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Merit Scholarships at Stanford?

SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
edited December 2009 in Stanford University
Does Stanford give merit scholarships at all? We were looking at their website, and it looked like most scholarships there are pretty much need-based. Yet we know of a kid from my kids' high school who went there on almost full-tuition, and his family is well into the upper-middle income bracket. He had awesome stats, was a band musician, an all-around great kid, and is also Hispanic. Not an athlete. Is there any possibility that he was there on merit-based full-tuition?

Stanford seems like an excellent fit for my son. (I know, I know. It's an excellent fit for most people, I guess. Who wouldn't like Stanford?) The deeper we look into it, the better a fit it seems. But there's no way we could ever come up with the money for him to attend. Other colleges he'll be applying to also cost too much for us, but they "advertise" their merit-based scholarships. So there’s a possibility he could attend them. We didn't see the same from Stanford.

I know that all accepted students to Stanford have outstanding stats, meaning that it would be next to impossible to choose from the cream of the crop.

We don’t know if the guy I mentioned above got his because of his URM status or not. My son is not a URM. Are any standard-issue white kids awarded large merit funds?
Post edited by SimpleLife on

Replies to: Merit Scholarships at Stanford?

  • 2boysima2boysima Registered User Posts: 1,794 Senior Member
    No merit, except athletic.

    They admit Questbridge students....but they wouldn't be upper middle class.

    Does the family you know have any other kids in school? Stanford offers financial aid for middle income (usually stated as under $180,000)....and it can be significant if the family has other kids in school, or lives in a high cost-of-living area.
  • mfedermanmfederman Registered User Posts: 350 Member
    I think you get tuition discounts (maybe even waived?) if your family makes under $150,000 a year.

    But in Stanford's mission they states that it "ensures that no admitted student is unable to attend" and I assume that includes financial factors as well.
  • worried_momworried_mom Registered User Posts: 2,205 Senior Member
    Stanford's official policy is that all financial aid is need-based and there are no pure merit scholarships.

    That is not to say that the school would never manipulate a financial aid package -- for example, giving more in grants (rather than loans) or otherwise "sweetening the pot" -- for a student that is a particularly desirable addition to the student body such as a URM, Olympic athlete, etc. But supposedly there has to be some level of financial need to start with.

    Do you have any actual verification for the Hispanic student that received "almost full-tuition" whose family is "well into the upper income bracket"? It's been my experience that such claims are usually exaggerated -- i.e., the actual amount given is much less than the boast, or the amount quoted includes loans as well as grants. There may also be family financial circumstances that you are not aware of (recent job losses, medical bills, etc.) So I would not put too much reliance on this one case.
  • NJDSNJDS Registered User Posts: 1,323 Senior Member
    even if they were to have merit scholarships, which they don't, there would be practically no way to pick the recipients. i mean, all of the people who get in have merit!
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    Hi worried_mom: "Do you have any actual verification for the Hispanic student that received "almost full-tuition" whose family is "well into the upper income bracket"?"

    I don't have any real "actual" verification, as in I haven’t seen their W2’s or the kid’s award notifications or anything. But my kids went to school with this kid; he was in my older son’s graduating class; my son knew him well enough to know; we know what his very nice house looks like; we know what his parents do for a living (impressive); and we know from an awards ceremony held by the school exactly how much in scholarships he received from Stanford. At this particular award ceremony, the school staff announces where the student will be going to college and how much the student received in scholarships from that college. They don’t announce whether it was merit, talent, or need-based, but they do announce the names of the scholarships if the kids list those names on the forms they submit to the guidance center. I don’t remember the names of this kid’s Stanford scholarships.

    This kid was the only kid in my son’s 800 member graduating class who got more in scholarship aid than my son (they announce the awards in increasing order). And my son got a lot (to a different school, not nearly as well known as Stanford). So I remember it quite well. He’s a really great kid. We were very happy to see him get what he got. That son was not interested in Stanford for various reasons (mostly, his desired major), so I certainly don’t want to leave the impression that there are any sour grapes here. We’re nothing but happy for this very nice, very smart kid.

    But now I do have a son who’s interested and who would likely be a good fit. As we look closer at the financial aid pages of the Stanford website, I’m intrigued that there are no merit scholarships mentioned. I’m just trying to figure all that out.

    (And, yeah, I totally get what you’re saying, NJDS. That’s another thing that has me intrigued … I’m thinking, “Why should he apply if we can’t begin to afford it?” And yet, lots of other people apply and somehow afford it.)
  • emgamacemgamac Registered User Posts: 309 Member
    I have heard too that there are athletic scholarships (on their website) and no merit scholarships. If there were, D's friend that interns at NASA certainly would deserve one. Nope, his parents are paying.It's all based on income. As a parent of a freshman at Stanford, I can confirm that no loans are taken as part of your financial package from Stanford. They are grants. Based on your tax returns, FAFSA etc Stanford determines how much your family is expected to contribute. Less than $60K, you pay nothing- not tuition, housing or books. Less than $100k you only pay room and board. At that point, you can get loans etc to cover your family portion. I am not personally aware what, if anything, happens between $100K and $180K.

    Here was our philosophy about paying for college: We had the money talk with D. She knew what we could pay and what she would pay. We encouraged her to apply anywhere she wanted, knowing that if the financial offers were not acceptable, she would have to say no or take the loans. We are more than grateful for her financial aid at Stanford. She will graduate with less debt than the price of a year at Berkeley (including room and board).

    If Stanford is your child's dream, have the money talk and then go for it!
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    I wasn't aware that Stanford considered $180,000 as "middle income." I don't think most people or institutions would call that middle income, but it sure benefits us that Stanford considers it that! Good deal.
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    At Harvard, it's full ride up to 60K in family income, and then you pay roughly 10% of family income between 60K - 180K. Since Harvard and Stanford recruit many of the same students, I wouldn't be surprised if Stanford's program is similar.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    Thanks for the info, gadad. That gives me a pretty good idea of what tuition might cost me!
  • 2Leashes2Leashes Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    Parents with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer be expected to pay tuition under the new plan, while those with incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to contribute to tuition or the costs of room, board and other educational expenses. I know the student needs to contribute about $4,000+ through work-study or summer jobs. They can also apply outside scholarships to that number.


    Parents with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer be expected to pay tuition under the new plan, while those with incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to contribute to tuition or the costs of room, board and other educational expenses.
  • BigMike3541BigMike3541 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    Although it is not currently up, in a couple months you should check back to the following if you are interested in potential financial aid:

  • applicannotapplicannot Registered User Posts: 4,366 Senior Member
    Students need to contribute $4500 per year as the student's responsibility. However, that number is figured against an allowance for books, travel, and personal expenses. It is not expected to go toward the billable tuition, room, board, or fees, with the exception of possibly a few hundred dollars.
This discussion has been closed.