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$250,000 Family Income and Needs Aid (article)

OHMomof2OHMomof2 13003 replies244 threads Senior Member
Today it (Union College) is announcing a new effort to recruit from a pool that officials at Union say gets lost in the struggle of colleges to keep up with student demand: students from families with income of up to $250,000 who have an expected family contribution of $90,000 or less. Union is committed to giving each of the students who come from these families at least $20,000 in scholarship aid.


https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/10/07/union-college-starts-programs-help-students-families-income-250000
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Replies to: $250,000 Family Income and Needs Aid (article)

  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 518 replies6 threads Member
    Smart move by Union!
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3524 replies49 threads Senior Member
    On its face, seems like a good PR move. But underneath, I'm guessing that the real motive is to find more students who can afford to pay full sticker price.

    The students with the most need (full FA) most often get ignored, unfortunately.
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  • cshell2cshell2 667 replies8 threads Member
    edited October 11
    1NJParent wrote: »
    A lot of these colleges just aren't worth the full tuition they ask for and they almost never get it anyway. They keep their tuition high just to avoid the perception of an inferior product. The combination of high tuition along with a financial "reward" looks better optically. Don't we all love a discount psychologically?

    I've often thought that of the private school in our town. I'm like "who would actually pay that much?" (I think it's 50K or more now with a 20K public university a couple miles down the road). I was playing around with the Net Price Calculator and before entering financial info it was giving my son a big scholarship down to a GPA/ACT score that he shouldn't even be going to college anyhow. I'm pretty sure everyone gets at least 8-10K off no matter what and can brag about getting a merit scholarship.
    edited October 11
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29606 replies58 threads Senior Member
    The strategy is financially sound. For those students vehicle need a lot of financial aid, it’s often a precarious balance to stay in school. I know that in a number of school programs I’ve dealt with, getting tuition costs for k-12 schools down to just a few hundred dollars still does not make it affordable. For many families, every dollar counts. When it comes to thousands of dollars, it can be an incredible hardship, undoable even, to meet the expected payments.

    When working with families in the $250k income zone, it’s a whole other story. Getting families that can afford what they will be charged is a big deal. A lot of private schools, most of them, in fact, have been discounting for years

    My son was surprised how many of his peers from well to do families, living situations, ended up commuting to a local private school. He considered it as well as they gave him a near full tuition scholarship. Apparently a number of his peers got the same and ran with it.

    These schools can be well worth their costs for certain students i know some kids whose high school and test performances would not have gotten them into most name recognition schools, especially in fields like business, computer science, engineering, and these private schools are not just accepting them, but giving them a shot at those majors.

    I know kids who graduated from tiny Manhattan college with engineering degrees making just as much as peers who went to schools like Purdue and Georgia tech , And they would hint have been candidates for those schools right out of college. Manhattan College with its private tuition, with it without discount worked out very well for them. Many commuted, saving money that way.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78635 replies697 threads Senior Member
    cshell2 wrote: »
    I've often thought that of the private school in our town. I'm like "who would actually pay that much?" (I think it's 50K or more now with a 20K public university a couple miles down the road). I was playing around with the Net Price Calculator and before entering financial info it was giving my son a big scholarship down to a GPA/ACT score that he shouldn't even be going to college anyhow.

    2.1 HS GPA and 12 ACT? :)
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  • cshell2cshell2 667 replies8 threads Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    cshell2 wrote: »
    I've often thought that of the private school in our town. I'm like "who would actually pay that much?" (I think it's 50K or more now with a 20K public university a couple miles down the road). I was playing around with the Net Price Calculator and before entering financial info it was giving my son a big scholarship down to a GPA/ACT score that he shouldn't even be going to college anyhow.

    2.1 HS GPA and 12 ACT? :)

    Well, I just ran that to see. Entering those stats and a 60K EFC I get a 10K "Achievement Award" :smile:


    Estimated Cost of Attendance $47,074/ yr
    Tuition and fees $35,060
    Housing and meals $9,074
    Books and supplies $1,000
    Transportation $500
    Other educational and personal expenses $1,440
    Estimated grants and scholarships to pay for college $10,000/ yr
    Achievement Award $10,000
    What you will pay for college $37,074/ yr
    Net Cost (Cost of Attendance minus total grants and scholarships)
    $37,074
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  • Sue22Sue22 6266 replies113 threads Senior Member
    From the article-
    Union isn't changing its policies regarding low-income students. It is shifting money from non-need-based aid to the new program.

