Anyways to improve financial aid?

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momvesting
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by momvesting »

I'm just suspicious of this site. Are these merit awards guaranteed in some way or are they just an estimate, like when you see ACT and SAT prep companies who say that every one point bump in score =$6k-$10k merit. Although that is true in an overall statistical sense, it doesn't mean that an elite private costs $36k-60k less if one individual kid raises their score by 6 points.
cshell2
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by cshell2 »

caradhast wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:47 pm If I did this right, there should be two images


Image

Second:
Image

The first one shows which colleges are offering aid as of now
The second one shows how some of that aid is determined giving us ways that he can earn more.

Right now we are pretty much following every school and as he gets closer to graduation, that list will be pared down.
RaiseMe is kind of a racket. The "financial aid" you earn by things like perfect attendance and joining a sport are not stacked onto other aid. What it is is them saying the amount of institutional aid you'll receive will at least meet this amount. You'll notice all the schools that give big numbers are costly private schools that often give a lot in incoming scholarships anyhow. We did RaiseMe for my son and the one private school on his list gave him like 40K (over 4 years), but just filling out the auto incoming merit on the school's net price calculator, a kid with a 2.5 GPA and 18 ACT still got 12K/year (48K total). Since they already knew his GPA and test scores from the RaiseMe entries, all the microscholarships were pointless. In the end his best deals were from schools that didn't even use RaiseMe.
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caradhast
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by caradhast »

I don't think its 'the answer' but I like how it breaks down the ways to earn which helps to understand how they build the aid algorithms. I don't view it as guaranteed and there are schools he is interested in that aren't listed. I was a 3rd generation student at my university and got a nice aid package because of it, I hope he would get a nice one being a 4th generation. In the end, its always about the net cost compared to the value of the education.
cshell2
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by cshell2 »

I mean, for example. I just did the Net Price Calculator for Hartwick College and a student with an EFC of 60K (no need based aid) and a 3.0 GPA with a 25 ACT got an auto incoming merit scholarship of 32K (divided by 4), and the NPC is really outdated (said 2018).
texasdiver
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by texasdiver »

$30,000/yr. of merit is actually not far off for a good student. My daughter just went through this process. She had a 3.96 GPA and 1400 SAT and probably average extracurriculars. Every single school she applied to in this mid-range private liberal arts college category offered her merit aid in the $30,000 ballpark. For most of these schools that will bring the cost of attendance down into the $35 - $45,000 range if you are otherwise full-pay.

The top schools (anything in say the top 40 national rankings) generally offer little or no merit aid to students in this range.
cshell2
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by cshell2 »

texasdiver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:36 pm $30,000/yr. of merit is actually not far off for a good student. My daughter just went through this process. She had a 3.96 GPA and 1400 SAT and probably average extracurriculars. Every single school she applied to in this mid-range private liberal arts college category offered her merit aid in the $30,000 ballpark. For most of these schools that will bring the cost of attendance down into the $35 - $45,000 range if you are otherwise full-pay.

The top schools (anything in say the top 40 national rankings) generally offer little or no merit aid to students in this range.
Those RaiseMe estimates are for 4 years, not per year, that's why I'm saying they're kind of worthless and the school's just do it as a marketing gimmick.
DIFAR31
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by DIFAR31 »

ZMonet wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:32 pm This is extreme but if you can get your income under $26k then your expected contribution would automatically be zero.
If the $26k is referring to the FAFSA auto zero trigger, be aware that the FAFSA "Expected Family Contribution" only has meaning as far as qualifying for federal student aid (predominately a Pell grant, which maxes out at $6,345 this year) and in some states state student aid. It is in no way the actual maximum amount that a family will be expected to pay out of pocket to attend college. The FAFSA EFC has no basis in reality, which is why it will finally, and thankfully, be called something different ("Student Aid Index") starting with the 2023-2024 academic year.
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celia
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by celia »

livesoft wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:24 pm
cockersx3 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:20 pm.... Don't overdo the AP's if they could impact GPA, since our experience is that (high GPA + less AP courses) >> (lots of AP courses but lower GPA).
FWIW, for myself and both my children AP courses allowed us to graduate early and thus saved the costs of a full year of college. That was nothing to sneeze at.
For acceptance to the most competitive colleges (think ivies and similar), AP courses (and 4s or 5s on the AP tests) in the HS sophomore and junior year are needed just to be competitive compared to other accepted students. Since most of the accepted students took similar AP subject tests, these students then take more advanced courses in college in the same subject area for their GED requirements. Instead of leaving college 2 or 3 semesters early, they either pick up a second major or a masters, all within 4 years. I suggest you allow them to have the full 4-year college experience as their peers do. Instead of saving money, they will be more likely to have their choice of better job opportunities due to further education.

