How to be excited over no scholarship money

I’m a little disappointed. As my children approach college, I don’t see any massive scholarship in their future. They are “B” students and not tippy top. Might get a few local scholarships but nothing massive.

We also earn enough (well, it’s never “enough”) that we won’t qualify for financial aid.

Thus, we’ll be full pay parents and simply write a check to pay for college. While others around me are thrilled about how their kids get full ride scholarships or they get tons of need based assistance.

I dunno. I guess we shouldn’t complain but it just seems…unexciting that we are stuck writing a check when other parents are getting a lot of financial help.

I’ll be the first to grab the popcorn! :popcorn:

If your child applies to lesser known colleges, they may well get some merit aid. It’s the colleges that everyone knows of where your child is unlikely to get money.

I’m sure you know how lucky you are to be able to afford college with no FA. People who get FA get it because they need it.


Depending on what state you live in, your State colleges (not the flagships), will likely offer a good deal. They can always start there and transfer to help save $. Also there are schools that offer B students merit aid (for example, coastal Carolina is one that I seem to recall does). There are ways to make it affordable to you.


It’s hard, but then again it’s easy to make assumptions about other families and what kind of help they may or may not be getting. At my school, the kids who got full scholarships were athletes. The kids who got need based aid, tended to be smart kids whose parents were low income. I’d encourage your kids to widen their nets when applying to colleges. Applying to lesser known colleges can be a great way for “B” kids to get scholarship money. If you live out west, look into WUE. I don’t know what state you’re in, but if you apply to some schools that don’t get a lot of students from your state can be a good way to get some Fin Aid and scholarship money.


OP, I thought you’re a college student? I just answered your post about how you can celebrate your graduation instead of spending $500 for the cap & gown. Can you please clarify:


While I think you’re just looking for a place to vent, please don’t be discouraged and compare your family’s situation to others (which you really can’t know). I hope your kids do not know you feel this way.

I encourage you to read through the threads for parents of students with 3.0-3.4 GPAs. There are so many wonderful schools for that profile and many offer merit. I’ll also add that those threads have some of the most supportive posters on CC. :grin::grin::grin: Your kids can find their place.

Edit: I’m assuming you’re a non traditional student currently pursuing a PhD? What a great example for your kids!


I’m a perpetual college student, and also a parent of a couple of kids. They aren’t age to apply for college today but they will get there soon enough.

I’m mainly here to talk about my own college experiences as a PhD grad student. But I’ll talk about my kids some too.


Got it. Congratulations to you again on recently completing your masters degree at USC. Good luck at CSU.

When will your children be applying to college?

It sounds like they might have some time? Sometimes B students mature into A students and sometimes students who excel early will not maintain their grades in high school.


Lots of high school B (~3.0 GPA) students who do go to college commute to a local in-state public university to keep costs down (or start at a local community college to lower costs even more).

Getting merit scholarships at more residential colleges means looking for less selective colleges where the applicant’s high school academic credentials are high relative to those of students entering the college.

What cost is affordable to you?

  • Commuting to a community college.
  • Commuting to a local in-state public university.
  • Attending an in-state public university residentially.
  • More than the above?
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Lots of good schools for B students that might get your cost down to state flagship level. Smaller schools that get overlooked or off the beaten path.

Also depends on major. Teaching or nursing grads aren’t paid more for going to top schools. Go to a lower cost school.

Might be ok in a few years. Demographic changes start in a few years. Less kids born after 2008.

My kids see how other kids struggle to pay for school and living expenses. They’re thankful they’ll graduate debt free. Being a donut hole family isn’t the worst thing.

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Sadly the college process is somewhat of a game. Some are able to play the game better than others. First, let me say there aren’t that many full-rides out there. I classify full-ride as covering all the COA. There are some that cover tuition and fees. There are also people that own their own business with less than 100 employees so they can make their income look very small to get aid. As an accountant I know it is possible with some preparation.

All that being said there are a million different ways to go to college. Some can be costly and some can be relatively cheap.

But in the end to get the money it can just be a game. I know because I had one that played the game pretty well and got a good amount. Now I have a 17 year old that I am trying to convince to study her butt off for the ACT/SAT to help get more money. Do I think it will help her in the future probably not, but it is one of the ways to get the money. And making a teenager do anything can be just a joyous thing to do.

Scholarships mainly come from the colleges. Few earn them locally or nationally. Frankly it’s rarely worth the effort even for top students to apply outside. But if you do find small, local, no one has heard of scholarships. An HOA and a car dealership near us both offer one as an example.

You can find both low cost ( the point of a scholarship, right) or merit even as a B student.

But you need to apply to the right schools.

No reason for a pity party. You just need a plan.

Give us academic details and what you’re looking for school wise and we can give you an affordable list.


What state do you live in? Do you think you’ll still be there when your kids apply to college?

Scholarship money doesn’t always end up equaling savings. My younger kid got a half-tuition scholarship to a T30 liberal arts college. It was enough of a discount to convince us that the remaining cost was a good value… but full-pay at one of our public U’s would still have been cheaper!

I’d start by familiarizing the kids with the public options in your state. Educate them about your family’s budget and how merit money can open up additional options that they might like, but that full-paying for private or OOS public schools isn’t going to be on the menu. If that incentivizes them to up their GPA game, great! If they’re happy with the public U’s that will be available to them with a B average, that works too. Basically, put the ball in their court, and let them own where it goes from there. Knowing that they’re a disappointment to you will be far more harmful than going to a less-competitive school, so do everything you can to remove the need for you to be disappointed!


I have heard of a lot of merit scholarships here on CC. We haven’t seen much for my son some 3 years ago, even at our instate public. I think he told me that they may have given 15k or so – like a tuition award. No one else (OOS publics) gave anything. I guess the final choice wouldn’t have changed even if he got merit somewhere. This year we did not even try for a different kid. Getting merit is exceptionally hard. Getting need based aid is equally hard :-).

Depends on where you look. Some large merit scholarships are easy to get for high stats students. But the student has to be overqualified compared to admission selectivity and be willing to attend those colleges.

It is harder to get merit for a high school B student than a high school A student.


Yes, that’s the key. A high stat student will get plenty of $$ at a lower selectivity school like Alabama, Arizona, etc. but of course, those schools may not be a good fit.

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If your kids are healthy, happy and you “earn enough” while having the ability and flexibility to earn a PHD I would count your blessings.


We thought we might get full ride at Rutgers and some merit aid at UIUC and Austin CS. Hit honors college at all three. Merit aid didn’t happen.

I believe $15k is the max merit $$ Rutgers gives for in-state. My D got the same amount and I personally don’t know anyone over the past few years (who didn’t qualify for FA) who got any higher.


That really isn’t surprising for CS at public flagships.

My D had everything from a full ride to full pay depending on the “tier” of school.

I agree that it’s tougher finding merit for a B student but it can be done, you just need to drop down in selectivity.