Financial Aid + NMF Presidential Scholarship = Full Ride?

<p>I just got my Financial Aid Award today and my cost of attendance came out to be about $15,000. However, my award did not include the presidential scholarship that all National Merit Finalists (who declare USC as first choice) get. </p>

<p>Since this scholarship covers half tuition, which is about $19,000, does this mean I will essentially be attending USC for free? (given that the $19,000 scholarship > $15,000 cost of attendance)</p>

<p>P.S. At the bottom of my Award page it states:</p>

<p>"Your financial aid eligibility may change if you receive additional awards. You must submit a copy of the award letter to the Financial Aid Office if you receive additional awards from any USC or other source, e.g., grants, scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, tuition assistance benefits, or agency awards."</p>

<p>Does this mean I should submit a copy of my National Merit Finalist letter in order for them to process the NMF Presidential Scholarship into my Financial Aid Award?</p>

<p>Thanks in advance!</p>

<p>no need to submit a copy of the finalist letter; they know you're a finalist already</p>

<p>and no, you wont get to keep everything. my cost of attendance dropped by a few thousand though, so it definitely helps :)</p>

<p>make sure you call them to make sure they know you're a finalist</p>

<p>Can you elaborate more on what you mean by "you wont get to keep everything"?</p>

<p>Your cost of attendance dropped by only "a few thousand" with the NMF Presidential Scholarship? Shouldn't I get automatic half-tuition, ON TOP of my financial aid award?</p>

<p>The Presidential Scholarship if for Tuition only so if you are already getting financial aid toward tutition the Presidential may offset the aid you are already being awarded, such as grants etc... If the Presidential Scholarship is larger than your grants then you will benefit from the larger amount but it will not just add to what you already have been awarded. </p>

<p>"alamemom" who is a frequent contributor on this board knows way more about how this works than I do, so I would defer to her for more details.</p>

<p>Fight On!</p>

<p>okay, you know how the presidential's worth around....19k? well, i was already getting around 35k in grants based on need-based before the presidential came in. so what they did is:</p>

<p>35k (University Grant) + 19k (the presidential) - 12k,ish? (money they took out of University Grant)</p>

<p>still a good chunk of money, no?</p>

<p>kMz, CONGRATULATIONS on the NMF Presidential scholarship! As anotherasian and CollegeFrenzy have mentioned, it unfortunately won't be added "on top" of your need-based aid. All scholarships are considered resourses in financial aid calculations. Your need-based aid was calculated before they were aware that would have another $19,000+ per year to go toward your expenses.</p>

<p>As need-based aid is (as the name implies) based on your need, a scholarship of $19,000 means you no longer need that amount and awards are adjusted. As anotherasians post shows, USC tries very hard to be sure students do see some benefit from their efforts to get scholarships. Your best bet is to contact the financial aid office as soon as possible and ask how your award will be adjusted.</p>

<p>*Note that students who were awarded the Trustee and Presidential scholarships (non-NMF) automatically have their need reduced before the package is awarded, so they are in the same situation as the NMF awardees.</p>

<p>To expert mom on National Merit,
We just got the word that our jr. son is in the running. Can you tell me how important it is when selecting 2 colleges to notify of your status?</p>

<p>USC only gives the presidential half tuition scholarship to NMF who designate in writing that USC is their first choice school. Make sure your son takes care of that before the deadline if USC is his first choice.</p>

<p>Congratulations on the ability to have your need-based aid replaced by the Presidential. If you carry through on it, this will mean then you can worry about losing your aid if your college GPA goes below the minimum threshold to keep it. I would counsel you to look carefully at whether the prestige of the Presidential is worth that, if you have time still to manipulate things so you don't get it.</p>

<p>dt123, on the other hand if the OP's family's financial situation improves and their EFC goes up during their college years, they might be glad they have the merit based aid to fall back on.</p>

<p>Also although they can lose the Presidential if their grades fall below 3.0, they do have a probationary period where they can bring their grades back up. Also if they still lost the merit aid after the probationary period and their EFC was still low, I believe their grant aid would likely be increased to make up the difference.</p>

<p>So I would not give up the Presidential Scholarship.</p>

<p>Fight On!</p>

<p>So, it's a dilemma.</p>

<p>Take the Presidential if you think your financial situation might improve a lot.</p>

<p>Take the need-based aid if you think your grades might be borderline.</p>

<p>There are many freshman merit aid recipients sweating bullets right now about their grades this semester. Ones on probation from the fall, trying to decide which classes they are taking now have the best potential for As, and dreading the possibility of a particular conversation with their parents.</p>

