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School-specific deadlines for designation as #1: how flexible?

SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,348 Senior Member
Does anyone have any insight into how flexible schools are with the date when a NMF designates a first choice? I ask because I just saw a post on the American U forum from a just-admitted student. AU's website specifies that they consider NMF students for an NM scholarship if the NMF designates AU as the first choice by Feb 1. That's much earlier than RD decisions, and it's much earlier than the May 1 deadline for designation used by many schools. The student is an NMF but hasn't yet chosen a first-choice NM school because she wants to compare FA packages. She wrote to the AU FA office and asked if she was still eligible for consideration for NM money. AU replied that as long as AU is her first choice, then she is eligible for the National Merit Scholarship. "You will need to contact the National Merit Scholarship committee to see if they have a deadline that you would like to meet."

My D1 is a junior so this is not affecting her right this instant :) , but it would be nice to know in advance if there's this kind of wriggle room to keep options open. Or is this the kind of thing where you have to ask each school for details?
Post edited by SlitheyTove on

Replies to: School-specific deadlines for designation as #1: how flexible?

  • KnowitsomeKnowitsome Registered User Posts: 280 Junior Member
    Very much school specific. For a school with competitive awards (meaning not all NMFs are guaranteed a scholarship), the "deadline" is often earlier so they can entice their preferred applicants with a better FA offer in the March time period. That doesn't mean they can't subsequently offer the award to other applicants.

    I found the policies rather squishy. Schools would state a deadline (usually early April), but often qualified it to give leeway of a week or two more. In effect, it moved the process of deciding on a college up a couple of weeks, at least for the NMF scholarship contingent. For DS, he narrowed his choices down to his selected NMF full tuition school and his favorite non-NMF school by mid April.

    So, our experience was that schools are flexible to a degree, and probably beyond what they state if asked. As I think you suspected, you'll have to specifically ask each candidate school about their policy.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,900 Forum Champion
    Early deadlines seem to be tied to competitive NMF scholarships, and perhaps their way of seeing who their serious applicants are.
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,348 Senior Member
    m2ck, I figured the same. That's why I was surprised to see that AU, which doesn't have a guaranteed NM scholarship but offers "up to full tuition", is apparently flexible. I wonder about Boston U, as well. On the other hand, it probably behooves a school like AU to be flexible on this since neighbor George Washington offers guaranteed NM money.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,900 Forum Champion
    That's why I was surprised to see that AU, which doesn't have a guaranteed NM scholarship but offers "up to full tuition", is apparently flexible.


    Hmmm...does that mean that they wait to the last minute to award their limited scholarships? It would still seem that by being too flexible with the dates that a person could select AU as a #1 AFTER all the limited NMF scholarships have been determined. Right?
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,348 Senior Member
    ^dunno. I'll wait to see if D1 is going to apply to AU, and then ask. Yet another wrinkle.
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