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National Merit Class of 2019 - where are you considering/visiting?

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Replies to: National Merit Class of 2019 - where are you considering/visiting?

  • mountainmomof3mountainmomof3 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    @hashtagwhynot - I am taking S19 in a little over a week to visit UF and UCF.
  • PhlipperPhlipper Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    @mountainmomof3 You will love it. Tell us how it goes !
  • mountainmomof3mountainmomof3 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
  • HoustonKenHoustonKen Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    My daughter is in the midst of applying to 4 schools that offer significant benefit to NM Scholars. My wife and I were confused by the various school websites as well as 3rd party websites discussing NM scholarships. All of this information is directly from employees of the 4 schools. We are residents of Texas for purposes of in-state vs out-of-state tuition.

    University of Houston (in-state)
    1) National Merit deal is Tuition and Fees free for 4 years. $2000 for Study abroad. $1000 for Research. Parents pay Room & Board. Automatic deal. NM Finalist has to list UH as 1st choice.

    2) Tier One scholarships are separate application. Same deal as NM but also includes 2 years Room & Board.

    3) UH is what my wife and I call a 3 App school. Regular application. Honors College application. Tier One Scholarship application.


    University of Arkansas (out-of-state)
    1) NM semi-finalists are given Chancellor's scholarship (semi-finalist guaranteed) -- $8000. NM Finalists are given Chancellor's Merit -- $10,000. All of these scholarships are given out in addition to a 90% waiver for out-of-state tuition (i.e. out-of-state families only pay 10% more that in-state families in tuition).

    2) UA Fellowship scholarship can be applied for as well. That requires Letters of Recommendation. 150 kids are selected for an interview with 90 awarded. Grant is $18,000/year.

    3) Full price for Arkansas out-of-state costs are $36K/year -- for room/board/tuition/fees. The 90% tuition waiver knocks the cost down to $22K for room/board/tuition/fees. If you get Chancellors only -- cost is $14K. If you get Chancellor's Merit -- cost is $12K. If you gets the Fellowship -- cost is $4K. These cost numbers are what Ark bills families. It's not "cost-of-attendance" which includes travel etc.

    4) Ark will give a NM scholarship of $750/year if your finalist does not get a NM scholarship or a NM corporate scholarship.

    5) Another 3 App School. Regular application. Honors College application. Fellowship Scholarship application.



  • HoustonKenHoustonKen Registered User Posts: 10 New Member


    University of Mississippi
    1) NM Finalists are given a full-ride. Tuition, room & board and fees. The admissions advisor I spoke to also mentioned travel & research $ but she had to double check. This is the best deal that we have found.

    2) Its a 2 App process. Regular application plus secondary app for Honors College or other special program.

    3) They by far were the most eager to recruit.


    I'll add my notes from my call with Auburn when I get home tonight. My recollection was that it was around $10,000 a year with no automatic break on out-of-state tuition.

    I'm happy to answer any questions. Please email me at kensoh1212 AT yahoo. I don't check this board that often.

  • HoustonKenHoustonKen Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Auburn University (out of state)

    1) Out-of-state tuition is approx $30K. The Auburn rep steered my daughter to apply for the Presidential Scholarship ($18k) which is not specifically tied to NM status. NM Finalists receive a $1-2K stipend. Parental cost for Auburn would be $10K tuition plus room and board. This was the worse deal we researched for NM scholars.

    Correction to prior post about University of Mississippi. It is a 3 application school. Basic undergraduate applications. Honors/Specialty application. Scholarship application.
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,543 Senior Member
    If people are looking for the "best deal" please take a look at Texas Tech for National Merit, they offer a true full ride full tuition and fees, books, room and board, stipend for personal expenses and travel.
  • riklikriklik Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    Baylor's is a lot harder now as well. Does anyone know anything about FAU?
  • mountainmomof3mountainmomof3 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    edited November 6
    Went to visit UF yesterday. S19 really likes campus and town. Admissions tour was quite good. Things to note - seems like their current acceptance rate is about 30% so I would definitely not consider UF an auto admission just based on NMSF status. A student needs to have the rest of their stats/ECs/essay fairly solid as well. Did not get any info on their NMF scholarship. S19 will need to get those details ironed out down the road.

