Fin Aid & Merit Discussion for class of '27 Undergrad/'25 Grad

This. Combined income between me and my ex is higher. Now, my ex may not pay for college but some schools did want both parents financials. So my sons “need” in reality is much higher than what it says on paper sadly.

Some private schools have offered a very solid aid offer but they also are tippy top music schools either. We have had to look beyond the T50 music schools to find affordability. (Add in me trying to get tuition remission through my Jesuit employer and its added an extra layer of complexity.)

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Did your son receive merit aid from Blair, as well? My daughter received a generous financial aid package when she was accepted, but we are wondering if there may be additional merit? (On a related note, do you know if Blair gives out merit aids separate from the three big signature, Vanderbilt scholarships?)

I don’t think we have ever paid for a book, definitely not Ubers or eating out, I have 2 traveling for spring break this on the month (Nashville and DR), on their dime. We pay for some necessities and medical bills (like we’ve always done), but they are expected to work PT, and full time over breaks. Our 21 year old made over $15,000 after taxes bartending PT (so maybe even twice that amount with cash tips) just during when school was in session ($5000 in Delaware, $10,000 in Boston). This doesn’t include what she made working full time over the summer. She pays for her rent/food. We do pay for flights/trains for our OOS kids to travel home, although sometimes they get rides (my 20 year old doesn’t mind the 12+ hour drive).


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He didn’t…he got in off the waitlist there, so I doubt there was any merit money left to distribute by the time they got to him (and he didn’t apply separately for any of the big ones). His need based aid covers almost all of our direct costs this year, though. And I also don’t know about other merit scholarships (specifically I’ve wondered if they do music scholarships)…I can ask my son, but I don’t know if he has any idea either!


Somehow I made this post a response to 2plustrio, but it was a general post to the thread.

Now that the auditions are done I guess I’ve turned to worrying about money, worrying about the future, wishing I’d done some things differently (which I know doesn’t help). With the exception of two very tough music admits (Texas and USC) my kid’s remaining schools he hasn’t heard from are too expensive without solid aid.

We don’t mind if it’s financial aid or merit, as long as we can pay without risking our future. I’m afraid of the reality we’re going to be looking at when choosing, or ending up with only two choices. (I know that’s a privilege, and he’ll be happy. I still want him to have the opportunity for one of his top choices. I can’t help it. :slightly_smiling_face:)

^ I know USC is mega expensive, but according to US News & World Report it’s one of those that gives good aid to those of us with low EFCs. It’s a long shot in both ways.

I think I know what you mean by tippy top, though I’ve been trying to define “top” specifically for my kid. You’ve been really smart with your approach, and in terms of Jesuit schools, Loyola NOLA has a well regarded music program that felt really good to my kid when he visited. Maybe they’ll both end up there. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you! My daughter applied ED…and we neglected to ask some big questions up front. That said, she is so excited to be going to Vanderbilt—I’m sure their paths will cross in such a small music school.

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I question my approach as well. We were told that Xavier was basically a guarantee at free tuition. My son was denied. I am not complaining about the 25k merit he was given but due to uncertain father financial support, I don’t feel good about riddling him (or me) with an extra 80k in loans.

I dont know if Loyno will be affordable in the end. A big reason why I am willing to fly down to visit UL Lafayet is to see if it is “New Orleans light” enough so where he would get the creole cajun jazz vibe without the big price tag.

My sons voice teacher really wanted him to apply to CCM and some other very competitive conservatories. While it would be okay for my sons ego to be “accepted,” I dont think it was ultimately going to be good for his mental health to say “well, you made it in but you can’t go because mom can’t afford it.”


That last bit. We talked about it and said go for it as long as you understand. Those Expectations are reasonable, I think, but still there are feelings to be had.

ETA: There are one or two where I’d go to bat if the acceptance comes without enough money, especially if he’s made a connection with a teacher. I think it’s worth having those on the list for us. It may not be right for everyone.

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Every family is different - but I was simply pointing out that college costs more than they say (i.e. spring break trips, etc.). How these extra expenses are paid for is up to each family.

But they do exist.

They definitely do, and I’m guessing parents who’s students are eligible for financial aid, or students who need merit to attend OOS or private universities, are more likely to be expected to work and pay these extra expenses themselves. I didn’t give my kids spending money in high school so definitely not in college.

