"Meet All Of Student's Documented Financial Need" HELP

<p>Based on my research and what I have heard, there are some schools out there that promise to meet 100% of financial need. The schools included that are my favorites include Boston College, UNC, University of Virginia, Georgetown, and Amherst. This sounds great since I will definitely be having financial need, but I have a few questions. How much of the full financial need met is grants/scholarships, and how much is loans/work study? I really hope that meeting full financial need doesn't mean providing lots of loans that you have to pay back in the future.</p>

<p>My weighted GPA is a 3.5 with an 1860 SAT (630 Writing, 610 Math, 620 Critical Reading) and a 650 on the US History SAT Subject Test (going to take a second subject test in October). I am a 3-season varsity athlete and captain (XC, Indoor Track, Spring Track), I have provided about 100 hours of community service, and I have belonged in a couple of school clubs. Using this information, what are my chances to go to these schools?</p>

<p>Oh yeah, what's an LAC?</p>

<p>Thanks for your help!!!!</p>

<p>I don't think your stats are high enough for those schools.</p>

<p>And, the school determines what your need is....not the family.</p>

<p>LAC...liberal arts college</p>

<p>Your need is based on your parent's income and assets, and your income and assets. You have to report these on FAFSA. FAFSA uses your financial information to determine a number called the EFC which the schools use to determine if you have financial need. How and if the school meets the need depends on the school and whether they promise to meet full need. Meeting need may include loans for most schools. </p>

<p>A few schools promise to meet need without loans. They are usually the most competitive schools to get into. Some schools, usually those that offer institutional need based aid, require an additional for called CSSprofile that asks for more detailed financial information than FAFSA.</p>

<p>To give you an idea of your chances at these schools...</p>

<p>Boston College</p>

<p>Test Scores Middle 50% of First-Year Students<br>
SAT Critical Reading: 610 - 700<br>
SAT Math: 640 - 730
SAT Writing: 630 - 720<br>
ACT Composite: 29 - 32 </p>

<p>Georgetown
Middle 50% of First-Year Students </p>

<p>SAT Critical Reading: 650 - 750<br>
SAT Math: 650 - 750<br>
SAT Writing: - -
ACT Composite: 27 - 32</p>

<p>As you can see, your stats are low for these schools. Your chances are low for admittance. The students with stats like yours would likely be special admits...like athletes, URMs, regionally-desired, or have some other special reason for admittance.</p>

<p>"The schools included that are my favorites include Boston College, UNC, University of Virginia, Georgetown, and Amherst. "</p>

<p>Virtually all of the schools offering such excellent aid are among the country's most difficult schools to gain acceptance to. They typically require scores of at least about 2100 total, far above what your scores are, and even students who have such scores have difficulty gaining admission. Consequently, so you're not likely to gain acceptance at those schools. Their admitted students also tend to have much higher unweighted gpas than you have. Academic stats are the most important factors in getting admission to college. </p>

<p>It's a little easier for top athletes -- those with outstanding records -- to be admitted, but you haven't indicated that you have the stats to be recruited for your athletics.</p>

<p>For most people the most affordable colleges are public colleges in their home state, particularly 4-year and community colleges that they can commute to. That probably would be the best place to start your search.</p>

<p>Also, virtually all public schools (including the 2 that promise to meet the full financial) are more difficult for out of state students to gain admission to than for in-state students.</p>

<p>LAC stands for Liberal Arts College. These are typically small to medium sized colleges (under 5000 students) that focus entirely on undergraduate education. In other words, the highest degree a LAC typically offers is a bachelor's degree. LACs often (but not always) have campus environments that encourage close interactive work between professors and students, professors that really get to know (most of) their students by name, and smaller classes (often less than 30) even for introductory courses. LACs also usually have less extensive choices for what to major in since most LACs will not have engineering programs or other professional programs such as nursing. [Although some LACs do have these types of programs.]</p>

<p>Most colleges and universities that promise to meet full need will meet that need by including maximum amounts of Stafford loans each year, possibly a Perkins loan, and possibly work study for all students receiving need-based FA. The exceptions are the most well endowed and most selective, hard-to-get-into schools that are probably out of your reach.</p>

<p>However, there are some schools that meet full need, albeit with max Stafford loans and work study that do not require 2100+ on the SAT to be competitive. St. Olaf College out in Northfield, MN is one example. St. Olaf's middle 50% range on CR+M is 1180--1400 (they don't yet formally count the writing part of the SAT) and the middle 50% range on the ACT Composite is 26--31. Quite competitive, yes, but not astronomically high.</p>

<p>There is also another thing you need to be aware of when looking at schools that promise to meet full need: Many of these schools (including St. Olaf) will require the CSS Profile as well as the FAFSA. The CSS Profile asks for much more detailed information about the student's family's finances. The college takes the numbers on the FAFSA and the CSS Profile and the * college * determines the student's financial need, which may or may not agree with what the student and his/her parents think their need should be. You can appeal, but typically an appeal is not going to change your FA award by very much money.</p>

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I really hope that meeting full financial need doesn't mean providing lots of loans that you have to pay back in the future.

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<p>As pointed out by Robinsuesanders, most schools have some loans. Second they determine what your EFC (expected family contribution) is i.e. documented need. Many students are surprised by the EFC. There are many cases in CC where students have a parental income of about $100,000 and EFC's of about $35,000, which they have no way of meeting. So, do not be taken in by the hype "Meet All Of Student's Documented Financial Need". Everything is dependent upon the specifics and it may not mean what you think it means.</p>

<p>The first thing that I think students should do when looking for colleges is to find some colleges that are very likely to accept the student, and are very likely to be affordable. We did this with our son. We know what the state schools would cost, and at which ones he would be likely to gain acceptance, and maybe even get a little merit money. Then we looked at some private schools that are within commuting distance and figured that some of those are schools he liked and that they would be just affordable if he commuted. The other thing that struck us was that a number of OOS public colleges that he recognized were also just about affordable. We looked for a number of schools with affordable sticker prices, private as well as public. We also looked for schools that he might like where he would be in the top10% or better in terms of test scores, where he might have a male/female ratio advantage, where geographics would be favorable for him. </p>

<p>Also important were things he wanted in a school. That knocked out a lot of far away schools because he doesn't want to go away that far. We threw in some schools that he really like even though they are financial and/or admissions reached. No problem having a few of those as long as he has a number of schools we can afford that he will find admissions likely.</p>

<p>I suggest you start looking for those likely, affordable school that meet your likes and needs. When you have that as a baseline, you can then add reach schools and even lottery ticket school, recognizing what they are. But do stay focused on those schools where you have a good chance of being able to go for an affordable price.</p>