Wooster Merit Aid for Non-Need Families

It seems like Wooster is very generous with merit aid for non-need families. Are there specific scholarships (I see the Dean’s scholarship online)? Does the merit award just come with the acceptance letter? Do you have to negotiate more merit aid? My daughter is a junior and Wooster seems like it could be a good fit. But we’d need to get around 25k in merit aid to make it a realistic option.

Also - I don’t see how you could go early decision if you want/need the 25k in merit aid? Some have said that early decision doesn’t impact merit aid, and I see that almost no one is full pay at Wooster. But couldn’t the school just say no to all merit aid if you apply early decision and force to to full pay if you are a non-need family? Seems too risky to apply early decision unless you are willing to full pay (which we are not).



There are a few merit based scholarships at Wooster. In order to be considered, I would suggest stats that are in the top 25% or higher. Merit awards are usually stated w/ acceptance letter. Some schools also send total FA package w/ the acceptance, some take a few more days. Just depends.

If you are hesitant about applying ED due to finances, I would suggest EA. EA decisions release only a few weeks later, and do not have the restrictions of a binding application. Also, you can only apply ED to one school, whereas you can apply EA to as many as you want. (Although be aware of SCEA- you can only apply to one of these.) Also, an ED acceptance can be turned down if the money doesn’t match up to the EFC. Though I would think a school would work w/ you to some extent if an ED FA package shows up that you weren’t expecting. Just keep in mind, schools don’t HAVE to give merit, some don’t! COW meets 95% of need, so I would suggest running the EFC calculator and then going from there.

Thanks for the excellent advice. Sounds like EA is the way to go.

I thobk we will look at Miami, wooster, Denison and Ohio state. I would do wooster or Denison at, say, $40k if daughter(s) like better than miami or Ohio state. But no way doing those schools at $65k. We aren’t getting any financial aid according to calculator.

We can’t be the only people making this type of decision - e.g., would go to $40k for Denison or wooster but not to $50 or 60k.

No, you aren’t. There are very few families that can pay full price to any amount. Even our eldest son, who has a Post 9-11 GI Bill, we gave him parameters. His schools had to have decent Yellow Ribbon. He also didn’t want to go to school in the state we currently reside in, so he was pretty much limited to just private schools. There was one public ivy that he loved, but he knew going in that it may not be financially do-able. Everything worked out great in the end & I think he’s made the right choice for him. It’s also a choice we feel good about as a family… and that’s all any parent can ask for.

Wooster has an early aid estimator on its website:

My D applied EA this year and got a $30k annual merit award. (She had a 1400 SAT, 3.6 UW GPA, rigorous class schedule, very strong ECs.)

That award came first with EA acceptance. Later, she received some additional need-based aid and work study.

Important to note that Wooster does not promise to meet full demonstrated need. In our D’s case, Wooster did.

The early aid estimator is fantastic! Thank you for sharing that.

I got 25K a year, guaranteed all four years. I transferred from Skidmore with a 3.09 GPA as a freshman. I love Wooster and btw, find it a lot harder than Skidmore. Wooster is very rigorous!!!

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Remember that the merit aid amount is fixed and remains the same per year, e.g. $25,000, but tuition/room/board increases every year. I don’t know what the increases have been for Wooster but a similar school I calculated it for increased 4% a year over the last several years. That means $40,000 turns into $45,000 for senior year.

A second vote for the early aid estimator.

If you fill out a form in submit it, they will do an early merit read by an AO and get back to you in 2 weeks with a merit aid offer. My high stats kid (1520 SAT, 800 SAT Math 2, 740 Physics, 710 Lit, 3.98W, nationally ranked test in STEM public high school) submitted a request when this opened in July, and has already gotten back a merit aid offer of $35k/year and strong encouragement to apply ED. He’s very interested in the mentored research program, the music opportunities and loves the school. He will likely also apply for a music scholarship separately.

But he isn’t at the point of committing anywhere 100%. Right now, he is applying EA. But could change his mind and go ED.

Yet another vote for the Early Aid Estimator. The estimate we received was 100% accurate. My daughter applied EA and the merit offer was included in her acceptance. She got her final Financial Aid offer later in February or March (can’t remember) and it, too, was 100% in line with the aid estimator. Of note, though–she applied for a theater/dance scholarship, which she got, and the FA amount did get reduced by the scholarship amount so it was not an additional award. However, it moved that amount of financial assistance out of financial aid, which can vary from year to year, to 4-year guaranteed aid (as long as she meets the scholarship requirements).

As to annual tuition increases, when I asked that question at a financial aid presentation at the College, I was told while she couldn’t give an exact number, a ballpark of 3-4%/yr would be realistic.

@cleveland132 When my D217 applied, the maximum merit topped out at 50% of COA. My kid got the Dean’s Scholarship which then amounted to 30K.

She went elsewhere but we liked Wooster a lot, as well as Denison.

If you are counting on a merit award, applying ED is a bad idea, IMO. Unless the award is guaranteed by stats, there is a strong element of doubt as to whether a student will be awarded any merit money and the amounts. If you can get an admissions officer of a school to guarantee a merit award as a condition of the ED commitment, that’s one thing. But otherwise you can be left holding the bag for more costs than you had planned, or be in the position of breaking your word, students word and GC’s integrity on a contract. Not a good entry into adulthood, IMO

If your child received the early aid estimator with a likely merit award, how does that relate to admissions chances? In other words, if they are not going to admit your child would they state that s/he would not receive any merit? Or, do you know of people who have received an early aid estimator with a likely merit award and then not been admitted? We know we will know soon but just trying to manage expectations. Thank you!

Depends… If it’s a large award, I think you can feel pretty comfortable thinking you’ll see a favorable outcome. If it’s fairly small, then you’ll just have to wait and see.

Thank you - seemed generous to us but we are obviously waiting for the actual results. I am surprised that this board is not as active as it was last fall. Hopefully, more people will post once the results come out later this month. Thanks again!