Quirky Question about Aid

<p>Hi everyone. I know nothing about how the financial aid systems work, but I do understand that somehow income is related to what, if any, aid you receive. I know for a fact that my parents can afford to pay all of college for me, but my dad refuses to. I'm only a junior though, so I've got time to worry. He says that depending on where I get in, he will give me a different percentage of the cost. He hasn't gone into detail but essentially if I get into the best college in the world, he'll pay for all of it. If I get into a mediocre one, he'll pay less. I'm just worried that because of his financials, I wont get any/enough aid and that plus him refusing to pay for all of college would leave me with loans of some sort. He's mentioned this as a likely possibility if I dont "focus on getting good grades".</p>

<p>Focus on getting great grades and find some schools that will give you excellent merit aid...there are a few schools with guaranteed aid for high achieving high school students. </p>

<p>Your dad wants you do to well in school...which should be your goal anyway. At some point, your family will need to discuss how college is going to be funded for you so that you will have some "direction" in terms of how you choose the schools to which you will apply.</p>

<p>Can you talk to your mom about this?</p>

<p>Thanks so much! I'm looking at top 30 schools, if that makes any difference. What schools give 'merit aid'? How does it work? I'm definitely not the top kid at my school, but I'm among the most well-rounded.
My goal is and will always be getting the best grades. What should I be talking about with my mom? My dad is the dictator when it comes to anything involving money (not that he's harsh, just has lots of control) so my mom doesn't have much of a say.</p>

<p>If you have the stats for Top 30 schools, then you have the stats for merit scholarships at other schools.</p>

<p>keep your grades up and practice for the SAT and ACT (take both!!)</p>

<p>Top 30 schools generally do not give merit aid. They tend to reserve their aid for students with financial need.</p>

<p>Better go look at finaid.org. It's an excellent primer.</p>

<p>*Top 30 schools generally do not give merit aid. They tend to reserve their aid for students with financial need. *</p>

<p>Right...that's why I wrote: If you have the stats for Top 30 schools, then you have the stats for merit scholarships at **other **schools.</p>

<p>:)</p>

<p>Hey, Erin's Dad is a speed reader. :)</p>

<p>Hmm so basically its Top 30 or merit aid at a "lesser" school (being completely subjective, using dumb rankings to rank a school but it's the easiest way for now).
I've been studying for the SAT, consistently in the 2000s, but have time to work up higher. Other kids barely prepped and got 2300s at my school. Why the ACT too? I need extra time in school but CB denied me so I thought a time-pressure-focused test like the ACT would be bad for me?
Anyone know of any schools that would offer merit aid? Or is it just a general practice by non top-# schools?</p>

<p>In a word, yes, although the real answer is obviously a lot more convoluted than that. Your dad is being extremely unfair and if I were you I would challenge him on this system that he's apparently worked out ostensibly to get you to do your best but that will in the end probably just have the effect of creating a really bad situation. Loans are not the worst thing in the world if they're government-sponsored, but it sounds like your family won't qualify for any governmental aid. This means that you would have to take out private loans, from companies that can drive the interest rate up to whatever they want. I would point this out to your father by saying that you understand where he's coming from in that he wants you to do well, but that admissions to highly selective colleges are a dice roll and it's possible even as a very academically qualified student not to be admitted to a single one of your top choices. I think a reasonable request would be to ask him to match any merit scholarships you receive, regardless of the colleges to which you are admitted. </p>

<p>All that being said, you're only a junior, which means that you have a LOT of time to apply for scholarships. Don't do what I did and wait until the last minute because I was always too busy doing other things or didn't want to inconvenience my teachers by asking them to write extra recommendations. I'm assuming the PSAT has passed at this point, and with a 2000+ score you wouldn't likely qualify for NMS anyway. However, there are plenty of other big merit scholarships besides National Merit. The Coca-Cola scholarship is one, I think it's around 50,000 and obviously very competitive, but there are smaller ones, too. Sign up for Zilch and Fastweb and apply, apply, apply. Don't let it distract from your schoolwork, of course, but make it a priority. If your dad sees that you are serious about college and are taking independent initiative by applying for scholarships, then he might be more likely to weaken his Draconian stance.</p>

<p>*Other kids barely prepped and got 2300s at my school. *</p>

<p>If that were really true, then this country would be seeing a whole bunch more 2300s. Don't always believe what other kids are telling you. </p>

