Negotiating merit scholarships

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Bfwolf
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Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:48 pm

My nephew is an outstanding student who will enter college next Fall. He recently found out he got into the University of Arizona with a $35,000 merit scholarship, which is consistent with the "automatic" scholarship they generate for an out-of-stater with his stats (4.0+ GPA, high SAT) according to the 2nd table on this page: http://financialaid.arizona.edu/types-a ... larships-0

According to the University of Arizona, total cost of attendance is $52,400 freshman year and then $49,100 thereafter.
http://financialaid.arizona.edu/undergr ... attendance

So his total cost of attendance including the scholarship would be $59,700.

Given his stats, he is likely to get into UC-Berkeley and/or UCLA as an in-state student. The total cost of attendance for either is about the same--around $126,000 to $130,000.

http://financialaid.berkeley.edu/cost-attendance
http://www.financialaid.ucla.edu/Underg ... ence-halls

I don't think he's going to get a merit scholarship from the UC schools. He's not going to get any need based aid from either of these schools either.

I suspect that with the current $70,000 cost difference, he and his parents would elect to bite the financial bullet and go with the UCs. But if Arizona meaningfully increased their offer, that might flip things.

Has anybody ever had success or have tips on negotiating merit scholarships from colleges?

My nephew has applied to other schools as well, so there may be more options available to him, but I'm skeptical that the value propositions will exceed an in-state Berkeley/UCLA or a deeply discounted U of Arizona.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:53 pm

Check out collegeconfidential.com for detailed help.

In general, you have some negotiating room with private colleges if the student is highly desirable and got a higher aid offer from a school that the one you are negotiating with considers a peer or higher. I'm not sure what your negotiating leverage will be if Arizona is offering full tuition and the UCs offer nothing.

KlangFool
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:05 pm

OP,

How does he rank in term of National Merit?

My niece was a National Merit Finalist. She had a full ride scholarship from the University of Arizona.

KlangFool

Bfwolf
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:06 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:05 pm
OP,

How does he rank in term of National Merit?

My niece was a National Merit Finalist. She had a full ride scholarship from the University of Arizona.

KlangFool
Unfortunately, he missed the PSAT cut for National Merit Semifinalist.

Bfwolf
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:11 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:53 pm
Check out collegeconfidential.com for detailed help.

In general, you have some negotiating room with private colleges if the student is highly desirable and got a higher aid offer from a school that the one you are negotiating with considers a peer or higher. I'm not sure what your negotiating leverage will be if Arizona is offering full tuition and the UCs offer nothing.
I did a cursory google search of College Confidential before I posted here, and didn't find anything useful. The responses were of 2 kinds:

1) It doesn't hurt to ask.
2) What makes you think you're so special that you deserve more money?

But it's possible (likely?) that I missed a more useful thread on the subject.

I just figured Bogleheads might have more useful advice on actual strategies for getting an increase in aid.

mouses
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by mouses » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:26 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:06 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:05 pm
OP,

How does he rank in term of National Merit?

My niece was a National Merit Finalist. She had a full ride scholarship from the University of Arizona.

KlangFool
Unfortunately, he missed the PSAT cut for National Merit Semifinalist.
A National Merit Semifinalist is not necessarily an outstanding student. And he did not make that. Finalists are the cream of the crop and in my high school days were recruited heavily. If his parents can afford the other schools, I would recommend one of those. A degree from them is much more valuable than one from Arizona, as is the quality of the education.

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telemark
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by telemark » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:28 pm

$12,300 for room and board? In Tucson? Maybe I'm out of touch, but I would explore ways to spend less on that.

Bfwolf
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:31 pm

telemark wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:28 pm
$12,300 for room and board? In Tucson? Maybe I'm out of touch, but I would explore ways to spend less on that.
Fair point. The $12,300 is student housing at U of A, so there may be better deals to be had off campus.

Doesn't change the general thrust of this thread though.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:32 pm

A National Merit Semifinalist is not necessarily an outstanding student. And he did not make that. Finalists are the cream of the crop and in my high school days were recruited heavily.
Huh??? North of 95% of semifinalists become finalists. The only requirements are scoring at a similar level on the SAT, and maybe a recommendation from the guidance counselor - weeds out people who had someone else take the test for them, or something like that. It's just that they name the semifinalists early based on the score cut off for the student's state, and the finalists later.

