Affording Macalester

Okay guys, here’s the deal: I’m a high school senior from WI, I have a 35 ACT, 4.07 GPA, and am 1st in my class. However, by graduation, I’ll either be 2nd or 3rd due to extra rigor bumps that the kids I’m competing with will get. My parents are of the mindset that since they didn’t have any help paying for college, I should pay for my entire education. This means that the have absolutely $0 saved for me, yet my EFC is like $20,000. This means that I won’t get any aid from the government or from my parents. I want to attend Macalester in St. Paul, but that doesn’t seem realistic as total costs are about $66,000/year. I want to go to a school that has good academic prestige, a good location for internships/jobs/college life, and soccer (either Division 3 or lower-end Division 2). Also, a Liberal Arts College would be preferable, but isn’t a huge deal for me. Is there any school that fits this, but won’t break the bank? Or are there any ways for me to make the price of Macalester more manageable? I would really appreciate your input!

4.07 must be weighted, ya? Anyway the ACT is great. You might be in line for a partial scholarship at Mac, but COA depends what income your parents have, as you probably know. Lawrence, St. Olaf, and Beloit are good schools that are worth investigating…should certainly cost less than Mac. State schools are also a good value. Some superb students go the Honors route at the State flagships, as they can go more or less for free, depending on their qualifications.

I didn’t have any help paying for college, either, but school cost WAY less back when and where I attended. Still, i spent a lot of hours working in order to pay for college expenses. It’s hard, but doable. Not a lot of time for partying, extracurriculars, and relationships.

Frankly, I don’t see how you can be choosy, and ignore either the U of M, or UW. They are very good schools, and cost way less for an in-stater like you.

You must explain to your parents that back in our times (i’m old too), it was possible to “put yourself through college”. If the minimum wage had increased at the same speed as college costs it’d be $55/hour… It’s no longer to afford college on your own. If they have money, they’re supposed to help you. That being said, most parents can’t pay their EFC and not many parents have college savings. Parents can try to set some money aside now and give you whatever they can (for food, for books… .) while you’re in college.
Another difference compared to our time: you can borrow $5,500 and anything else would have to be borrowed by your parents.
Ask them also what their plan is for you if you can’t go to college due to costs (are they expecting to borrow for you? That you’d enroll in the military? Did they think you would be able to put yourself through college with a part-time job?)

Run the NPC on Macalester, Umn Twin Cities, Beloit, St Olaf, Lawrence.
If you’re a girl, look at the women’s colleges (Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, …)

Universities such as UAlabama or USC (South Carolina) have good merit scholarships. Usc’s might have a nice 1 deadline.
I don’t know if u Wisconsin would have merit scholarships.
Be quick and apply for Wilson at App State.
VERY IMPORTANT : don’t plan on community college - that 35 is worth a lot of money and won’t be worth anything if you enroll in any cc after hs graduation. You want to use it for scholarships, which are only given to freshman applicants.

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.

57special: yeah, it’s weighted. When you say honors students at state schools can attend more or less for free, is that because there are automatic scholarships that come with admittance into the honors programs, or because I’d be able to get more outside scholarships by saying I was accepted into the honors program?

MYOS1634: my parents say that looking back, they realize they should’ve been saving, but they just can’t help because they have nothing saved Plus, the EFC is super high because we rent out some properties and they count all rent collected as income, when in reality the vast majority of it is spent on utilities/maintenance. So they don’t really have any income to spare either. I think they’re kind of banking on me getting enough scholarships that it covers everything but the loan I take out.

Thanks for your help, I’ll definitely look deeper into the schools you guys suggested.

Do you know of any good outside scholarships that I should be looking into?

About the common about attending honors programs at flagships for free- that will not be true at your flagship. It’s better to find schools offering large merit packages than to spend much time on outside scholarships.

I know a couple of kids of the 36 ACT, 4.0 UW GPA, 15 AP course load who are going to U of MN for free, more or less, after they didn’t get into their dream schools(MIT/Ivy). I’m not sure how the money worked…i’m sure you can ask.

Outside scholarships decrease your financial package from the University.
The best aid is from the Universities themselves and for freshmen.

You’ll have to apply to Umn TC, UMN Morris, UW Madison, UW Eau Claire, UW River Fall or another campus…

You have to hurry, lots of scholarship deadlines are either Nov 1 or Dec 1.

Would your parents be amenable toidcussing this a bit?? they’ll save food you won’t eat at your house, could they help with that, use that saved money for your college food? And they won’t spend money on your clubs and activities either - could they use that money for your books?
And if they qualify for AOTC (a tax credit given to parents to help them pay for college) will they use it for it’s intended purpose?

You absolutely have to apply to Macalester. See what the aid package is. As far as trying to find top ranked, yet affordable elite LACs, I guess you have to do some googling about endowment size. You also should apply to UW Madison, it’s a fine school, probably better than U of M, even if it’s in Madison rather than the Twin Cities. I’m sorry your parents didn’t put any cash away for you, but your scores plus a killer essay could get you in with aid to a bunch of awesome schools. I would pay attention to which schools are need blind…

I see no point in applying if the NPC shows far more than they can pay. They do not “absolutely have to apply”. They probably shouldn’t.

You should most definitely be applying to U of MN TC and UW Madison. You might get an excellent deal at either or both. And an excellent education. My kid is in a similar boat except we are full pay and can maybe actually pay half and has high stats. There are deals out here to be had if you look. My kid was admitted to U of MN TC and U of MN honors within weeks of applying. The honors program stats for CLA are 31-34 ACT middle 50th. That’s higher than Mac’s stats. You could find your people there. They have honors housing available.

I agree that if the NPC at Mac doesn’t come close to working, you should not apply. Waste of time. Mac is a great school. But you have 2 really excellent public options available to you. Run NPCs and look for merit.

“the EFC is super high because we rent out some properties and they count all rent collected as income, when in reality the vast majority of it is spent on utilities/maintenance”

Other than one exception (who is quite well off), everyone that I know who owns rental property or a farm or a small business has sent their kids to school either at an in-state public university or in Canada. The reason is pretty much just what you are saying, the EFC does not make any sense for them.

You should run the NPC at Macalester, and at other schools that interest you. Macalester does have merit based aid. However, you might need to attend college in-state. Of course the good news is that your in-state flagship is superb (although large).

I was going to say also, if you really like LAC’s try running NPC at Lawrence University, Saint Olaf, and Gustavus. And maybe even Grinnell and see what you come up with?

Our EFC makes almost no sense either. We live urban in a very modest house that’s almost fully paid for. My spouse is approaching 60. We have a freshman and a senior. So private schools evidently think we should take out a home equity loan to be full pay. No thanks.

If you do apply to Mac, you can contact their financial aid office re extenuating financial circumstances. We had very high medical bills when my son applied, and we own a small pass-through business which shows a bigger bottom line on our tax return than we actually bring home (due to loan payments, etc…) We were able to provide documentation showing that the EFC was too high for us, and they were very accommodating in making it as affordable as possible for our son to attend. Maybe your family’s situation with the rentals would be something Mac would be willing to consider when putting together your financial aid package. That said, they did expect us to pay what we could, and it was/is still a bit of a sacrifice.

^THis only helps if the parents are willing to pay a fairly large share of the EFC. If they want the OP to figure it out on his own, no amount of cooperation from Macalester will result in an acceptable amount.