As a full pay parent, did you still require your student to apply for scholarships?

I’m seeing kids with competitive profiles just foregoing scholarship applications because it’s too much work. That would not have happened in my house regardless of my ability to pay. So wondering what other full pay families are requiring of their kids for colleges that do offer scholarships.


Yes, we are very much encouraging our son to apply for scholarships, merit award, etc. From our perspective all are part of an overall package toward education. IMHO, he worked very, very hard to achieve his stats and we are encouraging him to be recognized for his work. Student athletes look for these rewards, why shouldn’t our child whose ‘talent’ might include his mind/work ethic??? As parents we feel this is part of teaching our children fiscal responsibility.


Yes, but I did point/help them find opportunities for scholarships. I found if you at least give them that, they would be much more inclined to fill out the application/essay required.


Interesting question. My D20 did, and didn’t get any significant ones. I think when they ask about income on an application, it is going to disqualify high income students so I’m not sure I’d even bother with those in the future. Also, we live in a very economically diverse area and i feel like there are people that can REALLY use the scholarship money, far more than we can. (For local scholarships.)


I set a budget for my children in regards to college - well below what NPCs and other calculators said we could afford as full pay parents. Then explained to my children what their budget was/is and told them it was their choice to apply to schools that fit the budget “as is” (basically in state options) or apply to schools that could give scholarships to get the cost down to the budget. If they had gone for the in-state options only, I wouldn’t have then pushed for them to fill out scholarships for those schools if they didn’t want to - they needed to find schools that fit the budget given whether by base cost or by use of scholarships.

If parents give a budget that doesn’t require applying to scholarships to afford a school, then it seems rational to me that some students wouldn’t apply if they already feel that their workload is at maximum capacity, or they ‘just don’t want to’.

Basically, this seems like a parent issue - not the student issue. And maybe not an issue at all depending on how different families value the time and money they have committed to spending for college. It might be quite rational not to apply, even as a ‘competitive’ applicant if the number of scholarships is very very low (there were schools like that D20 didn’t apply to because the odds of affording it were low because even as a competitive applicant the odds weren’t good). There might be a rational application of the odds of winning versus the effort expended to make the decision not to go for a competitive scholarship that has lottery odds to win.

Everyone’s mileage may vary on issues like this, as it can easily do with “value” questions.

Yes, my child did apply for scholarships. But, there were some that were SO much work for a very little amount of money and those she skipped.

I have a friend though whose daughter applied for a ton and got pretty much nothing so they didn’t have their next daughter apply for any.


Absolutely! She will likely only be awarded local, smaller scholarships, but anything helps. We told her that yes, it may take 3 hours to complete, and its ONLY $500, etc., but that is an amazing hourly wage for a HS student!


Nope. Lots of work and others have the need for the scholarships.


My D applied for merit scholarships from the colleges when they were available. She did not do outside scholarships. The only extra she skipped was applying to honors college for her second safety school. She was already accepted to one safety, with honors, and full tuition so she knew she’d pick that safety over the other so she didn’t bother.


Nope. Most of the schools didn’t offer any or we knew he’d likely not be awarded one so we didn’t push.

We also didn’t have him compete for any offered locally etc bc we know many kids who need the monies and didn’t want to take from them potentially.

S21 applied to 8 schools:

Two state schools (basically free to us via FL Prepaid and Bright Futures).

Vandy and Duke- extremely competitive for acceptance let alone for scholarships

Brown - same

Davidson and Wake - He didn’t apply for any
GW - he was awarded a nice 5 year merit award

We made sure in our overall strategy to include schools with auto merit ( like Alabama, Arizona or known for merit (like Florida State, Miami Ohio, Embry Riddle).

I did not let my kids bother applying anywhere that meets need only.

Both kids did apply for scholarships but less so my second after realizing how fruitless the efforts are for the national ones. My daughter earned several scholarships through her college…separate apps but not private with hundreds of thousands of competitors. They were just endowed at her school.

Both applied to my employer’s program. One got $1k and one $2k. So other than colleges themselves, these are the best bet in my opinion.

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We’re full pay, and we do require our children to apply for scholarships at the college. We don’t require them to apply for outside scholarships, but Dd has decided to try, so we’ll see how it goes.

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Last year we had to beg kids to apply for college specific and external scholarships. Unlike any other year. It was not just full pay kids ignoring the deadlines We were getting calls from some of the local funds that they only had a handful of applications. One had zero applications and it was the last day. Both of our students who applied were awarded funds, but I had to pull them into my office at lunch to get them done and make sure they turned them in.

With S19, he applied for the rounds internally once he had been accepted to his first choice. He already had merit, but the additional helped.

We are not full pay and not high need, but in the middle of some need and an EFC that was too high to figure out for two kids. D21 thought she was done when a few generous merit offers came in, but we pushed her a little further and it was worth it. They are not going to do it on their own, especially during Covid. The rounds of interviews, managing emails, additional portals, and deadlines are a lot.

There are definitely some full pay students who also manage to get substantial scholarship funds, but it takes a lot of effort and they are usually from the college, not external scholarships, as others have said.


No. They are generally impossible to get and the applications are difficult and divert kid’s attention from the college applications and essays. Also I feel the money should go to those with need for it.


Both of our kids received merit awards at their colleges. Kid one got a fair amount. Kid two got a small amount. We paid the rest.

Both of them applied for (and received) about $4000 in local scholarships for their freshman years of college. Every penny helps!

So, yes, our kids did apply for some scholarships.


D22 applied for the Coca Cola scholarship, the OSU Morrill scholarship, and some local ones. Many schools automatically evaluate a student for merit scholarships as long as you complete the FAFSA (and sometimes the CSS), so we completed those.

She didn’t aggressively chase dozens and dozens as I know some do/have to.

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Our son did any simple college specific applications, but that is all we asked of him. In our house, we consider the AP classes he takes to be as good as scholarships. Our S19 got enough credit to go into school as a sophomore, so if we count a year less of tuition as his scholarship, then we are happy with that! S22 is taking lots of AP classes, too, so we told him to just focus on doing well on those tests and he could skip extra scholarship applications. (Plus, we hope he’ll get something for National Merit.)


My 2020 applied for and received multiple national scholarships, including one that would pay the full tuition of her college of choice. While we are full pay, we didn’t have fully-funded 529s so these scholarships were life-enhancing for her and for us. She can now use her 529 money for graduate school.

She found out about the large scholarships mid-year, so she did not apply for any local ones. That seemed greedy.

My 2022 applied to less competitive colleges and has already received merit from some of them. She has also applied for some scholarships, but I don’t expect that she will be as successful because her accomplishments aren’t as attractive to scholarship committees.

I haven’t had any ethical twinges about either of them doing so. They applied only for merit, nothing based on need based. It’s an interesting question, though.


We found that outside scholarships (aside from some local community ones) are a tough go - significant effort and perhaps one or two awards for the hundreds of students that apply. That said, we incentivized our daughter to research/apply by saying that we would apply 10% of any additional scholarships she “won” to college spending money for the semester (our own $). That gave her a extra boost. She researched quite a bit and received a $4000 industry specific award as well as a local $200 award. Very happy to deposit $420 in her account and appreciative of her efforts - Heard this idea from a friend and it worked out well for us.


Our D had her sights set on med school so she applied for merit to preserve funds for grad/med. She did not apply for any outside scholarships but did multiple competitive school scholarships (also some less selective schools known for tuition discounts). She was quite successful in securing merit awards so considers the extra work worth it.