You can be a finalist and a pretty good student, or not make the cut and be an outstanding student. The cutoff is much higher in Virginia, for instance, than in Alabama.

boglesmind
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by boglesmind » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:29 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:48 pm
My nephew is an outstanding student who will enter college next Fall. He recently found out he got into the University of Arizona with a $35,000 merit scholarship, which is consistent with the "automatic" scholarship they generate for an out-of-stater with his stats (4.0+ GPA, high SAT) according to the 2nd table on this page: http://financialaid.arizona.edu/types-a ... larships-0

According to the University of Arizona, total cost of attendance is $52,400 freshman year and then $49,100 thereafter.
http://financialaid.arizona.edu/undergr ... attendance

So his total cost of attendance including the scholarship would be $59,700.

Given his stats, he is likely to get into UC-Berkeley and/or UCLA as an in-state student. The total cost of attendance for either is about the same--around $126,000 to $130,000.

http://financialaid.berkeley.edu/cost-attendance
http://www.financialaid.ucla.edu/Underg ... ence-halls

I don't think he's going to get a merit scholarship from the UC schools. He's not going to get any need based aid from either of these schools either.

I suspect that with the current $70,000 cost difference, he and his parents would elect to bite the financial bullet and go with the UCs. But if Arizona meaningfully increased their offer, that might flip things.

Has anybody ever had success or have tips on negotiating merit scholarships from colleges?

My nephew has applied to other schools as well, so there may be more options available to him, but I'm skeptical that the value propositions will exceed an in-state Berkeley/UCLA or a deeply discounted U of Arizona.
I'll let other Bogleheads to answer your scholarship questions. What major is your nephew planning to study? Is he also planning to pursue Master's afterwards? If his intended major is STEM, UC Berkeley or UCLA would be a no brainer compared to University of Arizona. Nothing wrong with UofA but it is 1 or 2 tiers below UC Berkeley or UCLA.

I have friends' kids who had 4.0+GPA, excellent SAT scores, national merit scholars and who have up full tuition and board at Texas A&M and went to UT Austin primarily because of the schools reputation, faculty and research.

Boglesmind

feehater
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by feehater » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:38 pm

I don't know how common this is for undergrads, but a common thing for grad schools to do is to waive the residency requirement and let an out-of-stater pay in state tuition. So, one avenue you could try if they won't simply raise the amount of cash they're offering, is to see if you can still get that $35k but apply it to in-state tuition and also room and board. It's probably a long shot but every school has different rules about how they deal with aid.

Bfwolf
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:28 pm

boglesmind wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:29 pm


I'll let other Bogleheads to answer your scholarship questions. What major is your nephew planning to study? Is he also planning to pursue Master's afterwards? If his intended major is STEM, UC Berkeley or UCLA would be a no brainer compared to University of Arizona. Nothing wrong with UofA but it is 1 or 2 tiers below UC Berkeley or UCLA.

I have friends' kids who had 4.0+GPA, excellent SAT scores, national merit scholars and who have up full tuition and board at Texas A&M and went to UT Austin primarily because of the schools reputation, faculty and research.

Boglesmind
Since I don't think any of this is relevant to the scholarship question, I'd rather not go down this rabbit's hole.

I recognize lots of people want to provide their opinions about the relative value propositions of the schools, but it's not actionable. This is not my son, it's my nephew. He and his family will make the best decision for them.

What is actionable is how to negotiate merit scholarships, as they would be happy to receive this info from me.

Thanks for understanding.

denovo
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by denovo » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:43 am

US NEWS rankings for public schools

1. UCB
2. UCLA
.....


58. U. of Arizona

jalbert
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by jalbert » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:56 am

As a resident of California he can apply for the Western University Exchange program at U. of Arizona which will cause out of state tuition to be lowered to 1.5x in-state tuition if he is accepted as a WUE student. I don't think there will be much difference in quality of education or academic rigor at U. of Arizona, UCB, and UCLA at the undergraduate level.
Last edited by jalbert on Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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alinna
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by alinna » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:14 am

When you say that you don't think he'll get a merit scholarship from UCLA or UC Berkeley, are you saying that your nephew wouldn't qualify for their scholarships or that you don't think those schools offer merit scholarships?

Bfwolf
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:39 am

jalbert wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:56 am
As a resident of California he can apply for the Western University Exchange program at U. of Arizona which will cause out of state tuition to be lowered to 1.5x in-state tuition if he is accepted as a WUE student. I don't think there will be much difference in quality of education or academic rigor at U. of Arizona, UCB, and UCLA at the undergraduate level.
Very interesting find! But it only applies to students applying to be in the mining engineering program at U of Arizona. That doesn't interest my nephew.

http://wue.wiche.edu/profile.jsp?id=29

Bfwolf
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:43 am

alinna wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:14 am
When you say that you don't think he'll get a merit scholarship from UCLA or UC Berkeley, are you saying that your nephew wouldn't qualify for their scholarships or that you don't think those schools offer merit scholarships?
Merit scholarships at those schools are limited and highly competitive.

