    He was offered ½ tuition- $20K- at USC. The rest of the $40K would have been on us. Son chose another school.
  • ROCKFISHDGROCKFISHDG Registered User Posts: 341 Member
    My daughter (now a sophomore) was admitted at Northeastern University in Feb regular decision (top candidate). Her financial aid package was initially $18,000 Deans Scholarship (merit aid) and $20,700 University Grant (need based aid) plus Stafford & Perkins Loans & work study. Once we reported to them that she was a NMF, (and selected NU as first choice school) she was given the $30,000 National Merit Scholarship - but the need based grant was reduced by the amount of the merit increase. So, in the end, it was six of one, half a dozen of the other. We chose the National Merit Scholarship, for the prestige factor on her resume. I certainly believe the award is very prestigous.NU does $29,000 unofficial award (a discount if you will), and $1000 official award per year (two semesters) for four years (eight semesters). By the way, there was a price to pay for the prestige, namely 100 hours per school year of CEP (Civil Engagement Program). It is a rewarding, yet time consuming program of community service.
  • ShipAlreadySankShipAlreadySank Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    @ROCKFISHDG Thanks for the indepth reply!
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,233 Forum Champion
    <<<
    I've got a school I could attend for about 20k, so I think I'm safe for now.
    >>>

    Is it a school you like? Have your parents said that they'll pay the $20k per year?
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