<p>*
Why the ACT too?*</p>

<p>Because some do better on THAT test...and for merit, you need the best scores possible.</p>

<p>* I need extra time in school but CB denied me so I thought a time-pressure-focused test like the ACT would be bad for me?*</p>

<p>???? "Time pressure focused test like the ACT"???? What the heck do you think the SAT is? It is a "time pressure focused test" as well!</p>

<p>*Anyone know of any schools that would offer merit aid? Or is it just a general practice by non top-# schools? *</p>

<p>No, it's not a general practice by non-Top 30 schools. Many of the schools that are ranked beyond the Top 30 give little or no merit scholarships, because they choose to focus more on need-based aid or they don't have much to give. You have to look at various websites or look thru the link below. </p>

<p>Some schools have ASSURED merit scholarships...which means that if you have the req'd stats, then you get the scholarship.<br>
ASSURED SCHOLARSHIPS.....$$$ CC Important links to Merit Scholarships given for stats...
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/848226-important-links-automatic-guaranteed-merit-scholarships.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/848226-important-links-automatic-guaranteed-merit-scholarships.html&lt;/a> </p>

<p>Some schools have competitive merit..which means that they take a pool of applicants with high stats and then decide to give some a merit scholarship (which means that these schools may take other factors into account because they want to improve their school's ethnic diversity or regional diversity (getting more kids from particular states)..</p>

<p>In addition to those colleges that offer assured merit aid, many offer competitive scholarships to students whom they really want. Leaving aside the very most selective schools, which generally offer very little merit aid, any school where your ACT or SAT is above the 75th percentile and where your grades (GPA and/or class rank) place you in the upper quarter of their admitted students should be considered a potential merit aid school. I would develop a list of these schools that appeal to you, apply to them, and apply for merit aid at all of them; then see what they offer and make your selection.</p>

<p>And also, of course, have at least one safety: a school where you are sure you can get in, that offer your potential major, that you would be happy attending, and that you could afford given the most pessimistic financial assumptions.</p>

<p>Get off the notion that the "top 30" schols are the only ones to aim for. This is, remember, about a back-up plan. If you dig into the various USNWR rankings, you'll see that some schools that may not hit the "national" top 30 are nonetheless in the top for the regional rankings. Or, in the top for your proposed major. Or other considerations.</p>

<p>If you need extra testing time, you may also be the sort that picks his focus- don't fall into that. Now is the time to be researching, working on grades and scores- and how you shine through ECs. And, the support you can get in your LoRs. Get an idea of essay requirements, too. A year of dedication and smarts can pay off. Yes, sometimes that means making careful decisions about time management.</p>

<p>We don't know if Dad is a dictator or if he's at the end of his rope in trying to get you to pay attention to your present and future. Good luck- but, there is no one, easy path. Read finaid.org. And, don't fall into any pay-for-advice schemes.</p>

<p>OP, many parents are unaware of just how much college costs. Your father says that he'll pay for the full cost of "the best college in the world". Does he realize that this means $55k+ a year? Can your family afford this? It would be a very good idea for you and your parents to calculate the Expected Family Contribution using a FAFSA forecaster, and compare that to the amount of money that your family can actually afford to pay. A quick rule of thumb is that EFC generally runs around 25-33% of your family's income. </p>

<p>Knowing your GPA, test scores and how your family's budget compares to the EFC are all important to figure out where you should apply.</p>

<p>"I need extra time in school but CB denied me so I thought a time-pressure-focused test like the ACT would be bad for me?"</p>

<p>If you were denied accommodations for testing by the College Board, you still may be approved for them by the ACT. Each of these organizations set their own policies about this issue. Talk with your guidance counselor about starting the process. There are a number of threads on this topic in Parents</a> Forum - College Confidential and Learning</a> Differences and Challenges - LD, ADHD - College Confidential Scroll down through both of those forums until you find them.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>
[quote]
Hey, Erin's Dad is a speed reader.

[/quote]

Actually, Erin's Dad was trying to make things perfectly clear for the OP that while Mom2CK wrote "If you have the stats for Top 30 schools, then you have the stats for merit scholarships at other schools." it was because Top 30 schools generally do NOT have merit aid. IMO some students don't get the point until it is made perfectly clear. The OP could have stated "I have the stats for Top 30 schools and that's why I want merit aid there - not other schools".</p>