My kids didn’t have a lot of extra expenses mostly because they didn’t have the money. One couldn’t travel on spring break trips because she was an athlete and always had games (and it was Florida, so every day is spring break). She was a minimalist and didn’t spend money decorating her dorm or buying clothing. She actually graduated with money in the bank which she used to buy a car and for the down payment on an apartment for her first job. She honestly didn’t have time to spend money. Her school was on the beach, her boyfriend (and roommates) had a car and she’d just pay them gas and tolls to take her to the airport. She spent a lot for books her first year and then learned to find old books from friends, online versions, etc. She had a meal plan as part of her scholarship and made it work (they had a store they could buy food with their meal plan $$ and cook at home or eat at school or even order pizza).

Other kid lived as a poor poor college kid. Shopped only at goodwill, no spring break travel, borrowed books from the library most of the time (joys of being a history major is that many books are just books, not textbooks).

If they don’t have the money, they can’t spend it. Neither came close to spending the school estimates for books or spending money. I can’t remember the estimates for travel, but they didn’t spend that either. One got rides home, the other only came home at xmas and in June.


Excellent point.

If you don’t mind sharing, where did your daughter go to school on the beach? I want to go. :slight_smile: It does seem like going to school in a spring-break environment might make it less important for a kid to spend money to travel somewhere similar. I ask because my kid does have Frost/Miami on his list.

He gets clothes at Goodwill, eats nothing but peanut butter and cereal and will likely continue to do so, and prefers bike and transit to using a car. He does get fancy haircuts. :smiley: I do see, though, how just being in a place like Miami could be expensive regardless, just getting the peanut butter there is different than peanut butter in NY or NOLA.

She went to Florida Tech, in Melbourne, which is about 2 hours north of Miami.

Their food plan was really expensive but hers was included with her scholarship. As I said there was a store so they could get food but also TP, dishwashing detergent, cleaning supplies. She could never spend all the money on her account (even swiping in friends) so at the end of the year they went and bought all kinds of staples. The house she lived in was passed on year after year to teammates so no need to clean it out in May. They learn all the hacks, so freshman year was more expensive but they got pretty good at saving money as the years went on.

Her BF lived off campus but his parents paid for a ‘lunch’ dining plan. It was only good M-F, but ‘lunch’ was defined as 10:30 to 3, and sometimes he’d eat 3 times during that period. Depending on classes, he’d go at 10:30 for a brunch, sometimes again at 12:30 and even at 3. As long as he was in the cafe by 3, he could stay as long as he wanted. He was an athlete too so often their coaches would bring the team to the dining hall and that was another free meal. Of course my daughter would swipe him in …there was lots of food on campus so no need to eat off campus. And being a nice Italian boy from NJ, his mother would send him spaghetti and sauce in the mail! Dry Ice.

For the BF, he must have saved a fortune on clothes as I never saw him in anything other than his team clothing. Always wearing a t-shirt and shorts provided by his coach. Even shoes.

I’m going to say…sometimes these costs exist. My older kid (the musician) never went on a spring break trip during college or grad school. He saved his earnings for things during the academic year. He used the very low cost public transportation where he went to college…and this was something we factored in when he made his college decisions.

I think families also need to decide IF these extras are something they need to have their kid do. The Thumper family decided that IF these extras had to happen, our kids needed to fund them. And our kids decided it wasn’t something they wanted to pay for either.

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We were not a financial aid family. We expected our kids to work while in college. There is actually good research out there that kids who work 10-12 hours a week get better grades, and learn to budget time better. Our kids were all on earning their own money.

We did send gift cards from time to time.


We are not a FA family (although live in a high COL area so not living large), most of my kids actually LIKE working. One at college is unemployed, no car (was a TA last semester), she picked up a lot of restaurant shifts over winter break. My parents didn’t give me spending money at college, they could’ve afforded to. Bought my own car junior year (parents lended me the money, I made monthly payments to them). My younger sister took our family’s 3rd car to college because it was 6 hours away, I was only an hour away. Very practical.


LOYNO is 54% OOS
UL Lafayette is 4%OOS

A very different experience

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Hi everyone, It’s highly likely we’ll be appealing for more scholarship funding from one school (depending on whether S is accepted and what he’s awarded at a couple others). I’m seeking some input and help ahead of time, even though I don’t think we do this yet until we have our FA letters from all our schools. (Is that right?)

Basically, I don’t know anything. :smiley:

I don’t know when we do it.
I don’t know how we do it.

At one particular school, we have the scholarship offer in his admissions letter, but do not have a financial aid package yet. The school’s financial aid office has not been able to help me with any questions.