Merit aid at UPenn an IVY leauge school

<p>AS I have hoped for well following links provide the merit aid to the very exceptional kids who need also financial aid. This again proves me that school does find a way to wiggle around to attract their most qualified candidadtes.</p>

<p>"ROY and his younger brother live with their parents in the mid-west. Roy's parents earn $57,000 and have $7,000 in savings. In addition, they have $90,000 in home equity. Roy has no accumulated savings. Penn expects Roy's parents to contribute $4,600 and Roy, $2,050 from summer earnings. The total expected family contribution is $6,650. Because of Roy's exceptional academic credentials, he was selected as a Trustee Scholar. Trustee Scholars receive packages that meet their needs without student loans." </p>

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<p>I do believe that the EFC was a bit more generous than I would have guessed from the raw numbers, but the scholarship did not surprise me. Many schools, all of the top ones have many merit scholarships that they award to their top students. They are, however, merit within need, and are applicable only to the extent that the family has demonstrated need. If you come up zero in need by their formulas, it does not matter how talented your student is, you will not get a dime of merit money. </p>

<p>Some of the top schools are eliminating loans entirely from financial aid packages and are being generous in excluding home equity from the assets. But I am seeing ominous movement in schools that are not as well endowed in that they are encroaching upon assets and income sources that were not previously considered as part of the family available stash for college. BC has announced that 401 K and other pension plan info will be assessed now. Some schools are actively using Sec 524 plan money that was once not considered as student money. Merged families are having a tough time now as colleges insist on getting the financial lowdown on all parents, steps included. </p>

<p>The college where I worked assesses each applicant on a need blind basis and gives an "A","B", "C" score. The "A's" get the best scholarship money and financial aid gives them as much grant money and merit awards that they can. The "B's" got loans and work study intermingled in with some awards, and the "C's" got what was left. For the "C's" at the bottom of the list, some were not accepted as the amount of loan money was too much to offer, and the grant money had run out. This, I understand, is typical operating procedure for an elite need aware school. Admissions puts together the acceptees on a need blind basis, but financial aid determines what the budget can support. </p>

<p>I think Susan's daughter was named a Trustee Scholar at Penn, Chinaman. And though the designation is certainly an honor, it does not net out more money than what the need equation indicates. I think you will find that your son will get all kinds of merit within need awards from the schools that find your family eligible for financial aid. But unless your income and assets support it, finding a full ride is more limited among the top schools that give only need based aid.</p>

<p>Jamimom, you are right in that the award being discussed is still FIRST based on financial need not merit. The fact that they have some grants/scholarships for top students who are asking for need based financial aid is not far fetched. But it is not like merit aid at other colleges that is open to all students based on talent, not any financial need. </p>

<p>I just want to clarify that my daughter did NOT get a Trustee Scholarship at Penn. </p>

<p>Rather, she was selected as a Ben Franklin Scholar which had these various honors type privileges or opportunities, given to only 100 students and had NOTHING to do with financial aid. I still cannot believe she was even selected as here I was wondering how slim her chances were to even get into such schools with such difficult lottery type odds to begin with. </p>

<p>She did apply for financial aid and got some like at other schools, not that much but every little bit helps. We are not low income, yet can't afford college either. She got some need based aid at every school. We thought that none of her schools had merit awards and were surprised to find that two of them (Lehigh and Smith) did, which we discovered upon opening her acceptances and being selected for certain "scholar" status as well as merit scholarships on top of the need based aid. She ended up at Brown where she just got the little need based aid. </p>


