When merit aid goes away...

<p>Anybody out there know what generally happens when a student fails to achieve the GPA needed to keep his or her merit scholarship. More specifically, if a the merit scholoarship was counted as part of a "need based" package will the college backfill the loss of merit, all or in part, with need based aid? I called a couple of schools and they were vague about it... I mean they are under no obligation to meet any of your need so as a parent you might have to come up with thousands more $$$$ to keep your S or D in that particular college.</p>

<p>Some colleges have appeals processes.</p>

<p>I think the policies vary. The GPAs required certainly vary--and that is a good thing to consider. At daughter's school, I think they give you a semester to improve; I hope I do not find out.</p>

<p>Some schools yank the scholarship immediately. I know a student who lost a full engineering scholarship after going below a 3.0 freshman year. The college did not guarantee to meet 100% of students' financial need, and after losing the scholarship, the student transferred because he could no longer afford to go to that college. </p>

<p>Other schools will put students on probation for a semester to see if they can raise their gpa.</p>

<p>My guess is that the policies vary depending on the student, their gpa, and how much the college wants to keep the student.</p>

<p>I think in lot of cases there is a bait and switch here. Say a kid (a "B" student) has an EFC of 15K... he gets a 12K merit scholarship with a 3.0 GPA needed... the rest in Stafford loans. Despite his best efforts the kid loses his scholarship The school uses the tendency of parents not to pull the student because he has settle in. In reality the kid should have been given a grant... but a greater percentage of kids will fall through the cracks with this 3.0 GPA needed.. and so the school will recapture those funds and use them as carrot for the next incoming class ... who also believe they can get the 3.0 to keep the scholarship. But again many will fail and the cycle starts again. Most colleges are lowering these GPA's to 2.5 to 2.5 or "good academic standing." A good thing.</p>

<p>I don't agree with post #5. You say that despite the student's best efforts, he loses the scholarship (and cite 3.0 GPA). Sorry but a scholarship for merit is given for, well, merit. If you stop performing on a merit level, why should you get to keep the scholarship? I don't think a student with a GPA below 3.0 really is working to their "best effort." If grades didn't matter for a merit scholarship, then everyone would get a merit scholarship.</p>

<p>You would need to check with the school and for the details of the specific scholarship. The policies will vary from school to school and from scholarship to scholarship within the school. Some scholarships may give a semester's grace before it is lost, some may not. The scholarships my daughter has gave very detailed rules about what is required to keep them. We did know a couple of very bright students that lost the same scholarship she has in their freshman year.</p>

<p>Schools policies differ quite widely. At USC, which is the U we investigated the most, they ahve a 3.0 GPA and give up to a 1 year probation to help students over rough spots. The one kid I know who lost his scholarship has gone back to HI & is selling cars. He hopes to return to USC but his folks will not pay full freight for him. Most of the kids whom I personally know kept their awards all 4 years & graduated in 4 years (or some went on for a masters & took 5).</p>

<p>The other schools who awarded S merit awards had different policies. Neither had ANY grace period. One even said if S missed 2 weeks of school in a quarter, they'd have him withdraw from school & lose his dorm, all merit awards, everything, even if it was a documented chronic medical condition they knew about when granting him the award! I believe they had a 3.2 or 3.25 GPA requirement, but am hazy about it now, since it was 4 years back.</p>

<p>The other U also did not offer any grace period, but I think they lowered their minimum GPA to keep the scholarship from 3.5 to 3.25. MANY, MANY students lost their merit award at that U--it was a very large public.</p>

<p>Bottom line, you need to ask each school for their policy, grace period, what % of students retain their FULL merit award for all 4 years, what happens to need-based aid when merit aid is lost, etc. You are in the best position to find out all of these things NOW so you can make an informed choice before May 1. Good luck--the schools DO have that info & should share it with you. If they don't, that's telling you something about the school as well.</p>

<p>One friend of mine was panicked when her daughter's GPA slipped below the 3.5!! required for her merit scholarship. She called the school almost in tears, and found out that they would "prorate" the scholarship, bringing it down a small bit because her grades had slipped a little and then reinstating it to the full amount when her grades went back up. </p>

<p>What a relief.</p>

<p>I doubt this is typical thought-every school is so different. She realized then that she had not researched their policy when they chose that school-she was just very lucky that their policy was lenient.</p>

<p>Yes, she was very lucky. Many schools are pretty strict. I thought USC was also very generous to have a 1 year probation for students to keep their scholarships while raising back their grades. (Am glad it has never been an issue & S is graduating in a month!)</p>

