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Student not interested in full ride schools

mountain88mountain88 Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
Have you been in the situation where your child qualified for full ride or full tuition schools, but they didn't seem too interested in those schools, or interested in taking the time to apply to or visit them, but rather are only interested in the highly selective schools? If so, did you just let it go, or try to nudge them towards those "free" schools in some way? Assuming that you don't have an unlimited budget for college, did you try the "hard line" approach, saying that you would not be co-signing any loans since they had free or nearly free options?
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Replies to: Student not interested in full ride schools

  • ColoradomamaColoradomama Registered User Posts: 1,948 Senior Member
    Our student had the option of a full ride at Arizona State, with National Merit, but we thought it was not
    as good as in state options costing more. Its best to just make the budget clear up front. Do you understand
    why your student does not want to take advantage of the full ride offer? And are you absolutely sure he/she can win?It may be harder than you believe to win a full ride in fact. If he/she is National Merit Finalist, its still not absolutely guaranteed, and often requires interviews. Check the full ride carefully, then ask your student why that school cannot meet his educational needs. Ask your student to outline his educational requirements, and then lay out your budget and see what schools match both. There are sure to be a few that you can afford and that meet his educational needs. A student who is smart enough to win a full ride, often wants to attend a more selective college. There still may be merit or financial aid available at those schools, do the net price calculator at every school on his/her list with your student.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,638 Senior Member
    edited November 22
    Define what you will pay. There are some full tuition schools that I wouldn't nudge my kid to and nor would we full pay at expensive options. There is middle ground. Runs NPCs and sit down for a financial family meeting. Set it out clearly. Full rides or tuition for full pay families often come with compromise, and maybe your state U is better than the compromise but not quite free. Or maybe not. Define the budget!
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,704 Senior Member
    My D knew the exact budget we had to work with. She was then able to add on her own students loans if she so chose. She applied to schools where the NPC didn't exceed 25% of the budget, allowing her some room for potential merit/scholarships over and above the documented ones. In this way she was able to decide what schools were worthy of her own $$$ lol. This still didn't alleviate the problem in the end. She was admitted to one of her top choice schools that after our budget and her loans still topped out at more than $7000 over limit. Her bio Dad and his family really pushed for her to attend there, although no one was forking over the dollars to make it happen. We appealed the finaid and got nowhere so I squashed it. It really put her in a difficult place after she and I had established very solid financial parameters and it her acceptance to the school she attends was more bittersweet than joyous. In transparency, I didn't love the school and didn't think it was a good fit. In the end, we all know now it was the best decision for her.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,299 Senior Member
    This happened for D1. I was a full pay parent and have always prepared to pay for wherever D1 wanted to go, so we didn't have a conversation about cost. She was fortunate enough to be given a full tuition at a very good LAC. The school was on her list as a safety. D1 had the option of going to a top 20 school and that was where she wanted to go. She gave me all the reasons why the top 20 school was a better choice. I totally agreed with her, but it was hard to give up 150k+. What really clinched the deal was when she offered to pay $10K/year in order to go the school of her choice.

    Looking back, we made the right decision for her to go the larger U. She thrived at her school. She said it was the best 4 years of her life and she is doing very well at the job she had since graduation.

    I agree it is important to have a conversation with your kid about what you could afford and how much loans you are comfortable in co-signing. More importantly, educate your kid on how much loan is feasible for them to take out.

    I don't think it is good to take a full ride if you could afford other schools. There is a price to pay for a full ride. In my kid's case, it was the safety that offered a merit, not other higher tier schools.

  • yourmommayourmomma Registered User Posts: 995 Member
    If you're talking about full rides and you won't have to use the money you saved, tell the kid you'll give him a percentage of the scholarship when he graduates. Nothing better than starting out with a little nest egg.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,339 Senior Member
    I think the answer is...it depends.

    If you can afford to pay the costs anywhere, and would do so, then perhaps nudging to a full ride isn’t needed.

    If you have a specific budget, then it’s important to communicate your budget to your child. This conversation should happen before applications are sent.

    We were fortunate not to have particular price limits for our kids. Neither one took the least costly acceptance.

    Kid one did take an offer where he got a very significant merit award.

    Kid two was going back and forth between a school that would have cost out of pocket $10,000 a year, and a school that cost 4 times that amount. She chose the more expensive option.

    But if you can’t afford to be full pay, you need to clarify that with your kid.

  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 7,545 Senior Member
    edited November 22
    If OP has to cosign PLUS loans to make those selective schools happen, they aren't affordable.