    S19 also met with engineering student for an engineering info session (we could not visit on the same day as any of the formal engineering presentations). This meeting was not terribly informative- the student really seemed unclear on what should have been basic info. We know enough from our research to realize that UF engineering is quite strong and that, although very nice, this student was just not a good representative for the department.

    So despite the fact that UF seems to be quite vague in how they would handle a decrease in funding for OOS benaquistos, it will remain a strong contender if he is admitted and obtains NMF status.

    Visiting UCF today.
  • PhlipperPhlipper Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    @mountainmomof3 You will love it. Tell us how it goes !
  • NJDad00NJDad00 Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    @mountainmomof3 -- Good luck today at UCF. I'm sure you'll give us a full report when you can.

    Also, I know this has kind of been beaten to death, but you should realize that UF does not have a NMF scholarship. The state of Florida does, and UF is one of the schools where it can be used. Its scholarship is exactly the same as the one at UCF, or at any of the other Florida schools that participate. Therefore, as has been said in other threads, the question really isn't how UF would handle a decrease in funding, it's how the state would handle it. Some schools (UCF, USF, etc.) that had big OOS NMF scholarships before Benacquisto was extended to OOS, have committed to reinstating their old NMF scholarships if anything bad happens to OOS Benacquisto. The other schools have not made such a commitment, and it's a pretty safe bet that they will not, since it if not their scholarship to either provide or guarantee.

    As I said before, UF is a great school, and I think the risk of funding being pulled is pretty low, but it's not zero, and you are not going to get a guarantee, so you just have to factor that in.

    On a more positive note, a 30% acceptance rate is not exactly like 9%, and all of the NMFs are pretty attractive candidates, so I really do not think admission is going to be an issue for NMFs who want to attend.
  • mountainmomof3mountainmomof3 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    @NJDad00 - I completely understand it is not an institutional scholarship. That is why we didn’t bother to ask anyone at UF.

    Although I will post later on UCF, one thing that stood out was a conversation with Luke (UCF National Merit Program contact) - he reported he was seeing/hearing a ton of misinformation about the Benacquisto scholarship and how it works at each school. After that conversation, we strongly feel that everyone considering a Benacquisto school should do their due diligence and ask each school. Yes, likely the answer at UF may be hands off but at least the information is coming directly from the school. Then, weigh your decision accordingly.
  • NJDad00NJDad00 Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    @mountainmomof3 -- Congratulations on making it through the visits! :) It sounds like you are validating my prediction of how you would perceive both schools. I'm sorry there was not a clear winner, thereby making decisions easier and reducing anxiety, but it's really a great problem to have. I guarantee you your S19 will not make a mistake given his choices.

    Luke's comment to you surprises me a little, since Benacquisto works exactly the same at all participating schools (full COA - [Bright Futures (FL only!) + National Merit Award - this is $2,500 directly from NM or the small award made by the school]), and that fact couldn't be more clear, so I wonder where the misinformation and confusion comes from????

    In fact, it was UCF and USF making guarantees last year that planted seeds of doubt that made their way to CC regarding future funding at schools like UF. The legislation clearly provides funding for up to 10 semesters as long as certain conditions are met. No school has actually come out and said it will not fund the scholarships if the state balks. That is mere speculation on our part. The doubt only comes from the fact that politics are fickle and priorities change, and some schools guarantee the scholarship and others don't.

    Did Luke happen to elaborate on what misinformation he was referring to?
  • Gator88NEGator88NE Registered User Posts: 6,240 Senior Member
    edited November 7
    I'm also curious on what Luke said...

    There is no difference between schools on how the Benacquisto scholarship is administered. That's dictated by the state. The same applies to the in-state Bright Future scholarships. The only difference between schools would be how effective the student financial affairs department are at processing the scholarships. Even the amount awarded is the same across all schools.

    The only difference would be the actual cost(tuition/fees, room and board) between the schools, and that difference is minor.
    Especially liked how many upper level engineering courses are available.

    I'm surprise UCF offers honor versions of these (upper level) classes. The major difference between UF and UCF is resources, UCF's resources are limited compared to (the much better funded) UF. But all upper level engineering classes are fairly rigorous and often smaller (based on your major), which is why I'm surprise they offer honor versions of these classes.