<p>I agree that policies vary by school. If the school does not meet 100% demonstrated need with large amounts of grant aid, there may simply not be enough $ to replace the lost scholarship with need based financial aid.
Some schools give the student a grace period before taking the scholarship while others take the scholarship immediately. I think you should find out if the scholarship can be reinstated at a later date.</p>

<p>Before doing anything, you must read the "fine print" associated with merit money and not be afraid to ask follow up questions concerning your scholarships/merit $</p>

<p>Is it automatically renewable for the next 4 years</p>

<p>Is it renewable for the same amount of money?</p>

<p>Is scholarship adjusted to take into consideration tuition increases (about 5% per year)</p>

<p>Is there a gpa requirement needed to keep getting the money?</p>

<p>When does the gpa requirement start (by the end of fall term or the end of spring term)?</p>

<p>Is there a phase in to the gpa requirement?</p>

<p>What happens if you do not meet gpa requirement, does money leave immediately or is there a grace period?</p>

<p>If you lose scholarship and bring your grades back up is money reinstated?</p>

<p>Ask the financial aid office what percent of students lose their merit money in the first year.</p>

<p>And the most important question.. worse case scenario if you were to lose the scholarship would you still be able to swing the cost of attending? </p>

<p>
[quote]
I don't think a student with a GPA below 3.0 really is working to their "best effort."

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I respectfully disagree because one may not know the back story that led to the student not meeting the gpa requirement. </p>

<p>Kid could be an engineering student or pre-med student who loaded up on a bunch of rigerous courses because they don't know how to pick a balanced schedule and will load up on a bunch of classes with labs or reading/writing intesive classes.
For many freshmen straight out of high school, this is not an unusual occurence. Some kids get bad advising (even at good schools), while others may not follow the advice given.</p>

<p>Some kids don't come to school with the study note taking skills need for college and they do things the way they used to do them in high school.</p>

<p>Some kids don't understand that the grading policy is vastly different in high school than it is in college. Many colleges grading is simply given based on midterm & final or midterm, final and a paper. Some professors don't care about attendance, class participation, homework, giving make-up work, test corrections, etc- all of these things which get factored into high school grading.</p>

<p>Some kids over estimate their abilities because they were top dog at their high school and may find themselves having a hard time adjusting at college because there are a lot of other top dogs. Kid could have taken a higher level course as a freshmen based on SAT/AP scores and find him/herself over their head.</p>

<p>So before we make a sweeping generalization that the kid did not put in their best work (which could absolutely be true) maybe we should wait to see if more details are coming.</p>

<p>You can read about the things that incoming freshman don't know or have big problems in the College Life section. Sometimes parents post here with disappointing news on their kids losing their scholarships or the possibility of them losing them looking for advice here.</p>

<p>From the school's perspective, they are giving the student a big chunk of money. They expect the student to do a good job as doing a poor job is like a slap in the face of the school and there are always other students that could be given a chance. If the problem is ability or other errors where the student made a strong error, then perhaps the school, major, fit, etc. were a problem.</p>

<p>Do schools do a bait and switch? Well, I'm sure that they could. It would be a very simple thing to calculate the yield of doing something like this. Still, they are giving away a good chunk of money and there's no guarantee that the student would return without the continuing scholarship so it would be a calculated gamble. I think that we, as parents, need to focus on our kids though. The way the school markets its products is unlikely to have an effect on our students' performance.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Do schools do a bait and switch? Well, I'm sure that they could. It would be a very simple thing to calculate the yield of doing something like this. Still, they are giving away a good chunk of money and there's no guarantee that the student would return without the continuing scholarship so it would be a calculated gamble.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I have a friend whose D lost her scholarship. The school allowed her a one semester grace period during the sophomore year to pull up her GPA. I believe that this is designed so that this student would count as a returning student "in the retention rates". By spring of sophomore year it was gone and the parents do not qualify for FA, as they are upper middle class. One parent wanted to yank her out of this school, but the other parent wanted her to stay. She did stay and did graduate in another major (she was in a science major). She is now redoing part of her undergrad education at local 4 year college to get ready to apply to a graduate program in the medical field. This is costing a small fortune, as her family "elected" to pay another 12,000 for prerequisite classes. Needless to say, the parents could have said, "no", but they are continuing to support their daughter's dreams, and they are all fortunate that they have extended famiy helping to pay these bills.</p>