itstoomuch
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by itstoomuch » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:11 am

UA is offering a merit scholarship, which is the tuition .
UA is not offering room and board which is taxable living expenses. How much is taxed to the student is another question. Also, student fees is also not merit.
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OnTrack2020
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by OnTrack2020 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:20 am

My question is, is the $35,000 scholarship strictly for the academics, or is that money an academic and extracurricular scholarship? If it's strictly academic, then did your nephew participate in any extracurriculars in school that the U of A might give him additional monies for.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:12 am

[unsolicited opinion]
You asked that we put aside the no-brainer aspects of this, i.e., the parents sound like they can afford it, the delta is around $70k, the choice is between UCB/UCLA and U of Arizona. IMO, the parents shouldn't be talked out of biting the bullet and going UCB/UCLA. IMO, they've made a sane choice, and, it's not your kid. After graduation, the $70k will be decimal dust in the kid's future.
[/unsolicited opinion]

Putting the above aside, you can't go into a negotiation with the FA office and say "this kid got no money offered by a superior (i.e., non-peer) school and you've offered "only" a full tuition scholarship; I think his parents would reconsider if you upped your offer; how about it?"

Find a peer school and see what they offer. Then you might be able to negotiate. We need an emoticon for "biting my tongue and trying not to say more."

financeidiot
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by financeidiot » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:35 am

I wouldn't recommend negotiating unless your nephew is willing to go to a different school over the amount negotiated (a small amount in this case). Schools can retract a scholarship offer, and if you're trying to squeeze an extra $5,000 on top of a $35,000 scholarship, he probably doesn't want to be there anyways. There's a lot of talented students and a lot of cheap loans to subsidize school costs, if your nephew turns down the scholarship, they can probably find another student just like him or take on a less talented student willing to pay more.

In general, most parents and relatives overvalue what their student is bringing to a school. Scholarships are not so much investments in "good students," who become successful later and donate to the institution. Instead, institutions are buying students who can improve their USNWR ranking, provide feel-good stories for marketing, or otherwise raise their eligibility requirements and status.

FWIW I used to work with public, non-profit, and for-profit higher education institutions to research how to design college programs, assess demand, establish entrance requirements, and test marketing strategies to create profitable degree programs.
Last edited by financeidiot on Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:37 am

telemark wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:28 pm
$12,300 for room and board? In Tucson? Maybe I'm out of touch, but I would explore ways to spend less on that.
Someone has to subsidize those Arizona students...... :annoyed
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msk
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by msk » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:07 am

I have recruited a huge number of graduates. My own take for a first-job graduate is the last school he went to. A kid who got his BSc from MIT and his graduate degrees from U of Slippery Rock will not impress me anywhere as much as one who did the reverse, So if the kid is very likely to go on to grad school, his parents can save a ton of money by accepting the U of Arizona offer and look forward to his doing grad studies at Stanford or wherever.

Next as to the parents' wealth and being able and willing to pay the extra $. I happen to be one of those people who have set up endowments that finance such merit scholarships. Like most BHs I believe in helping those less fortunate through charitable donations and it might help in the parents' decision making if they view financing their kid's schooling, partially or fully, as making room for others less fortunate to get 'some' financing. Puts a different slant on things and it's what I used to justify paying 100% of the costs of my 4 kids' college. They were all capable of getting merit scholarships of various kinds but I told them to not apply. Simply to make room for others less fortunate. Helps to salve the pain of coughing up the stipends month in month out :mrgreen: OK, sounds too much like do-gooder preaching...

student
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by student » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:26 am

msk wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:07 am
I have recruited a huge number of graduates. My own take for a first-job graduate is the last school he went to. A kid who got his BSc from MIT and his graduate degrees from U of Slippery Rock will not impress me anywhere as much as one who did the reverse, So if the kid is very likely to go on to grad school, his parents can save a ton of money by accepting the U of Arizona offer and look forward to his doing grad studies at Stanford or wherever.
Agree. Your last degree is the most important one. After a few years on the job, where you get the degree is no longer important. It's the job performance. I always advise people to save money by going to a great state school with lower cost and then go to a top graduate school.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:38 am

IIRC, you need to keep a good GPA for merit scholarship at UA. I would stay in-state, my daughter ruled out any school that’s in hot area. She can’t stand the heat anywhere. But maybe he’ll get some scholarships from other UCs. Like UCSB or UCR. I remember UCSB gave my daughter $6000 per year. Her friend got $10k per year from UCR.