<p>dt123 - You are NOT correct.</p>

<p>There is NO need for anyone to decline the Presidentail scholarship in order to qualify for need-based aid. If you qualify for $50,000 in aid and get a $19,000 Presidential scholarship, you will get the rest in need-based aid. If you lose the scholarship because of your gpa (but are still otherwise qualified academically in the same way any student on NEED-based aid must be), you will get ALL the need-based aid you would have qualified for if you never had been awarded the Presidential scholarship. </p>

<p>It would be foolish to decline the scholarship. The only ones who should be "sweating bullets" are those who would not qualify for the amount of the scholarship in need-based aid or who did not file the FAFSA and CSS/Profile on time.</p>

<p>Again - accepting the Presidential or Trustee scholarship in NO WAY makes you ineligible for financial aid.</p>

<p>drt, re: sweating bullets. Falling below the GPA requirement is a sad scenario. But no matter if your family is paying, FA is paying or merit aid is paying, it's really a good idea to get solid grades at USC. Kids who are awarded NMF Presidential (as well as reg Presidential and Trustee) are capable of getting a 3.0 average, so those who do not may not be taking college seriously. USC is not an easy A school, but focusing on your school work pays many dividends. <--- Man! Do I sound like a grouchy mom. Sorry 'bout that. Anyway, you can still have lots of fun and keep your grades up too. ;)</p>

<p>Alamemom, in theory you are right, but I'm just a lame dad who has seen too many snafus in life to believe it is worth the risk to take on this completely avoidable and unnecessary GPA requirement. This student we are talking about (the OP) gets his USC bills paid either way, but with the Presidential has to make the grades to keep it and with need-based does not have to worry about that. It's a sure thing vs. counting on the system to work to save him if his grades do not add up.</p>

<p>The OP qualifies for aid in excess of the amount of the scholarship and so will be applying for aid every year regardless of their grades. If they have the scholarship, the aid will be figured with it. If they do not have the scholarship, the aid will be figured without it. ALL students on need-based aid must be academically eligible to receive aid - or even to remain enrolled, so using your logic students would be better off not going to college at all to avoid that "unneccessary" gpa requirement.</p>

<p>Refusing the scholarship would be foolish.</p>

<p>It's the choice between walking somewhere on the ground (need-based aid) vs. walking on a tight rope, with a safety net (merit-based aid). Why choose the latter? What does that get him? Why is it foolish to choose the former? </p>

<p>I'm a risk-taker by nature but I just don't see the added reward for the risk here. You're saying there is no risk because the safety net always works. I'm not so sure.</p>

<p>Your argument makes no sense because the "safety net" you are saying is a "risk" (need-based aid) is also your safe choice of "walking somewhere on the ground" (which you also say is need-based aid).</p>

<p>USC meets 100% of USC-determined need. If you get a scholarship and your USC-determined need exceeds your scholarship, you get need-based aid up to your USC-determined need. If you lose that scholarship due to GPA, USC will STILL meet 100% of your USC-determined need.</p>

<p>If your financial circumstances change and you no longer qualify for need-based aid you will STILL get the scholarship - there is absolutely NO benefit to refusing the scholarship and a potential loss of that money if your financial circumstances change.</p>

<p>The "added reward" is that the "package" with the scholarship generally reduces work/study and subsidized loans so the student can work LESS (and concentrate on the GPA) and can graduate with LESS debt.</p>

<p>Refusing the scholarship would be foolish.</p>

<p>Take the scholarship. It is a no brainer. My son is at USC in the same position. </p>

<p>The GPA requirement is a 3.0 and not that tough to hit. By taking the scholarship he saw his student loan numbers significantly reduced and has only borrowed $2,500 after two years at USC. Without the scholarship he was at Stafford loan maximums offered in his first package.</p>

<p>I am paying my EFC.</p>

<p>I am paying 6k over my EFC :/
I'm almost in the same boat. I interviewed for the Trustee and received the Presidential scholarship. I am also a NMF, but didn't have USC as my top choice originally so got the Presidential separately. I called in and they told me that I cannot stack the National Merit 2500 on top of the Presidential.</p>

<p>NonSenescent, USC uses the CSS/Profile in addition to the FAFSA, so the USC-determined need is often a different figure than the FAFSA-determined EFC. The Profile collects information on some assets that the FAFSA does not, and for most people that means home equity. That may be why your USC-determined need is not as high as your FAFSA determined need.</p>