<p>Sorry, Susan. Congrats on the Ben Franklin Scholar award for your daughter! I know a couple of other recipients and they are truly high power kids, so I know that she was much sought applicant for Penn. I just wanted to let Chinaman know that many of the financial aid awards are made up of scholarships. In the old days, I understand that some of these awards were given to students regardless of need, but on the basis of merit only, but then financial aid was not as widespread and schools like the ivies were made up of kids who did not need help financially. Scholarship students were few and far between then. Now that these schools are making a commitment that no student would get turned down if they show demonstrated need, many of these scholarships originally endowed for specific purposes are now given only to those in the need category. And that has brought some controversy as well. I know a family who is perturbed with this turn of events, as their ancestors founded some scholarships, not to fill financial need but to bring certain desirable traits to the college. By limiting to the financial aid pool, it dilutes the impact of such scholarships. They have all been mingled in the grant fund along with the Pell grant and state money and general school aid. So there is a mixed reception about how merit within aid works these days. </p>

<p>It is interesting to note as well, that some schools do not reduce the financial aid by the merit awards when a student is eligible for both. It appears this happened with your daughter and I have seen it with other kids as well. It does take some looking, but it is possible to find a fine school that will pay 100% of need + even today.</p>

<p>Virtually all of the schools -- including the Ivies -- have merit aid within the financial need component, though they will almost never admit to it. Basically what it turns up as is how much of the package is made up of loans, workstudy, and summer work expectations, and how much is grants. In other words, a student requiring say $18k in need, may receive $18k in grant, or, alternatively, as little as $8k in grants, $4.5k in loan, $2k in workstudy, and expectation of $3.5k in summer work expectation. This is why there can be huge differences in aid packages among so-called "need-blind" (doesn't exist), 100% of need schools based on the same EFC, based on how much a school actaually wants a particular applicant.</p>

<p>It is also why ED is virtually always a bad idea for a financial aid applicant, unless parents are simply willing to accept whatever the school happens to dish out. Why "waste" merit money (that doesn't exist, of course) to an applicant who has already pledged to attend anyway?</p>

<p>And it is always interesting to watch Ivies and top LACs refigure aid packages in April when they know there is competition for an accepted candidate. All of sudden these "need-blind" schools discover that the applicant's family has become poorer!</p>

<p>Thank you for this clarification. A student from my children's high school went to Harvard the year before last and the school made a big deal about his receiving a "merit award" at Harvard. Which, of course, confused me greatly as I thought Harvard didn't give out merit awards. This young man did come from a lower middle income family so now I understand that the award was probably still need-based but also a merit award.</p>

<p>Mini, I have not had any problems getting top schools telling me about their merit within aid awards. Some of them have them listed in their catalogues. Though it is an honor to get one of those merit within aid awards, it does not financially mean anything when it is from a school that gives out only grants , no loans to financial aid students. Those who qualify for the merit awards will get them, everyone else will get funds at large. In schools that still feature combo packages, it can make the difference between having a large grant or having a large loan, or work study. But this info is readily available if you want it, as are the merit awards offered by a college. When my kids applied, they directly asked to be considered for certain awards even though the colleges said all applicants are automatically considered. I think it made a difference as they did get a disproportionate amount of awards based on their stats. </p>

<p>There are big differences among the colleges on how financial/merit aid is dished out. There are schools where the endowment is such that they can truly be need blind. But considering the volume of apps they have to assess, and the need that then has to be assessed, it is understandable that they will review cases in April if other comparable schools have given out better offers. Although I do know of instances where the counter offers have been significantly higher, for the most part, the toop schools will not budge. Out of a dozen families last year that I know appealed their packages, only one got any significant increase in aid, and in that case an important situation was not taken into account. Even then, since the parent took time to go to the college and personally appeal, the net amount they got was not so great.</p>

<p>"Virtually all of the schools -- including the Ivies -- have merit aid within the financial need component, though they will almost never admit to it."</p>

<p>I think that is such a strange construct. Actually, the schools in question are giving aid to students who need it, and choosing "top" students within that subset. What is the problem? Should they simply choose the most destitute students, with no regard for the other aspects of a student's resume?</p>

<p>Mimi and jamimom thanks: You have explained better than I ever could. Do you think it is a good sign if a intervewer tell you that in his many years as an interviewer he can count few people like my kid? they end up chatting about my son's numerous scintific and political magazine articles and my kid involvement in theater. I hope this translates in $$$$$. My kids application is in, let us see what happens next.</p>

