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Why are the scholarships called scholarships if they replace financial need?

FloridaballFloridaball Registered User Posts: 70 Junior Member
At Northeastern, my financial need should've left me paying around $30,000 a year according to the net price calculator. When I got accepted, I received an honors "scholarship" paying $26,000 a year, with no more need based grants. What's the point in calling it a scholarship if it does not stack with financial aid? I thought scholarships were supposed to make students want to attend a school more than if they did not receive a scholarship. I would assume that if I got accepted with no scholarship, I would have been offered $25,000 (give or take a couple thousand) a year in "need-based" aid. So what's really the difference? To me, they are just calling my aid a scholarship to make it sound more appealing.

I just don't understand why they don't stack this money. Maybe I'm just bitter I wont be able to afford my dream school (and I knew that from the beginning), but this just does not make sense to me. I do know they have accepted loads of other people who are willing/able to pay these large amounts of money. I guess I am just not one of them.

Rant over.

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Replies to: Why are the scholarships called scholarships if they replace financial need?

  • EverythingIsBlueEverythingIsBlue Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    I agree. Northeastern would be really affordable if financial aid and merit aid stacked..
  • FloridaballFloridaball Registered User Posts: 70 Junior Member
    Now, someone elsewhere pointed out to me that the need-based aid I might've received had I not gotten the scholarship would not have all been grants, much of it would probably be loans. I didn't really think about that. But my original thought still stands.
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 1,360 Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    Yes... it seems to me that a fair and reasonable formula would be somewhere in between. It's like when a person is in need-based subsidized housing, and their rent is computed as a percentage of their income - a better-paying job doesn't get diverted entirely into higher rent, but it does raise their rent somewhat. To me, if a person has need-based aid and then gets a merit scholarship, I could see the rationale for a *percentage* of that scholarship to come off the top of the need-based aid. But if every cent of it disappears into your financial aid, then what's the use of the scholarship? It's just a shell game at that point. Even if it were a 50:50 split, and your $26K scholarship only lowered your costs by $13K, that would still cut your costs almost in half and maybe bring NU into the realm of possibility. Northeastern certainly isn't unusual in doing it this way, but it sure makes the school financially unattractive to top students with moderate financial need. I don't blame you for ranting. (P.S. When colleges start calling to ask me what I think is fair and reasonable, I'll let ya' know. ;-) )
  • HRSMomHRSMom Registered User Posts: 4,632 Senior Member
    If they followed that formula, they would just give less merit. The pot of $ is finite.

    And merit $ doesn't change. If you hit the lotto tomorrow, you still get merit $.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 13,910 Senior Member
    This is a common practice at many schools that award merit aid.
  • EverythingIsBlueEverythingIsBlue Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    @HRSMom
    Northeastern financial aid grant from the school doesn't change either, according to Northeastern Promise. It also rises if there is an increase in tuition.
  • bgbg4usbgbg4us Registered User Posts: 867 Member
    we went through this all a bit; different school though. What a disappointment when we realized that school would only give my kid X amount - call it FA or merit; the school was not going to stack both. Kid is all good now, just FYI.

    Read through this thread that i had bookmarked as i thought it was interesting and it went over some good points.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/1946263-merit-aid-replacing-need-aid-p1.html
  • redpoodlesredpoodles Registered User Posts: 2,110 Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    My kid got an outside scholarship and all it did was reduce the grant. That one bothers me.

    It doesn't bother me that they reduce the grant via their own merit. It's money out of their pockets. But with the outside scholarships, it felt like, why bother trying to bring money into the school? At the very least it should have reduced the amount of loan.
  • NerdMom88NerdMom88 Registered User Posts: 809 Member
    "And merit $ doesn't change. If you hit the lotto tomorrow, you still get merit $."

    This is true, but merit usually has a GPA requirement tied to it, where need just requires you to stay in good academic standing.
  • nanotechnologynanotechnology Registered User Posts: 2,526 Senior Member
    Where merit scholarships really help are those of us in that middle class doughnut hole: our EFC was unaffordably high because my parents saved a lot for retirement (but couldn't put it in traditional retirement accounts), and merit aid covered my tuition so I could attend Northeastern. In fact, I didn't end up applying to schools that didn't offer merit aid.

    In terms of stacking, I agree that it's frustrating, but it's sort of the way the system has to work. If they stacked, they'd have to reduce the merit or need-based aid available so that they came out to the same amount of money overall.
  • cag60093cag60093 Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    @nanotechnology - we are in the same boat, very high EFC, but really unrealistic. My S was awarded a decent merit from NEU; can he stack several non-NEU private scholarships on top of the given merit?
  • twinznonetwinznone Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I don't think so. From all I've read, all scholarships (outside and within the school) must be declared and cannot be stacked.
  • cag60093cag60093 Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    @twinzone - my son did not receive any need grant from schools that offered acceptance to date, only merit awards. Even in our case, you think he can't stack outside private scholarship?
  • whitespacewhitespace Registered User Posts: 1,029 Senior Member
    Believe me, I've ranted over this too.

    But in the end, it's their policy.

    Do your research before you commit there - many people have great experience. I did not.

    Northeastern Promise is not always true in practice.

    About private scholarships - they do not stack. They reduce your "need" so you get less "need" aid. They do stack with merit scholarships. The thing to watch out for is that if you get a private scholarship the first year, they don't factor in that you're not getting it the next 3-4. I got $8000 in private scholarship my first year and it's leaving me with a $8000 gap every other year.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 13,910 Senior Member
    @whitespace But you also received need based grants too.
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