    It appears to be a way for Union to shift money from merit awards going to the general student population to awards to wealthier students. These families are more likely to be otherwise full pay and to contribute more substantially to the annual fund. I think @doschicos and @sgopal2 hit the nail on the head.
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3541 replies9 threads Senior Member
    "Kind of seems like tuition discounting with a marketing spin?"

    Bingo. Just alternative branding for what is typically called merit aid.

    Since the $250k family (as is obvious here on CC) is exactly the kind of family that looks for and is likely to accept a merit aid offer. Can't or doesn't want to pay $65k. But could and is willing to spend maybe $40k.

    Harvard, which branding wise has zero merit aid, has need-based aid that runs up to the $250k mark. And given Harvard's admit requirements, the end result is much the same as what you get with merit aid. Aid is aid; dollars are dollars; discounts are discounts.

    All schools have a budget to hit, and they direct their available aid dollars to enroll the class they want/need -- high enough stats, high enough average net tuition revenue, full occupancy.
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  • NhatrangNhatrang 235 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 1
    1NJParent wrote: »
    A lot of these colleges just aren't worth the full tuition they ask for and they almost never get it anyway. They keep their tuition high just to avoid the perception of an inferior product. The combination of high tuition along with a financial "reward" looks better optically. Don't we all love a discount psychologically?

    I agree with this. I see you are from NJ? There are so many private tiny liberal art colleges in PA with the cost around 50-60K/year (total of 1500-2000 students, no graduate school, little to no research). Totally not worth it. Frankly I don't even know how they are still in business for so long.

    But then we have school like Stevens Institute of Technology, small technical school 72K/year, most if not all don't pay full price. My kiddo got 40K merit aid from them. I would have been okay if she chose Stevens honestly. Every single one of their students not only has job, but many has multiple great offers with starting salary of 75K-85K. We just hired a bunch of 21 years olds who will be graduated from Stevens in May. And we gave them the highest number because we don't want to lose them or a high paying wall street company. Now this is a school worth paying for full price, but most pay much much less.
    edited November 1
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26895 replies175 threads Senior Member
    edited November 1
    Kind of seems like tuition discounting with a marketing spin?

    Of course it is. It's a way for mommy and daddy to 'essplain their country club friends that Sally/Johnny are attending (lowly) Union bcos the school gave their kids a big 'scholarship'.
    edited November 1
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  • Parent0347Parent0347 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 1
    @Nhatrang - Second your opinion regarding Stevens. Stevens graduates command the highest starting salaries, midcareer salaries, and ROI on tuition of all the institutions of higher learning in New Jersey (including Princeton). Even at the full cost of attendance Stevens is one of the few universities in the state that really is worth the price. Most Stevens students aren't paying the full COA however, the average out of pocket cost is half of that. New Jersey's public colleges and universities are not particularly inexpensive compared to other states either. We hired many Stevens graduates and one quality that makes them stand out as compared to many other schools is their interdisciplinary and broad-based educational background. They are excellent problem solvers especially when the technical problem cuts across many disciplines, something that many overspecialized schools today lack. My son attended Stevens and has no regrets.

    That's quite an accomplishment graduating from Stevens at 21. Graduating from Stevens at any age requires tremendous dedication and academic talent.

    You are correct about small, low tier liberal arts colleges with high tuitions. Here in NJ, Drew University for example had to lower its tuition considerably (which is good for the student, no argument) and decrease its selectivity (to nearly 70%) because they experienced a sharp drop off in enrollment. They are also having significant financial problems after having their bond rating downgraded by Moody's to nearly junk status from what I have read. I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually goes out of business.
    edited November 1
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78635 replies697 threads Senior Member
    edited November 1
    Parent0347 wrote: »
    @Nhatrang - Second your opinion regarding Stevens. Stevens graduates command the highest starting salaries, midcareer salaries, and ROI on tuition of all the institutions of higher learning in New Jersey (including Princeton).

    That's quite an accomplishment graduating from Stevens at 21. Graduating from Stevens at any age requires tremendous dedication and academic talent.

    Both of the above are not too surprising for a college whose students are mostly engineering majors.