<p>I think it is a very good sign. Is your son applying to Wharton?</p>

<p>The schools that don't gap, or that meet 100% of need- meet 100% of need period.
These seem to be the schools that don't offer merit on it's own but as part of a need based package.
They can with their own financial aid forms/PROFILE fine tune the EFC so that it more accurately represents what a family can afford, but all schools even Princeton have finite pools of money.
It makes sense that of say two students that have $20K of need, that the student who the school decides can add the most to the community has the package weighted towards grants. Whether they call it an academic scholarship or simply a school grant the effect is the same.
The EFC as shown by FAFSA is usually well over what most families can afford easily, and making it more reasonable by adding more aid, especially to students that have shown to excel, adds to the school.</p>


<p>My son wanted to apply Wharton but UPenn ED just did not allow us. Thus, he end up applying to other SCEA schools. But he will be applying to wharton and if admitted with good fin aid will consider it.</p>

<p>It is funny I am more nervous than my kid. I think it is because of money.</p>

<p>Chinaman, your son sounds wonderful and very accomplished. Don't worry. I know all these schools are crapshoots for anyone, and I'm not an authority or anything. But the outcome will be good for your son. The key is to stay focused and for parents not to worry too much once the apps are in..</p>

<p>Chinaman, </p>

<p>Look for scholarships that are awarded outside of Penn. It takes more time and effort than simply receiving a package from the school. But, money is money!</p>

<p>Philadelphia gives about 50 HEFTY scholarships to kids in Philly who want to attend Penn. You have to be accepted by Penn first. Then, anyone who is a resident of the city of Philadelphia proper can apply for "The Mayor's Scholarship". From what I hear, it's pretty much a full ride and is designed to keep the talent in Philly. I know you're not in Philly. But, this is just one example of a way to get decent merit money from other sources.</p>


<p>What do you mean by "My son wanted to apply Wharton but UPenn ED just did not allow us"? </p>

<p>Are you saying that you can't apply ED to Wharton? You can, I believe, since I know a student who has done it this year.</p>

Harvard does not give merit awards.
It's possible that the student received merit aid from another source and used it to help fund their Harvard education. The counselor may have gotten confused about this.</p>

<p>For instance, lots of Harvard students get National merit Scholarships from National Merit or from corporations. They don't, however, get Harvard-sponsored National Merit scholarships since Harvard doesn't sponsor such scholarships.</p>

<p>Harvard students also can get need-based financial aid that is designated for certain groups of students who need aid. For instance, I think there's some need-based aid earmarked for students with certain last names or who come from certain Massachusettes cities.</p>

<p>I noticed that also, momsdream. Chinaman, do double check about applying to Wharton Early Decision. I think your son could do so.</p>

<p>Northstarmom, That was my understanding also - no merit at Harvard. However, during the school's award ceremony where "merit scholarships" are announced, this particular student was announced as having received a "merit scholarship" from Harvard. He did win other scholarships and awards (he is a fantastic kid!) but they specifically mentioned an award from Harvard. I think you're right - it might have just been financial aid and the counselor was confused (although our school is pretty familiar with Harvard and sends kids there every year) </p>

<p>So I don't know WHAT the story really was (are there any special awards just for URM's at Harvard - maybe that's what this particular student received?)</p>

<p>I understood Chinaman to mean that he did not want to tie himself and his S with an ED because of financial considerations. He did not mean to suggest that there was no ED for Wharton. Because he needs to be able to compare financial packages, he's decided to apply elsewhere EA and will apply to Wharton Rd. That is how I read Chinaman's post. It makes sense to me.</p>

<p>I didn't understand either, but Marite's comment makes sense. I was also confused about Chinaman's son, so talented in writing and sports, considering Wharton.</p>

<p>Harvard Book award?</p>