All of our kids also studied for an AP subject on their own that their high schools didn't offer and scored 5s. That also shows initiative.

friar1610 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:03 pm It should be noted that in addition to those merit scholarship offers, she was both accepted without aid and rejected and some top-notch schools. It’s been difficult to discern any consistent pattern from them.
This has nothing to do with her qualifications. Most colleges have 3 or 4 times the number of qualified applicants than the number they can admit. So the last round of the selection process is partly random, looking for one or two trombone players, an aspiring actor, an underrepresented minority applicant from an underrepresented state (or country), etc. The final class that is chosen is just as qualified as the second or third group who wasn't. They just don't have room for everyone who is qualified. That's why the student should apply to multiple colleges.
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celia
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by celia »

caradhast wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:03 pm Appreciate all of the advice in here. Right now the highest assistance offer he has is 37k total and as he goes from a high school freshman to senior that offer will go up. Its from a school I have never heard of but if they are accredited, I'm sure its fine. Other name schools have lower offers but we are learning on how to optimize based on their formulas to increase the offer.
Would you be surprised if I told you that National Merit Finalists get full ride scholarships to colleges you've never heard of (and for which they never applied)? They're also in locations you never heard of, like in the middle of nowhere.
:oops:

Try asking a "big-name college" to match the offer. LOL
:oops:
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

celia wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:40 am Instead of leaving college 2 or 3 semesters early, they either pick up a second major or a masters, all within 4 years. I suggest you allow them to have the full 4-year college experience as their peers do. Instead of saving money, they will be more likely to have their choice of better job opportunities due to further education.
+1

Someone (guidance counselor perhaps?) said “he busted his butt to get accepted, why would he leave early?”

He went the MS route, which we are not convinced made much direct difference in his job opportunities, but indirectly it showed gumption and made for a deeper educational experience (eg, research papers and closer relationships with professors).

I was surprised that at his Ivy (Yale) only around 2% get combined degrees (don’t know how many get double majors), but it has buttressed my “birds of a feather” theory, as his friend cohort overwhelmingly went for the double degree and/or major even though their majors were very different.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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celia
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by celia »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:15 am I was surprised that at his Ivy (Yale) only around 2% get combined degrees (don’t know how many get double majors), but it has buttressed my “birds of a feather” theory, as his friend cohort overwhelmingly went for the double degree and/or major even though their majors were very different.
Our CMU applicant son wanted a Computer Science degree but missed one question on the Math part of the SAT (average Math score for admitted CS students is 800), but they offered admission to the Electrical and Computer Engineering program instead. He accepted knowing he wouldn’t be allowed to change majors. But since both majors have many of the same courses required, half his classes would count towards CS.

We didn’t realize until graduation, that most of his friends were also getting Masters. I turned to him and ask why he didn’t get one too. He replied he was getting a CS degree in addition to the ECE!
:D :D :D
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cockersx3
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by cockersx3 »

livesoft wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:40 pm
texasdiver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:31 pmWe chose to take a different path.
It's always fun to see "history" repeat itself with every new class of parents of future college students, isn't it? Just like the plot of horror movie everybody knows what's going to happen except the cast of characters in the movie.
Yeah. At least the OP is asking about this early and getting educated on some of the details. I am a member of several Facebook "paying for college" forums, and I am just floored by the number of people who just plain haven't done their homework. The most common error I see is that "my kid gets good A/B grades, so colleges will give him/her a free ride!" Of course, for the vast majority of middle-class-and-up families, the answer is...no, they won't. There are lots of kids with stats very similar to your kid, and someone has to pay. Good grades can mean less money to pay, of course, but it won't be $0 or anything close to it.

The second most common error I see is that "I'm not going to pay anything, my kid can just get loans to pay for college!" Again, this is untrue. The only loans your kid will be able to get is approx $5500-7500 per year from the federal government, and this isn't enough for tuition & room & board at the vast majority of US colleges. The only way your kid is getting loans more than that is if you co-sign them.

I actually have a brother-in-law that is going through this now with my niece. We know there is no college savings for my niece, yet the niece has their "dream school" picked out - but there is no clear plan to pay for it, other than "niece will get loans" which we know will not happen. Just can't imagine making this kind of major financial decision without even doing the most basic research on how to pay.
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caradhast
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by caradhast »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:15 am
celia wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:40 am Instead of leaving college 2 or 3 semesters early, they either pick up a second major or a masters, all within 4 years. I suggest you allow them to have the full 4-year college experience as their peers do. Instead of saving money, they will be more likely to have their choice of better job opportunities due to further education.
+1

Someone (guidance counselor perhaps?) said “he busted his butt to get accepted, why would he leave early?”