    @mountain88, how much can you pay without borrowing? Do you know your EFC? I'd run the Net Price Calculator for each college and take unaffordable schools off the list. Don't let applications go out to schools you can't afford. If your child refuses to apply to affordable schools the default choices are a gap year, community college, or a commuter school (if you have one). There are families who can't/won't pay for college at all. If you can afford to help yours, they're very fortunate. But you need to be clear about the budget.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    I agree saying you won’t be co-signing for loans is not taking a hard line. I think that’s actually a horrible idea in most cases. Both for families and for students. There are a vast array of schools between full scholarship and 70K a year for a kid with good stats. My kid has elite stats but the price point we are comfortable with is our state flagship and his list is built with merit in mind. We are considered full pay. That is not at all realistic for us. We will compare prices as offers come in. We are not saying we won’t come up with a little more for a unique opportunity. That said our kid is clear that no undergrad degree justifies twice the price of another when we have a well regarded flagship available to us.

    Full scholarship is possible at some of the schools on my kid’s list. I think with some options you do need to make sure the student will have a peer group and a fit. Our flagship has a great honors program and is moderately competitive for entry. The cheapest option hasn’t necessarily been on the table in our case either.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,299 Senior Member
    I meant to say it is not necessary good idea to take the full ride if you could afford other options. It really depends on family and the student.
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,554 Senior Member
    as for "nudging" I see nothing wrong with a few "parental picks" for applications. Make sure the budget is clear before sending any apps and when acceptances come in sit down and do the math together, keeping in mind that the price goes up every year. If this is you first kiddo and you have more to follow, remember you are setting standard now so keep that in mind when setting your budget.
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 874 Member
    edited November 22
    "I don't think it is good to take a full ride if you could afford other schools. There is a price to pay for a full ride. In my kid's case, it was the safety that offered a merit, not other higher tier schools"

    [EDIT: I see a later comment qualified this by saying it's "not necessarily" good to take a full ride. I agree, but my point below is that weighing up the ROI will usually determine that the full ride is a better deal]

    I find this very hard to understand. Most kids could benefit hugely from starting out their careers (or grad school) with $150K or more in the bank instead of it being spent on an expensive college. There really isn't much difference between $150K in the bank vs nothing, and nothing vs $150K in loans. After all at some point your kid has to save up for a wedding, house downpayment, etc. (unless you are rich enough to give them that money too). That's just as burdensome as paying off a student loan.

    However for some reason many posters only focus on the $150K in loans as completely out of the question and think that otherwise spending an extra $150K on college is perfectly fine. But we've had plenty of threads demonstrating how it can be easier to stand out as a big fish in a small pond and very few arguments that the top schools lead to higher income and better opportunities (outside a few investment banking or strategy consulting jobs).

    Instead most of the justifications above are about spending more money for a better experience (peer group, smaller classes, better location, etc) in college, basically the same arguments you'd make for buying a Tesla instead of a Honda. Wouldn't you laugh if you heard someone say "I don't think it is [necessarily] good to buy a Honda if you could afford a Tesla"?

    What we did in this situation last year was to say here is the money we have for your college: $X total for 4 years. You can spend it on college or save it for later and spend it on grad school or a house downpayment. You need to work out what will deliver the best return in the long term. (Incidentally I don't understand why people suggest offering a "percentage" of the savings - the money is for the kid and it's either spent on school or not). Both my kids took the deal with the best ROI, which turned out to be their cheapest schools, and are delighted with the result (and appreciated having that choice). In particular, my daughter is very happy to have a full ride and money in the bank for later. I think she has a better deal than my son at a much higher ranking school.
  • SJ2727SJ2727 Registered User Posts: 329 Member
    “If you're talking about full rides and you won't have to use the money you saved, tell the kid you'll give him a percentage of the scholarship when he graduates. Nothing better than starting out with a little nest egg.”

    This is exactly what we’ve told D19. We are full pay, and I doubt she’d get a full ride anywhere, certainly anywhere she wants to be, but if she happens to get a bit of merit funding that will become her nest egg. If she gets into one of the schools she really wants to go though, she’s unlikely to be competitive for merit funding, but she could get some at a safety.

    Of course, full pay doesn’t mean close your eyes and write a check. If she ends up at a safety, there is one on her current list that she’s chosen purely for location, and it’s not a school I have any intention of paying for. She knows this and hopefully it won’t actually get to that discussion, but ..
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