    But, for a student studying an engineering major, would there be that much difference in either of the above between Stevens and some other school?
    edited November 1
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  • Parent0347Parent0347 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 1
    @ucbalumnus - It isn't just a matter of studying engineering. Engineering majors are well paid at all accredited schools. Stevens is well known and renowned for maintaining its broad-based program, which includes many depth courses outside of one's specific engineering discipline. That was the original curriculum at most schools of engineering back in their formative days during the Industrial Revolution, but most have become very specialized since then. As a result of that broad based program, Stevens graduates have superior interdisciplinary problem solving acumen than many others. Most engineering problems in industry are not confined to one specific area but are influenced by many. In my experience many engineering graduates had limited ability to "think outside the box" (to use a well-worn cliche, but in this case it really describes the reality). Stevens graduates in my experience have this quality uniformly.

    The undergraduate engineering program at Stevens is typically 145-153 credits. Compare that with most other schools that require 120-128 or so. The extra depth and breadth of the program is reflected in that credit load.

    In Bloomberg Business Week/Payscale's salary survey Stevens graduates came in at fifth highest paid of all engineering graduates in the United States, therefore, that particular study eliminates the effect of high engineering salaries combined with low non-engineering salaries. I have to believe that even in that group of high paid majors, Stevens is doing something right.

    By the way, right now I understand only 62% of Stevens graduates were in engineering in the most recent graduating class. Stevens has a much more diverse array of programs and majors now than it did say 30 years ago. The starting salaries of the graduates across all majors last year was 12th in the United States. A preponderance of engineering majors seems not to be a factor in this case. Even the Music and Art Technology graduates started out at $73k or so, which is unusual for those areas of study.
    edited November 1
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  • NhatrangNhatrang 235 replies0 threads Junior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    Parent0347 wrote: »
    @Nhatrang - Second your opinion regarding Stevens. Stevens graduates command the highest starting salaries, midcareer salaries, and ROI on tuition of all the institutions of higher learning in New Jersey (including Princeton).

    That's quite an accomplishment graduating from Stevens at 21. Graduating from Stevens at any age requires tremendous dedication and academic talent.

    Both of the above are not too surprising for a college whose students are mostly engineering majors.

    But, for a student studying an engineering major, would there be that much difference in either of the above between Stevens and some other school?

    Not necessarily. It is well documented that the job placement for Stevens students are way over 100%, above many of technical schools.

    And not just technical, we hire students with Supply Chain degree, information management degree(which is NOT at all like a CS degree, most of them aren't coder when they got IM degree, don't ask me why), business degree, finance degree, etc. The real CS degrees don't even want to work for us (pharmaceutical), they go off and work for tech firms in the city or wall streets, or google and whatnot.

    You probably know by now that my kid is at Cal. I told her that if she went to Stevens, she would almost be guaranteed a job way before she graduates, not just because i have a lot of connections in the area, but because I know companies around here love students from Stevens, much more so than students from, say Rutgers or Penn State (no offense to those schools). And if she wants to go to grad/med school (which she is more likely), it would be easier to obtain a 4.0 or near 4.0 from Stevens than from Cal (No offense to Stevens). So strategically it would be wiser to go to Stevens instead of Cal. But she is in love with Cal, and $$ is no issue with us, so Cal it is. As far as undergrad jobs from Cal, I am not in the area so I don't know how easy it is to get an internship or a job from Cal for medium level technical degree. You know better than I do. But I can't imagine that it's better than Stevens.
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  • Parent0347Parent0347 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 1
    I disagree that it is "easier" to obtain a 4.0 at Stevens than Cal or anywhere else. In any given year, out of a graduating class of some 750 students, typically 2 or 3 graduates have 4.0 averages. I would be willing to bet that there is a much higher percentage of a typical graduating class at Cal.

    For many decades the cutoff for the Dean's List at Stevens was 3.0 (a B average). The degree with Honor was given for a 3.2 GPA and High Honor for a 3.6. Most schools require higher GPAs for academic honoraria than those. The seemingly "low" cutoff at Stevens reflected the difficulty of getting a high GPA there owing to the rigor of the currculum (I believe today, the Dean's List cutoff is 3.2).

    My son BTW works in California for one of the major aerospace manufacturers. They recruit at Stevens regularly. Stevens isn't just a locally reputed school (admittedly, their nationwide and global reach wasn't as great in the past as the large state universities, but they've made significant strides in this area in recent years).

    Contrast this with the rampant grade inflation in the Ivy League and many other schools.
    edited November 1
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  • NhatrangNhatrang 235 replies0 threads Junior Member
    ^^^ Of course you would disagree with grade deflation at Cal, but it's okay :-). No one wants to agree their school is "easier" than others. I get it. But that's my truth and i am sticking with it :-)
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