University of Rochester is very expensive

Beware of applying to the University of Rochester. They will not give you a penny more aid than determined by FAFSA, and probably less. Merit scholarships will not reduce your cost, and if you are self-employed they will likely increase the estimate of what you can afford. They will not accomodate you if your income decreases. I was told that was “the risk you chose to take” by not having salaried employment. So if the massive economic shock of Covid isn’t enough to move U Rochester, what is? My child received a very special merit scholarship, and still they treated us like dirt.

They didn’t meet our EFC, not even close, and reduced FA to almost nothing second year (reduction of $20k). D transferred out (as did 4 of her friends - possibly other students she didn’t know). Seems they have a rep for this. Student paper did a story on it and they were also cited by US News or some other publication that wrote a story on the top 10 FA bait and switch schools. To be fair, our income did increase (one time bonus), but not in an apples to apples way. She reapplied last fall since we have a son going to college and thought they would give her more. So many issues with communication. Couldn’t get an official acceptance and thus couldn’t get FA read. Finally got acceptance but FA said we don’t send until July (even though she had to accept by June 1) Begged FA to give a preread; it was almost double her EFC. We are straight W2s, nothing difficult about our income.

Also, they ARE very expensive. Our FA statement from two years ago showed COA estimates for all four years (I guess this is a requirement?) and by the time D was a senior it would’ve been over $80k. Big jumps each year.

D decided not to transfer. She was just pretty disgusted at it all.

With 30% internationals, it’ll be very interesting to see how they fair in the future.

U of R is very expensive and being self-employed definitely is not a help in the FASFA game.

There are many schools - it’s cold in Rochester anyway with a lot of snow! Good luck.

I have tried really hard to bite my tongue (or fingers…) when it comes to UR. D’s now-ex tried to convince her to apply since that is where he goes. I spent a year reading the school paper and following a FB page and honestly, I’m not Impressed by this school at all. The administration doesn’t seem responsive to students and the recent lawsuit/settlement just makes me shake my head. There are definitely much better choices out there!

We had a similar response… Merit reduces FA, so ended up being the absolutely most expensive COA when compared to all other acceptances… Was a no-brainer to pass.

I’m a little confused… did you commit to UR before seeing your FA package?

As long as we’re being anecdotal, I paid ~$20k/year to attend (living on campus), and my family had a perfectly middle-class income with another sibling going to community college/state school at the time (I’m a few years removed). That put me pretty close to on-par with what I would’ve paid at a SUNY, and many of my peers had a similar experience. In fact, I’ve always heard that UR is quite generous with their FA packages.

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We committed and then took a gap year. In the following year, the financial aid was not what we were expecting. Your parents had two kids in college at the same time, which significantly lowers the cost. For us, it would be ~$55k in year one and ~$60k or more in future years.

Also, once you get a bad FA package, there is no talking to them. They will give you nothing more, not even sympathy.

I feel for all of you who have had bad results, but figured I should chime in with our better results so anyone looking can have a whole picture to consider.

UR turned out to be the least expensive of my guy’s choices (beating Pitt and U Alabama by a grand or two - all were <10K when all was said and done). Technically, he could have had some free options, but we believe there’s a difference in caliber of those schools, so didn’t consider them.

We’re also self-employed (since '99) and one year had a very significant change in income due to a one time deal. We were then expected to be full pay (minus his merit aid). We couldn’t do that for him (or his brother who would be a freshman at another school). We contacted the school and were very nicely treated and told how to appeal. The appeal was approved. Had it not been my guy would have had to take a gap year. He was prepared to do this.

Why do they do it for some students and not others? I’ve no idea. My guy did end up making the U “proud” graduating Summa Cum Laude and being featured in a couple of things, but I don’t know how they figure that out ahead of time. We’re from a nearby state, so it isn’t “50 States” bragging rights.

My suggestion to students is to apply there - and elsewhere - and see what happens. Then pick what is best for the individual. One would think my lad was special “everywhere,” but not so. One school wanted us to pay 30+K more per year than all of his other choices - and they weren’t a fancy school TBH. You just never know when someone likes/dislikes you. Find schools you like, see what they offer, then pick one.

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@URC2020 For what it’s worth, I didn’t take my first FA package. I appealed with a letter, saying that I could not take on the additional financial burden when compared to the state schools I was considering. They came back with ~$5k more per year to match the cost. I know that’s not in the same neighborhood of what you’re looking for, but there is (or at least was) an appeal process that yielded better FA. Many others that I know also received generous aid without having siblings in college. Without having details on your income, I can’t say why they are not meeting your needs.

At any rate, no undergraduate degree is worth paying $200k+ out of pocket IMO. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a favorable FA package from UR but was prepared to go to cheaper options because it just made sense. Like @Creekland said, find schools you like, see what they offer, then pick one.

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