<p>My son is a senior in high school planning to apply to a variety of public and private schools. He is also contemplating taking a gap year to study at a program in Israel for a semester (and then come home and work for a few months). In general, how does asking for a deferment effect the financial aid offers he might receive? Will he most likely lose out on any merit scholarship offers if he defers? Would he be better off waiting until the following year to apply to college?</p>
<p>You will have to apply for federal and need based aid every year, so any changes in income will affect his financial aid year over year. Regarding merit scholarships, many schools do not let you defer the scholarship meanings if he defers enrollment, he loses the scholarship. Your best bet would be to ask the schools directly about deferment.</p>
<p>Agree, it depends on the school for merit aid. My daughter's merit scholarship required her to start college the fall after graduating HS, she would have lost it if she deferred. Need based aid is recalculates every year anyway.</p>
<p>Sharejojo, my daughter just did this. She graduated from high school Last May, and will take a gap year before she enters college. Here, in a nutshell, is what we learned.</p>
<p>Although you can apply to colleges while you're on your gap year, and many gap-year programs will help you with that as much as they can, they don't usually recommend it. It's just easier to do your college applications while you're in the U.S., and while you have near-daily access to the teachers and guidance counselors who will also be writing part of your application. At most colleges and universities, deferring enrollment after you've been admitted is very easy to do.</p>
<p>Our experience with merit aid was actually mostly the opposite of what Sybbie and swimcatsmom describe. My daughter applied to 5 universities. She asked specifically about the effect of a gap year on merit aid, invitations to honors programs, etc., everywhere she applied. At four of the five, taking a gap year had no effect on any of that stuff. At one university, the director of the honors program actually said, "No, a gap year won't affect any of that. [and then, to the group] In fact, all of you should take a gap year. It would be a great experience for you!"</p>
<p>I guess this just emphasizes that your son really needs to ask at the colleges and universities that interest him.</p>
<p>It should be noted, I suppose, that when your son comes back from his gap year, tuition will have increased, so the aid he's offered will be a smaller percentage of his tuition in 2012-13 than it would have been in 2011-12.</p>
<p>The only institution we encountered where taking a gap year meant forfeiting merit aid was Brandeis. At Brandeis, an offer of merit aid is good for four consecutive academic years, beginning the fall after you're offered admission. If you're not in residence for a quarter of that time because of your gap year, you forfeit a quarter of your scholarship.</p>
<p>Thanks, would it be possible to name some of the colleges that are willing to defer merit aid during a gap year- and even encourage it? Of course, I know to ask the colleges as well, but it would be good to know which ones.
He is also contemplating taking a gap year to study at a program in Israel for a semester
<p>I'm wondering how this would affect his status as an incoming freshman...would he be receiving college credit for these studies? If so, that may affect his eligibility for scholarships.</p>
<p>Pennylane, I think it is the best to ask the colleges you are interested in. College policies, especially concerning merit aid, change and anecdotal reports of what happened last year or the year before might not be relevant to what might happen this spring. Regardless if you do extract promises after acceptances, I would highly suggest you get it in writing. I'm much more leery in this economy of what businesses might say today vs. 365 days from today so want promises in writing....YMMV of course.</p>
Pennylane, I think it is the best to ask the colleges you are interested in. College policies, especially concerning merit aid, change and anecdotal reports of what happened last year or the year before might not be relevant to what might happen this spring.
<p>I absolutely second this advice! Nevertheless, I'm going to go right ahead and tell you what I knew to be true a year ago. (No disrespect intended, momofthreeboys.)</p>
<p>A year ago, University of Maryland, American University and George Washington University all said they would defer an admitted student's merit aid for a year.</p>
<p>Brandeis was unusual, as noted above.</p>
I'm wondering how this would affect his status as an incoming freshman...would he be receiving college credit for these studies? If so, that may affect his eligibility for scholarships.
<p>With all the same caveats as above, we didn't find this to be the case anywhere. Credits from gap years didn't affect merit aid anyplace we asked, but many universities do limit the number of credits that students may bring in from their gap years.</p>