He went the MS route, which we are not convinced made much direct difference in his job opportunities, but indirectly it showed gumption and made for a deeper educational experience (eg, research papers and closer relationships with professors).

I was surprised that at his Ivy (Yale) only around 2% get combined degrees (don’t know how many get double majors), but it has buttressed my “birds of a feather” theory, as his friend cohort overwhelmingly went for the double degree and/or major even though their majors were very different.

For me getting out in three years instead of four made a big difference. In addition to getting a years jump to my career, I graduated with a computer science degree and got a job before the .com bubble burst which made finding jobs more difficult the following year. I wasn't one that cared for the typical college experience though. I was either working on 24 credits a semester or working at an outside job. I got my masters at a 'name school but my company paid for it.'
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caradhast
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by caradhast »

cockersx3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:18 pm Yeah. At least the OP is asking about this early and getting educated on some of the details. I am a member of several Facebook "paying for college" forums, and I am just floored by the number of people who just plain haven't done their homework. The most common error I see is that "my kid gets good A/B grades, so colleges will give him/her a free ride!" Of course, for the vast majority of middle-class-and-up families, the answer is...no, they won't. There are lots of kids with stats very similar to your kid, and someone has to pay. Good grades can mean less money to pay, of course, but it won't be $0 or anything close to it.

The second most common error I see is that "I'm not going to pay anything, my kid can just get loans to pay for college!" Again, this is untrue. The only loans your kid will be able to get is approx $5500-7500 per year from the federal government, and this isn't enough for tuition & room & board at the vast majority of US colleges. The only way your kid is getting loans more than that is if you co-sign them.

I actually have a brother-in-law that is going through this now with my niece. We know there is no college savings for my niece, yet the niece has their "dream school" picked out - but there is no clear plan to pay for it, other than "niece will get loans" which we know will not happen. Just can't imagine making this kind of major financial decision without even doing the most basic research on how to pay.
Our plan was to have the house paid off and cash flow what we could. My sister is like the example you mention where they say their kids will have to pay their own way (and refuses to help even with loans) which puts a kid in a really bad spot because they cant get the loans.

As for the aid packages, you can only negotiate if an offer is from a peer school. If Pitt gives more than Penn State, Penn State may match or raise its offer, then again they may not because like any negotiation, they have a bottom line. If you kid doesn't bring something special to the table, there wont be as much room to work with. While I don't think raise.me is anything special, it helps to provide an idea on what aid may be available across a wide range of schools and we can use that information during the application process as we target tiers of schools. It also helps to determine how we can improve that aid through his activities and studies.
texasdiver
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by texasdiver »

cockersx3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:18 pm
livesoft wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:40 pm
texasdiver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:31 pmWe chose to take a different path.
It's always fun to see "history" repeat itself with every new class of parents of future college students, isn't it? Just like the plot of horror movie everybody knows what's going to happen except the cast of characters in the movie.
Yeah. At least the OP is asking about this early and getting educated on some of the details. I am a member of several Facebook "paying for college" forums, and I am just floored by the number of people who just plain haven't done their homework. The most common error I see is that "my kid gets good A/B grades, so colleges will give him/her a free ride!" Of course, for the vast majority of middle-class-and-up families, the answer is...no, they won't. There are lots of kids with stats very similar to your kid, and someone has to pay. Good grades can mean less money to pay, of course, but it won't be $0 or anything close to it.

The second most common error I see is that "I'm not going to pay anything, my kid can just get loans to pay for college!" Again, this is untrue. The only loans your kid will be able to get is approx $5500-7500 per year from the federal government, and this isn't enough for tuition & room & board at the vast majority of US colleges. The only way your kid is getting loans more than that is if you co-sign them.

I actually have a brother-in-law that is going through this now with my niece. We know there is no college savings for my niece, yet the niece has their "dream school" picked out - but there is no clear plan to pay for it, other than "niece will get loans" which we know will not happen. Just can't imagine making this kind of major financial decision without even doing the most basic research on how to pay.
Very well said.

The third mistake many people make is assuming that expensive is better. Or status is better. That it is worth the money if you have to deplete your 401(k) or get a second mortgage just to send your child to whatever high status private or out of state public school they want to go to. I read horror stories about parents who completely bankrupt their future and their retirement in order to pay for expensive private schools when they really don’t have to.

