Help! Sophomore aid package much less than freshman!

<p>My daughter received a great financial aid package for her freshman year. She was a National Merit finalist, top 10% of her class etc. She received Dean's Honors for both semesters this year. Yesterday we received an email that our aid has been decreased by 21,000. We are pretty much freaking out. We did not expect it to stay exactly the same, but never dreamed thaey would not award her a comperable sum as last year. Has this happened to anyone else? Now we have 2 monthes to come up with over $9000. Thoughts?</p>

<p>Send an email to the financial aid office requesting information on what caused the aid package to be so different this year. </p>

<p>Check your FAFSA to see if any changes were made by the school. Did your family have some significant change in resources this year, or a decrease in the number of kids attending college?</p>

<p>What school is this? </p>

<p>If they don't promise to meet need or she wasn't given a set scholarship for stats, then this sort of thing can happen. Some schools give the best aid to incoming students so that the student will choose them. </p>

<p>Was she given a NMF scholarship from the school? </p>

<p>Did your income/assets change?</p>

<p>may not help but ..alot of schools have monthly payment plans..so you may not need the lump sum of 9K in 2 months, but it would mean 900 per month for 10 months..gives you a bit more time. the monthly plan may have a minimal fee but would be cheaper in the long run than loan or credit card interest if you borrowed to pay a lump sum</p>

<p>Equity loan time.</p>

<p>As long as they maintain high college GPA, Merit package should go up. Our D's junior package went down for our own fault - we missed deadline for applying for Returning Students Merit scholarhsips....by 4 days. She had perfect cumulative college GPA and I begged FA office, but procedure is there to follow and it would not be fair to others. We surely learned our lesson, and her senior package is beyond any of our expectations. Apply every year to everything. For now, all you can do is to learn from potential mistakes (if there are any, you are the only one to judge). It is certainly worthwhile to maintain GPA=4.0 in college, scholarships / grants for research / various awards / academic societies memeberships (like prestigious Phi Kappa Phi) are falling from the sky. The best of luck for the next couple years.</p>

<p>'As long as they maintain high college GPA, Merit package should go up. "</p>

<p>I've seen no evidence that this is true for most schools.</p>

<p>When those nice high school scholarships end after the first year of college a lot of kids end up paying more.</p>

<p>while i'll buy that the incoming frosh scholarship can end after 1st year, isn't a 21K decrease in aid a little extreme (unless there was a huge increase in parental income over the freshman year)...?</p>

<p>Our 'package' was not very impressive at all. Winging about $20,000 ourselves Freshman year. Unfortunately, the college only gives 'good' scholarships to the very 'gifted' and not the average A student. We fell in the cracks. Not a 4.0 , but don't qualify for the grants, etc. We're on our own. That is scary.</p>

<p>Unfortunately, some colleges do a bait and switch. Unless a college promises to meet 100% of demonstrated financial aid or unless it promises to maintain merit aid (for instance requiring a certain gpa for merit aid to continue), colleges may choose to decrease the aid after they've hooked a student with an excellent freshman year package. Read the fine print on last year's aid package.</p>

<p>What school is your D attending?</p>

<p>northstarmom: yes, i suspected as much for one private school my child was offered admission to...just didn't trust that the amount they were offering as 'undergrad scholarship' would carry over to soph year. i guess i'm a little naive though because i thought only privates sometimes pulled a bait and switch (granted the person who started this thread didn't specify public or private)...</p>

<p>reading fine print and speaking with live people at the financial aid office is good advice.</p>

<p>but of course this is still a highly unethical practice.</p>

<p>At D's school, it is very important to file FASFA for MERIT package. A lot of people do not do it because they do not qualify to need base. We are miles away for qualifying for need based, but religiously file FASFA, since school indicated importance of it for FULL RANGE of Merit scholarhsips. And as I mentioned before, most do not apply to Returning Student scholarships either, thinking that they would not get it, so it is not worthwhile. Also beig mistake and more money for kids who apply. My D's soph. year was $4000 higher because she applied ti Returning students scholarships, which she has missed deadline the following year. Her college GPA cut off for this one is 3.8. Research and investigate and read everything that school sends you and tell kids to maintain high GPA. If not before, senior year might end up being free. Ops, forgot to mention that going in-state is definintely worthwhile for financially concerned families.</p>

<p>So sorry! What a nasty shock. I hope you're able to work out a reasonably doable solution.</p>

<p>Your story reinforces my care in checking to make sure that any/all sizeable merit offers my D gets (she will also be NMF) are guaranteed for 4 years as long as she maintains the required GPA. </p>

<p>Was the bulk of your package merit-based or need-based?</p>

<p>I think different colleges do scholarships different ways.</p>

<p>As long as they maintain high college GPA, Merit package should go up.</p>

<p>What????</p>

<p>That may happen at a few schools, but that's not typical.</p>

<p>The OP's D is at Connecticut College. I don't know what their FA guidelines are. </p>

<p>Sounds like the D didn't get an assured scholarship for the 4 years there.</p>

<p>Merit packages don't usually increase with the rising cost of tuition. </p>

<p>Need packages may increase. Or possible loans. </p>

<p>Or at least that is what I have observed.</p>

<p>*Merit packages don't usually increase with the rising cost of tuition. *</p>

<p>Depends on the school. If a merit scholarship is for a set amount...like $10k per year, then typically that won't change when tuition rises.</p>

<p>However, my kids' scholarships include free tuition. their scholarships increase as tuition increases.</p>

<p>Right, Mom2, my D is looking at "full tuition," three-quarter tuition", etc scholarships, and we've been assured by multiple schools that when it's worded like that, the amount rises with tuition. However, as you point out, when it's for a fixed amount (say, $10K), that won't change based on tuition increases.</p>

<p>My daughter has a full tuition scholarship so whatever her tuition is for the semester that is what the scholarship. He school charges by the credit hour so it goes up or down depending on whether she is doing 14 or 17 hours in a semester. Other than that I have never heard that maintaining a high GPA means merit money will increase.</p>