Merit Scholarship, University of Rochester

Does anyone have experience with receiving a merit scholarship, but then only being awarded financial aid up to the expected family contribution? In other words, the merit scholarship did us no good, since we would have received the same aid without the merit scholarship. It is like a bait and switch. The merit scholarship is essentiall useless.

Merit and need based aid doesn’t stack in the majority of cases at the majority of schools. It isn’t bait and switch, it is more that you cannot double dip. It would be clearly written on the website somewhere. Something you will have read when applying for aid (merit and need) will have this information. Are you the student or the adult? Why is this an issue now, in July? Did you only now get your FA award?

@URC2020 At URochester merit reduces need. The amount of any merit award will be subtracted from any need based award you receive.

It’s not bait & switch. UR clearly tells students this on their FA FAQs. Also because UR uses the CSS Profile and their own institutional calculations, your family FAFSA EFC and the school’s EFC are likely to be quite different. (With the school EFC being higher than FAFSA’s.)

Merit aid is guaranteed for 4 years (12 semesters) if you maintain the required GPA. You don’t need to apply every year and submit a new Profile. You know exactly how much you’ll be getting.

Need-based aid is recalculated every year and the family EFC goes up every year because the student’s expected contribution goes up every year. (UR assumes that a senior will be able to contribute substantially more toward the COA than a freshman can. IIRC, D was expected to contribute $8000/year toward her COA her senior year at UR.)

1 Like

Okay, but in our case the merit scholarship is approximately equal to the need. Thus, we pay the same as we would without the merit scholarship. The scholarship is essentially worthless. Also, the school is utterly unaffordable because who can afford to pay 40% of their net income for college? Or the other alternative is graduate with nearly $100,000 in debt.

So about the NPC? How did that look? Again, are you the student or the parent, and why is this a problem now? Have you had some kind of late admit?
Did you not read the information about merit vs need?

Hopefully you applied to other options, UR was probably only on your list becuase you assumed need and merit stacked, so what about your other applications? Where are you admitted? What are your stats?
It is a shame you were not using CC as a source, there is plenty of UR chatter.

Hi, I think I’m in a similar situation. In my FAonline the net cost (Cost of Attendance Minus Total Grants and Scholarships) figures as “X”. However, I also received a 2020-2021 academic year award of “Y” . Does this mean that my final cost of attendance would be “X - Y”?. I contacted them but haven’t received a reply yet.

Quick update: You all were correct. Rochester will not “stack” our merit scholarship on top of our need. The net result is that we are being asked to pay 35% of our net income, which is obviously impossible. While we can pay upwards of $30K a year, our child would still graduate with $80,000 to $100,000 in unsubsidized loans. As I told the financial aid representative: your school is good but not that good. She didn’t sound surprised.

Since you’re self-employed they may have added back in expenses that you took out to get to your net. The NPCs aren’t really accurate for business owners. Do you have any affordable options?

As to being a business owner: when I advised UR that my business declined due to Covid, they responded, “that’s the risk you run when you have your own business.” It other words, they told me to get lost. Uh, ok, thanks.

@URC2020 As I said in your other thread, I do not understand why you are blaming UR for being out of your affordability. I understand the frustration in that we do not live in a world where you can pick whichever school you prefer, independent of cost - but let’s not act like there aren’t thousands of other colleges in the US, most of which will present better affordability. If you chose to send your child to a college that you could not afford, or pushed them to take on more debt than they needed too, then that’s shame on you, not the school.

I’m sorry that came off as brash, but as someone who’s nearing 30, I’ve watched so many people my age complain about their unpayable debt that they either willingly took on or were pushed toward by their parents because they HAD to go to a specific school. While it’s a fact college has never been more expensive than it is today, there are still plenty of affordable options. Until people begin to change their decision making (by either going with cheaper options or not going to college altogether), the cost of education will continue to increase.

To a large degree, you can’t expect 17-18 year old kids to fully understand a financial decision like paying for college (although I think it should be taught in high school), so the responsibility falls on the parents. As someone who took on a “reasonable” amount of debt for an engineering degree ($80k, no financial help from parents), and is near paying it off, I can’t imagine being in a non-STEM field and with significantly more debt (like so many people I know are). It’s a big reason why people in my generation do things like get married, buy homes, have kids, etc. much later. If I had to do it all over, I wouldn’t change a thing, but that’s because my parents sat down with me and helped me make the best decision for me based on school, location, cost, etc.

1 Like