Jags4186
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Jags4186 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:11 am

They already made you an offer. There are plenty of other kids who will go there with that offer. I doubt you will have success in getting more money out of them.

btenny
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by btenny » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:27 am

Have you asked your nephew where he wants to go? Each of those schools is vastly different in atmosphere and other students. My kids hated UCB atmosphere but liked UCLA and USC. They were not impressed with U of A. The other issue is can your nephew commute at one of the UCAL schools? If he can live at home he will save a ton and UCLA is a great commuter school.

Good luck.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:04 am

I also think the cost of attendance might be slightly exaggerated. My daughter just graduated, but I think I paid between $80k-$100k for four years.

brito11
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by brito11 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:24 pm

It doesn't hurt to ask, but keep in mind that 4.0+ GPA and high SAT scores are not extraordinary in and of themselves. An extraordinary applicant would be someone like a International Science Olympiad participant, National Merit Finalist, etc. Reason being that these are statistics that schools heavily trumpet in promotional materials. I think that the chances are zilch to extremely low unless your nephew is also a promising athlete or has some other "cool" factor (then the school would have more incentive).

Schools work with a budget for incoming freshman...some schools are more generous than others...Ivy Leagues can be very generous but they 99% need-based. Schools also rely on out-of-state students to pad the revenues. If asking, the best time is as soon as possible...too late and the pool will already be fully allocated.

jchris
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by jchris » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:22 pm

My older son tried negotiating the amount of his merit scholarship offer from Pitt. He was trying to decide between Pitt and University of Maryland (College Park). UMCP is in state. He had similar stats to your nephew. Pitt had offered enough to get their tuition + R&B to about the level of in-state tuition + R&B at Maryland. Maryland had offered a partial merit scholarship, and he also had a full ride offer from UMBC (which he did not intend to attend regardless). Between UMCP and Pitt, he had a very slight preference for Pitt, but only if the money was a wash, so he wrote a letter to Pitt explaining his offers from UMCP and UMBC, and asking if they would reconsider his scholarship offer. They wrote a very nice letter back which just reiterated their original offer and expressed their hope that he would attend Pitt. We figured it couldn't hurt to ask, since he had a nice offer in hand from Maryland, but in the end it was no dice. He is currently at Maryland and doing well there.

Bfwolf
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:08 pm

jchris wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:22 pm
My older son tried negotiating the amount of his merit scholarship offer from Pitt. He was trying to decide between Pitt and University of Maryland (College Park). UMCP is in state. He had similar stats to your nephew. Pitt had offered enough to get their tuition + R&B to about the level of in-state tuition + R&B at Maryland. Maryland had offered a partial merit scholarship, and he also had a full ride offer from UMBC (which he did not intend to attend regardless). Between UMCP and Pitt, he had a very slight preference for Pitt, but only if the money was a wash, so he wrote a letter to Pitt explaining his offers from UMCP and UMBC, and asking if they would reconsider his scholarship offer. They wrote a very nice letter back which just reiterated their original offer and expressed their hope that he would attend Pitt. We figured it couldn't hurt to ask, since he had a nice offer in hand from Maryland, but in the end it was no dice. He is currently at Maryland and doing well there.
Thanks for the input. Yeah, I imagine trying to negotiate a big offer to an even bigger offer is generally difficult.

MathWizard
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by MathWizard » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:46 pm

I don't think you will be able to negotiate merit scholarships.

A full ride scholarship typically only pays tuition & fees for an in-state student for 4 years, not living expenses.

Both my son, a nephew, and myself were Natl Merit Finalists, and none of us got better than a
full in-state tuition.

The Univ of Arizona has 12,817 as in-state tuition&fees, so it is unlikely your nephew could get
better than about $50K over 4 years there. If he got $35K, he's probably not going to get more merit aid.
The fafsa would tell them whether he could get need based aid. This is unlikely beyond subsidized loans
unless they don't have much income.

Tuition and fees data from:

Code: Select all

http://www.collegedata.com/cs/data/college/college_pg03_tmpl.jhtml?schoolId=742

inbox788
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Re: Negotiating merit scholarships

Post by inbox788 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:15 pm

Besides cash, are they offering anything else? I've seen some schools create special programs or designations for incoming students to try to compete with higher ranked schools. I don't know anything about them, or whether they're effective (either in recruiting or outcomes), but it's worth a look if you're seriously considering the underdog school. The proposition is: do you want to be an average student at Top University or an Honors Student at Very Good University? Sometimes, they have special courses or access to faculty, and others provide privileges like first choice of classes, special library privileges, and facilities. It may make most sense if the student is pursuing a specific program in the university that is much stronger than the university overall (i.e. #3 in Management Information Systems).

http://www2.honors.arizona.edu/future-s ... d-scholars

https://www.honors.arizona.edu/why-be-honors-wildcat

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/ra ... on-systems

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