The possibility of losing merit aid

We are weighing acceptances for the class of 2026 with our daughter. What are your experiences re: maintaining merit aid? Some colleges she’s been accepted to such as Allegheny College and The College of Wooster don’t have a GPA requirements to keep merit aid. Other schools such as Miami University (Ohio) require a 3.0. My daughter is a good student and appears ready for the responsibility of college. In theory, she should have no problem maintaining at 3.0. But in real life, crazy stuff happens all the time. Thoughts?

1 Like

Consider whether the school is affordable if the scholarship is lost. Also consider the details – is it cumulative GPA or GPA every semester, and is there a probationary period to bring GPA up before losing it? Frosh year is typically the highest risk, due to making the adjustment from high school to college.

If the student got a top scholarship at the college, the student is likely (though not certain) to be able to make a 3.0 GPA. But higher scholarship renewal GPA like 3.5 tend to be riskier, and may incentivize “GPA management” (e.g. avoiding harder courses or taking them passed / not-passed) like for pre-med and pre-law students.

6 Likes

Very important important to know it is by semester or cumulative. As a point of reference, the average GPA at the University of Wisconsin for fall semester freshman was 3.211

You can see the full list by major/class here: https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fuwmadison.box.com%2Fs%2Fo7tnk99h851n0di8e57cco7p48hnfnc8

Yes, it’s a possibility. I’ve had kids at 4 colleges, I’ve seen many parents upset about their kids losing merit, the most appears to be from either early lab science weed outs or illness/injury with unsympathetic professors. Two of my kids are in college now with merit scholarships, my others went in state without merit, two of them I wouldn’t allow to go private or OOS with merit because I’d be nervous about a bad semester.

1 Like

God is in the details.

Find out if the college allows grade replacement, and if a kid fails a class but then retakes and gets a B-- does the F disappear?

Find out when the add/drop dates are and make sure your kid knows it’s her responsibility to stay on top of things.

Find out how long the “shopping period” is, and how hard it is to switch from one section of a course to another. If your D is a night owl, that Friday 8 am review session isn’t going to be getting her full attention!

Make sure your D understands that it’s not HS- professors aren’t handing out extra credit. Nobody is getting a “mercy B” because they work hard even if their performance warrants a C.

And as everyone has posted- find out what the grace period is!!!

1 Like

Both of my daughters attended universities where they needed to maintain a specific GPA to keep their merit scholarship.

One needed to maintain a 3.0, and the university would not have been affordable without the scholarship. She went through a difficult break up (these things happen) which made me nervous. However, she was able to pull through that one bad period and keep her GPA well over the cutoff. We never figured out what we would have done if she had not maintained the scholarship. We might just be lucky that the problem did not come up.

My other daughter attended a university where she needed to maintain a 3.5, but the university would have been affordable even without the scholarship. She did keep her GPA well above the required level.

Neither daughter avoided the tough classes, but I can see how this might occur for some students.

I do not know whether we should have been more worried or less worried about this issue.

You might find out if there is a ‘probationary’ semester too. I know a lot of kids who have lost their Bright Futures. It’s not always for gpa but sometimes for dropping below 12 credits, taking the wrong classes (which might have caused them to drop below 12 credits). They give you one semester to fix it, but if it happens again the scholarship is gone and not reinstated

One daughter had to get a 3.0 to keep her scholarship. One semester she got a 2.99999 or something and she appealed and had it reinstated before I even knew. She took a select set of classes that next semester and it never fell that low again.

Other daughter had a lot of different scholarships with different gpa requirements (2.8, 3.0 are the two I remember). She never came close to those.

Thank you all for your insights. This is helpful information.

Know your student and know the college and it’s policies. My DD attended college on a 3.5 required GPA merit scholarship. I asked lots of questions before allowing her to commit. It was never an issue and she did not look to protect her GPA, even taking an overload every semester. A couple of kids in her cohort were on probation for a semester but no one lost their scholarship. Everyone graduated with honors. A 3.0 is very doable if you have a student who will not get distracted.

the two colleges that my kids attended with a required gpa for scholarships both had a grace semester or year if the gpa fell below their minimum.

the academic probation probation period would let them stay, not take away the scholarship immediately, and give the kids a semester (or year) to bring it up . I’d look to see if that is an option.

I know several kids who have lost scholarships, and except for one student, they all lost them due to failure to take college seriously enough. One kid lost his at the end of sophomore year and didn’t want to transfer to a cheaper college in state, so his parents took out private loans, which they are making him pay back.

If there is a doubt that your child can maintain the grades, encourage the expensive option, or the scholarship with fewer hard contingencies. We all know our kids’ strengths and weaknesses. My daughter was offered scholarships that I am certain she would have kept through college. I would have not been surprised though if my son had lost them should he have matriculated at one college in particular.

1 Like