Beware St. Olaf Merit Scholarships - Money Grab

My daughter is a Senior at St. Olaf and only needed part-time (2/3) in her last semester to graduate - they TOOK AWAY HER MERIT SCHOLARSHIP that semester because she wasn’t full time. There’s NO MENTION anywhere in their scholarship documentation of this. We expected this to be cut in half (commensurate with the PT tuition at 1/2) - but not eliminated.

I knew in the beginning when they’d only give incoming credit for up to 2 AP/CIS courses that THEY WANT 4 YEARS OF YOUR MONEY no matter what your child has done to get a jump-start on their education. For a college with the word “saint” in it - they’re NOT VERY ETHICAL when it comes to your investment in your child’s education.

You expected- but did your D ASK either financial aid or her academic adviser what the ramifications of going part time would be?

I assumed all colleges work like that.

That’s what happens when you assume. If this was a concern, she should have asked in advance. As @mom2twogirls said, this is standard procedure.

On another note, I’ve merged your duplicate threads to comply with Terms of Service and got rid of the all-caps screaming headline.

Actually that’s retry standard. Some colleges cut financial aid altogether if you go below a certain number of credits .

I find it interesting the first 4 replies are from users with thousands of posts - representatives of &/or advocates for these collages.

It’s a warning to parents out there who are just trying to launch their young adults and struggle to afford sending them to college…when you get that financial award letter and you factor this into the decision to commit to an expensive private institution; then after your child has done well and only needs one last part-time semester the college pulls 100% of the funding you were relying upon (instead of the 50% commensurate with the PT tuition). It’s a money grab, plain and simple - and people are coming out of the woodwork to tell me that’s par for the course at Saint Olaf.

Pay the tuition and then add the alumni relations and development office email address to the “ignore” list.

“Coming out of the woodwork,” by definition, means that these users suddenly appeared. In actuality, all have been quite active on this site. Regardless, you opened a new thread which allowed users to reply to your statement. Not all users will agree with every post.

I won’t speak for the others, but I’m saying it’s par for the course at many/most colleges which give merit. Anyway, St.Olaf’s actions should not have come as a surprise as the Terms & Conditions were likely spelled out in the original scholarship letter.

Best of luck to your daughter.

I’m with the others. Schools have standards for maintaining scholarship funds. If that includes full-time enrollment, that’s their right.

FWIW my daughter at Willamette is part-time for her last semester and had her scholarship pro-rated. She checked with the financial aid office back in the fall before deciding for sure on part time vs full time. It’s a good reminder that people should check on their own situation.

Maybe she could add a class to re-instate her scholarship if that makes the net price less? Have her ask if she can, and how that will affect her bill.

Last day to add a first-half of semester course Friday, February 15
Last day to add a semester-length course Wednesday, February 20
Last day to add a second-half of semester course Tuesday, April 9

Yeah, you are also making assumptions about posters that aren’t true.

For the record, while I am an active poster, I’m not a representative of any college. ? I’m also just launching my first kid in college. But I’ve done enough reading on college financial aid pages and here on CC to be aware that retaining awards, scholarships and grants typically means keeping full time status and good grades.

Your warning is a good one in that students and parents should be aware that dropping below full time status likely means losing scholarships. Your flaw, IMO, is in thinking it’s because it’s a money grab or that it’s unique to St Olaf.

@12345mom “There’s NO MENTION anywhere in their scholarship documentation of this. We expected this to be cut in half (commensurate with the PT tuition at 1/2) - but not eliminated.”

So to summarize…you knew her merit aid would and should be cut, there was no explicit written mention of the degree of cut, you never asked the question, you are enraged at the degree of the reduction and as a result you are dragging the good name of a school that was generous to your child through the mud.

As a parent if it wasn’t written anywhere and you knew it would and should be lowered, consequently the responsibility was yours to ask the question. Not doing so displays an unwillingness to take personal responsibility for financing your kids education, while bad mouthing the school shows a sense of entitlement and lack of gratitude for all the aid given. Sorry but that’s the great thing about opinions.

Lastly when posting you can expect people to respond candidly and honestly which might run contrary to the answer you might want. Doesn’t mean you can or should question their motivations.

Congratulations on your daughter’s success.

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The full time requirement is clearly stated on the St. Olaf website (

Your financial aid award is based on full-time enrollment. At St. Olaf, full-time status is defined as 3 or more credits per semester, with 4 credits being the normal course load. If, at any time during a term, you consider dropping to a course load of less than 3.0 credits, contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine the changes that might be made to your financial aid award.

Well I’m a parent of a current St. Olaf student not a pawn for the school lol.

I typically find people who come on here screaming INJUSTICE are likely NOT the parent but the disgruntled student. I mean hey, if you’re going to make assumptions, we all can, right?

It’s pretty clear you didn’t pay attention to the rules. The campus is all of 1 mile in diameter. It’s not that hard to walk to the Thompson Center and ask the registrar the ramifications of your actions. I hear they also have a phone AND email. Go figure.

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By the way, they give credit for 6 AP classes, not 4.

This is standard policy. Scholarships require full time status. Most schools make it all or nothing. Do your due diligence and never assume anything. Good lesson for your D. Mine knows never to assume. Always ask. It’s a lesson students need to learn. You as the parent should have known better.

Got to say this is not St Olaf’s fault. Infrequent poster here with a S who is a sophomore (math major) there.