<p>I happen to agree with post #5.</p>

<p>I researched schools regarding the GPA required to keep merit aid, so that I'd have some peace of mind. Some schools offer merit aid in tiers. In other words, the more you get, the higher the GPA required to keep it. Some schools don't take it all away. For example, if you are awarded 20,000 and it requires a 3.3 to keep it, but at the end of the day your GPA is a 3.1, they might drop you to 15,000 and change the GPA to keep it to a 3.0.
There are many schools, although they may not be on your child's current list, that state that to keep the merit award one needs to be in good academic standing or have a 2.0.</p>

<p>I know with Bright Futures in Florida GPA is not looked at until after Spring semester, so if a student is below the required GPA, lets say 3.0 after fall semester, they can bring it up after spring semester without anyone raising an eyebrow. Bright Futures used to also allow appeals to be made so students who lost their scholarship could get it back after getting their grades back in shape or if a student had proof that a medical condition kept their grades from being acceptable they could get their scholarship back and serve a probationary period.</p>

<p>Basically, every school will have specific requirements as to what is needed to maintain a scholarship. I know my daughter's scholarship to Auburn states that if her GPA falls below a 3.0, including a 2.99, after any semester, it is gone. I have made it clear that if it is gone she and I know where the local recruiter's office is. :)</p>

<p>Qoute [So before we make a sweeping generalization that the kid did not put in their best work (which could absolutely be true) maybe we should wait to see if more details are coming.] </p>

<p>I could not agree more! A kid could be doing his utmost and still not make the 3.0 GPA needed. And yes a merit scholarship is given for merit but remember ....not purely for merit if it serves to reduce the students financial need.. which most do. If you happen to be fortunate enough not to have financial need.. well then yes, in that instance a merit scholarship is all about merit.</p>

<hr>

<p>I was concerned about the Bait & Switch for DDs choice school which offered a generous scholarship that requires a 3.2 gpa. She only has a 3.1 in HS so what where they thinking? Yesterday I was pleased to find out that they offered this highest level of merit because of her other application factors, however this level of merit carries a higher gpa requirement. I was considering asking for a lesser merit award that requires a lower gpa. I didn't need to go there because they only evaluate gpa at the end of each year, if they fall below at that time the merit is reduced by 20% and they can appeal to get it back if after the next semester (or whenever) the gpa is high enough. If at the end of the next year it is still not back up, another 5% is lost and that is as low as it will go. Never less than 75% of the original award. This is fantastic and will take away a lot of stress.</p>

<p>So the bottom line is to check with each school and don't assume it will be bad new.</p>

<p>Nightingale, I understand that the merit aid is tied in with need based aid. In fact, my D2 got a $20,000/year scholarship for all four years that I was told was merit but that the amount was based on need (we qualified for need based aid). So, I understand that merit is being used for your "need." But the merit aspect was awarded for merit. I think a 3.0 requirement is not that high. I never even thought about the GPA aspect with my kid. She didn't try to make the cut off, but simply strives to get high grades and far exceeded the cut off. I understand for some kids there are extenuating circumstances and don't know the situation for you, but generally speaking, if the award was given with merit in mind, even if mixed in with financial need, then I don't expect a merit award to be automatic unless the student performs beyond a minimal standard because otherwise, every kid would deserve a merit award. </p>

<p>As far as circumstances where the student did not meet the GPA cut off of 3.0, I'd have to hear the situation and I was speaking generally.</p>

<p>I'm not so sure that merit is always tied to need. More of the merit scholarships that S1 and S2 were given prior to the final financial aid submittals with the exception of othe regular decision where everything came all at once. But that's is not the point. The point is in our limited experience and in asking, every college seems to handle the auto renewal of the scholarship differently. S1 had a small one that required a 3.2 At the end of freshman year -- he had a 3.1 and it went bye-bye.</p>

<p>I made a new user name to start a thread on this topic, but I'll post here.</p>

<p>I don't want to give too many personal details, (and may change some) but kid is freshman, biology/pre-med, at a competitive school. Through bad luck(getting the "hard" prof instead of the easy one for calc) ignorance (lack of strategy about when to drop a class), wrong assumptions (thinking a course could be retaken elsewhere in summer and replace a bad grade, thinking last summer's accelerated chemistry program would be do-able), and school's quirky grading system (GPA's not calculated in the usual way) the kid had a 2.85 first semester and a lower overall GPA with the bad summer grades (kid is retaking one class now). Grades look good this semester, but kid may not be able to get 3.0 overall to keep scholarship. Kid has been working very hard all year. Some college adjustment is going on ( heavy work-load for 5-6 classes). Kid is social and did participate in some fun campus activities. No major issues (doesn't drink, not homesick/depressed, no g/f b/f drama, had flu first sem--like everyone else, sprained ankle in sport 2nd sem--minor problems).</p>