    I did find the list of classes offered (I'm assuming they are not all offered every semester).
    College of Engineering & Computer Science | College of Optics & Photonics
    1 Honors interdisciplinary seminar
    2 of the following Honors upper-division courses:

    COP 3223H – Honors Introduction to Programming with C (Fall & Spring; CS, IE, IT)
    COP 3502H – Honors Computer Science I (Spring; ComE, CS, IT)
    COP 3503H – Honors Computer Science II (Fall; ComE, CS)
    COT 3100H – Honors Introduction to Discrete Structures (Fall & Spring; ComE, CS)
    EEL 3004C – Honors Electrical Networks (Spring; ComE, EE, PSE)*
    EEL 3123C – Honors Networks and Systems (Fall; ComE, EE, PSE)
    EGN 3310H – Honors Engineering Analysis–Statics (Fall & Spring; AE, CiE, ConE, EnE, IE, ME)
    EGN 3321H – Honors Engineering Analysis–Dynamics (Fall & Spring; AE, CiE, ConE, EnE, IE, ME)
    EGN 3343H – Honors Thermodynamics (Spring; AE, CiE, EnE, IE, ME)
    EGM 3601H – Honors Solid Mechanics (Spring; AE, ME)
    EGN 3365H – Honors Structure and Properties of Materials (Spring; ME)
    ENC 3241H – Honors Writing for the Technical Professional (Fall & Spring; CS, IT)
    MAS 3105H – Honors Matrix and Linear Algebra (Fall; CS, Mathematics Minors)
    PHY 3101H – Honors Physics for Engineers and Scientists III (Spring; CS, EE, PSE)
    STA 3032H – Honors Probability and Statistics for Engineers (Fall & Spring; All Engineering)
    https://honors.ucf.edu/advising/requirements/

    This list makes sense, as these are all very large classes (almost all engineering students take Statics, for example, and many take Dynamics). However, these are mostly classes taken in the sophomore or early junior year and are still "foundation" classes (with a few exceptions).

    Most upper division classes in engineering will not be honors classes. Based on the above list, they may take one or two a semester, but likely none in the last 2 or 3 semesters.

    Still having an honor's option is nice. I wonder how many "honor" engineering majors avoid taking more than the required 2 classes, due to the "perceived" extra work load. Engineering is all about managing your workload...

    Back to the question of resources between the two schools.

    You can find more detailed info on college engineering departments on ASEE's website.
    http://profiles.asee.org/

    Number of full time engineering undergraduate students:
    UF: 6,324
    UCF: 6,831

    Number of Teaching, Tenure-Track Faculty:
    UF: 281
    Full Professors: 143 (51%)
    Associate Professors: 93
    Assistant Professors: 45

    UCF:159
    Full Professors: 60 (38%)
    Associate Professors: 49
    Assistant Professors: 50

    UF has a far larger (and much more senior) engineering department, with fewer undergraduate students. It also has many more engineering facilities/buildings. It can offer more and better funded design teams...

    On top of all of this, UF is hiring 500 additional faculty, many of which will end up in the engineering college. UF's goal is to get the Student to Faculty ratio down to 16 to 1.

    Note that UF also has more graduate students and does far more engineering research, which is also supported by the faculty and facilities.

    UCF (engineering) was the 2nd or 3rd choice for both of my kids (behind UF), and we would have been very happy if they ended up going to UCF. The large merit scholarships and the honor college (which we hoped would help counter the resource issue) made UCF a solid choice for our family.

    I loved how UCF's campus layout follows a wheel and spoke model. The school is not nearly as much as a commuter school, as in the past. It's drawing students from all over the state. However, the campus is competing against the city of Orlando, so if it empties out on weekends, it's because the kids are running around town. Most of the students (enrollment over 66K) also live off campus:
    On Campus and Affiliated Housing
    Number of students living in on campus and affiliated housing, by housing type.
    Total 11,641
    Housing — Orlando Campus 6,440
    Sorority/Fraternity Housing 467
    Rosen Campus 384
    Affiliated Housing 3,756
    Managed Housing 594

    At UF, many students also live off campus, but the off campus apartments are filled with students, and most students hang out at the same locations in the much smaller town of Gainesville. It's the difference between an urban campus and a college town. Most of my kids friends that attend UCF, like it (as well as their friends that attend FSU).

    By the way, if anyone has any questions about UF engineering, feel free to message me. I'll share the good and the BAD. :)
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