Kids from every legit college get into med school and business school and good jobs. Sure if you want a job at a top Wall Street investment bank you need to check off certain boxes. And for certain other status-centric professions. But for most of us that isn’t the case. There are very few states where a degree from your instate public flagship won’t open doors.
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by friar1610 »

celia wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:40 am
livesoft wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:24 pm
cockersx3 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:20 pm.... Don't overdo the AP's if they could impact GPA, since our experience is that (high GPA + less AP courses) >> (lots of AP courses but lower GPA).
FWIW, for myself and both my children AP courses allowed us to graduate early and thus saved the costs of a full year of college. That was nothing to sneeze at.
For acceptance to the most competitive colleges (think ivies and similar), AP courses (and 4s or 5s on the AP tests) in the HS sophomore and junior year are needed just to be competitive compared to other accepted students. Since most of the accepted students took similar AP subject tests, these students then take more advanced courses in college in the same subject area for their GED requirements. Instead of leaving college 2 or 3 semesters early, they either pick up a second major or a masters, all within 4 years. I suggest you allow them to have the full 4-year college experience as their peers do. Instead of saving money, they will be more likely to have their choice of better job opportunities due to further education.

All of our kids also studied for an AP subject on their own that their high schools didn't offer and scored 5s. That also shows initiative.

friar1610 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:03 pm It should be noted that in addition to those merit scholarship offers, she was both accepted without aid and rejected and some top-notch schools. It’s been difficult to discern any consistent pattern from them.
This has nothing to do with her qualifications. Most colleges have 3 or 4 times the number of qualified applicants than the number they can admit. So the last round of the selection process is partly random, looking for one or two trombone players, an aspiring actor, an underrepresented minority applicant from an underrepresented state (or country), etc. The final class that is chosen is just as qualified as the second or third group who wasn't. They just don't have room for everyone who is qualified. That's why the student should apply to multiple colleges.
There have been a number of articles in the local (Boston) paper about how crazy things have been this year. Over 100K applications at NYU. 10K more applications than last year at Brown. Etc., etc. SATs waived. Makes prognostications very difficult. I’m just happy she got into the excellent schools she did.
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oldfatguy
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by oldfatguy »

texasdiver wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:47 pm
Kids from every legit college get into med school and business school and good jobs. Sure if you want a job at a top Wall Street investment bank you need to check off certain boxes. And for certain other status-centric professions. But for most of us that isn’t the case. There are very few states where a degree from your instate public flagship won’t open doors.
I wish this could be posted at the top of every college admissions/financial aid thread.
plasticofantastico
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by plasticofantastico »

KlangFool wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:10 pm
caradhast wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:05 pm
I can have him work on the ACT and SAT aids, I wonder if those are starting to be phased out. We do plan on applying for a fair amount of schools and then leveraging different aid packages against similar schools to see what we can negotiate.
caradhast,

Make sure that he takes the PSAT test. It is needed for National Merit Scholarship.

https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/in ... 2&pgid=424

KlangFool
This. Only the PSAT/NMSQT test taken in the fall of the student’s Junior year counts towards the National Merit Scholarship. But if a student can do well on one test, on one day, they can get a full ride at a number of good public universities, and a substantial scholarship at some private universities. It also qualifies you for the Florida Benacquisto scholarship, even if you are out of state. Get your kid into an SAT prep course the summer for their Junior year to give them the best shot.

Many schools don’t advertise this opportunity. Our daughter was one of 3 NMS recipients at her high school, and it opened a lot of doors for her.
texasdiver
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by texasdiver »

friar1610 wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:45 am
celia wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:40 am
livesoft wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:24 pm
cockersx3 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:20 pm.... Don't overdo the AP's if they could impact GPA, since our experience is that (high GPA + less AP courses) >> (lots of AP courses but lower GPA).
FWIW, for myself and both my children AP courses allowed us to graduate early and thus saved the costs of a full year of college. That was nothing to sneeze at.
For acceptance to the most competitive colleges (think ivies and similar), AP courses (and 4s or 5s on the AP tests) in the HS sophomore and junior year are needed just to be competitive compared to other accepted students. Since most of the accepted students took similar AP subject tests, these students then take more advanced courses in college in the same subject area for their GED requirements. Instead of leaving college 2 or 3 semesters early, they either pick up a second major or a masters, all within 4 years. I suggest you allow them to have the full 4-year college experience as their peers do. Instead of saving money, they will be more likely to have their choice of better job opportunities due to further education.