<p>I wonder if this is part of pre-med weedout? Kid is not doing poorly all around. This is a couple Ds (one from summer chem will be replaced) and one C, rest A's and B's. Unfortunately the two B's were 89 point somethings, and the one C was a 79 point something (Bad luck! I suggested checking on those grades to see if they were accurate one point could make a difference, but kid said "Mom, this is college. A grade is a grade.They're not gonna change it.") Kid said many pre-meds are changing majors, but kid LOVES biology, demonstrated strong interest in medical field since high school and still wants to do it. The realization that "I just can't cut it. I'm just not good enough" is unbearable--can't picture doing something else. I think if kid had chosen another (easier) college, grades would be better. I told kid it is OK to drop-pre-med (parents never pushed it). . .kid is adamant about sticking with it. I think kid could bring up GPA, and tests well, so strong MCAT scores are possible. I have my doubts about it, but I wouldn't say it can't be done. Yet.</p>

<p>Last year we let kid pick this college ONLY due to big merit scholarship. Kid was told then: You lose scholarship=You transfer to cheaper school. Kid agreed--and never dreamed--WE never dreamed-- for one second that this kid could not make a 3.0! (near straight A student, AP-5s, if there were only a couple A's in a high school honors class, kid had one of them, SAT 2100-2200 range--a smart, hard-working student.)</p>

<p>This sem I have tried not to bring up grades OR transferring, so not to add to stress. But yesterday I asked kid to get last semester (not including summer) grades for car insurance-3.0 required for "good student" discount. Kid went to find out, and news was not good. Kid met with academic advisor, who said that low freshman GPA is OK, not unusual, kid still on track, not hopeless, etc. Kid is extremely stressed out over grade/scholarship/medicine situation and says life is a "nightmare"--talked about "jumping out a window," as a solution (not serious, but !?!?!!)--"never felt so stupid," etc. Kid has made good friends, but is ashamed of grades. Kid told roomies about problem ("Can't socialize, must study!) and they can't believe (smart) kid is struggling. Friends are humanities majors without tough math/science classes--where the grades are much lower. It seems grading is unreasonably tough in M/S at this school--smart kids, but extremely few get an A. That a lower percentage of math/science majors can keep scholarships seems unfair. </p>

<p>Kid really likes school and friends there, planned study abroad next year, and doesn't want to transfer. We can't afford it without the scholarship. We are broke and don't want to borrow more $. Kid makes me feel like bad guy about transfer requirement. I don't want kid to transfer, but it puts us in a bad financial situation. I'm really upset about that, too. And I think kid wants me to say, "OK, don't jump out a window, you don't have to transfer! We'll pay." Then stress will be less. </p>

<p>I asked kid if I should call the school, RA, Security, counselor, etc. Kid said no, I'm OK, just stressed, venting. But I'm worried about kid. I woke up from a nightmare about it. H called and emailed encouragement last night.
I realize I need details on scholarship requirements, but I do remember the 3.0 cutoff.</p>

<p>Any advice?</p>

<p>luvmykid, this is a very tough spot. The only advice I have is that my friend went through this with her child. From post #13:</p>

<p>
[quote]
I have a friend whose D lost her scholarship. The school allowed her a one semester grace period during the sophomore year to pull up her GPA. I believe that this is designed so that this student would count as a returning student "in the retention rates". By spring of sophomore year it was gone and the parents do not qualify for FA, as they are upper middle class. One parent wanted to yank her out of this school, but the other parent wanted her to stay. She did stay and did graduate in another major (she was in a science major). She is now redoing part of her undergrad education at local 4 year college to get ready to apply to a graduate program in the medical field. This is costing a small fortune, as her family "elected" to pay another 12,000 for prerequisite classes. Needless to say, the parents could have said, "no", but they are continuing to support their daughter's dreams, and they are all fortunate that they have extended famiy helping to pay these bills.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>So the parents were split about what to do, and the student stayed BUT changed to some easier major. Now the student lives at home and commuted to a 3rd or 4th tier school and takes all science prerequisites there. I know the cost for his year was 12,000 (relatives are helping with this bill).</p>

<p>One more important thing. As far as I know, this student NEVER said anything about ending her life. That threat is a big red flag and has to be considered! I will say that this student was also under major stress, and she was physically sick for periods of time because of it. The school did offer some help (tutoring, study skill classes, counseling). I do not know how much and for how long this student used these services and I don't know that they really helped. She is still glad that she did not transfer.</p>