All of our kids also studied for an AP subject on their own that their high schools didn't offer and scored 5s. That also shows initiative.

friar1610 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:03 pm It should be noted that in addition to those merit scholarship offers, she was both accepted without aid and rejected and some top-notch schools. It’s been difficult to discern any consistent pattern from them.
This has nothing to do with her qualifications. Most colleges have 3 or 4 times the number of qualified applicants than the number they can admit. So the last round of the selection process is partly random, looking for one or two trombone players, an aspiring actor, an underrepresented minority applicant from an underrepresented state (or country), etc. The final class that is chosen is just as qualified as the second or third group who wasn't. They just don't have room for everyone who is qualified. That's why the student should apply to multiple colleges.
There have been a number of articles in the local (Boston) paper about how crazy things have been this year. Over 100K applications at NYU. 10K more applications than last year at Brown. Etc., etc. SATs waived. Makes prognostications very difficult. I’m just happy she got into the excellent schools she did.
There aren't actually more applicants this year compared to previous years just more applications and that is an important distinction. There wasn't some big baby boom in 2003 that generated a massive wave of HS seniors this year.

What actually happened is that the pandemic upset the normal college application process where students visit colleges and apply to the ones that they like the best. Instead:

1. Students applied to a lot more colleges this year than they might have in previous years because they couldn't visit schools in person last fall and were hedging their bets and putting off decisions until later. My own daughter did this. In a normal year she would have culled her list down quite a bit last summer and fall by doing campus visits. She was unable to do that and so applied to more schools than she might otherwise have done with the idea that she would visit them later in the spring when the pandemic had eased.

2. The shutdown of SAT/ACT testing in many states led many schools to go test-optional or test-blind for this admissions cycle. That lead to a lot of students applying to elite selective institutions that they might not have bothered with in previous years due to mediocre test scores.

It's not actually harder to get into college this year than previous years. In fact, it is probably easier as the number of college age students is actually declining and a lot of schools are struggling to maintain their enrollments. There is just a logjam at the very top amongst the most elite and selective institutions and that is largely a problem of their own making. And really not a problem at all from the point of these schools.

Do the math. NYU got over 100k applications? The application fee for NYU is $80. That means they generated over $8 million this admissions cycle from application fees alone. You don't think that was on purpose? Do you think they see that as a problem or an opportunity? A lot of parents and students treat applications to the Ivies and near Ivies like lottery tickets. They don't really expect them to pay off, but hold out a 1% chance that they might. Is that wrong? Naïve perhaps.
Last edited by texasdiver on Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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celia
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by celia »

plasticofantastico wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:11 pm This. Only the PSAT/NMSQT test taken in the fall of the student’s Junior year counts towards the National Merit Scholarship. But if a student can do well on one test, on one day, they can get a full ride at a number of good public universities, and a substantial scholarship at some private universities. It also qualifies you for the Florida Benacquisto scholarship, even if you are out of state. Get your kid into an SAT prep course the summer for their Junior year to give them the best shot.
I don't think that's enough. Our kids took the PSAT in their Sophomore year as a practice for the Junior year test. In fact, many high schools around here give it to the whole sophomore class, besides the juniors, to get used to it, if nothing else. If you are past that point in your child's education, they can take the SAT as practice too. (The PSAT is supposed to be practice for the SAT. :D , but the junior PSAT is IMPORTANT.)

And even if you are a finalist, that helps, but doesn't guarantee that you will get into the school of your choice. The offer of a free ride to a no-name school (that wants want to improve their reputation) most likely came from the list of NMSQT finalists.
Pdxnative
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Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

Post by Pdxnative »

There are a few dozen schools where an AGI like the OP’s would garner very good need-based aid. The aid would be in the form of grants, not loans. The catch is that they are all highly selective. MIT, Princeton, etc. So it’s worth avoiding doing stupid things that could compromise aid—Roth conversions after the base year, divorcing and remarrying, etc.—but this is not a route to college that can be counted on by anyone given the selectivity. (By the way, buying a rental would be one of those stupid things to avoid).

As far as merit aid, there is some competitive merit money out there where schools take a more holistic look. Those are worth pursuing. But the majority of merit money, especially at private schools, is targeted toward “buying” a boost in ratings and is based almost entirely on grades, test scores, and other quantifiable factors. I’d focus on boosting those as much as possible. Look at a school like Utah state for an example of how this works for automatic merit. Most schools are doing something similar in the background with merit dollars, though less explicitly and using more sophisticated algorithms. Importantly, most are focusing not just on the value a particular student will bring, but also using internal data analysts or outside consulting firms to help determine how much they’ll have to “pay” each student to attend. Just pointing out “merit” isn’t what some might assume, and the kid that has a patent might not rate in the algorithms the same as the kid with a better ACT. At some schools, the rural North Dakota kid, if she’s the only qualified applicant from that state in a given cycle, might be golden.

Also, be aware of the aotc.
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