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College Financial Aid Isn't Going to the Neediest

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Replies to: College Financial Aid Isn't Going to the Neediest

  • Sue22Sue22 Posts: 33
    edited May 2013
    Schools that don't offer merit aid:

    The Ivies:
    Harvard
    Princeton
    Yale
    Cornell
    Columbia
    Dartmouth
    UPenn
    Brown

    The NESCACs:
    Amherst
    Williams
    Bowdoin
    Middlebury
    Bates
    Colby
    Trinity
    Hamilton
    Conn College
    Wesleyan
    Tufts


    Others:
    Stanford
    Reed
    Sarah Lawrence
    Julliard
    Swarthmore
    Bryn Mawr
    Bennington
    St. John's
    Marlboro
    Barnard
    Goddard
    Haverford
    MIT
    Vassar
    New England
    Wheaton (MA)
    Colgate
    Wellesley
    Mount Holyoke
    Whatever other schools I couldn't think of!

    The vast majority of these schools can attract students on reputation and programs alone. They also tend to be schools that offer generous need-based aid and cover what they determine to be full need.
  • BobWallaceBobWallace Posts: 66
    edited May 2013
    Wheaton, Bryn Mawr, and Mount Holyoke all give merit aid. No doubt some of the others too, those are just off the top of my head.
  • 2collegewego2collegewego Posts: 24
    edited May 2013
    Both New England College and New England Conservatory give merit aid. Both St John's University and St John's College offer merit aid. Bennington also has merit aid.
  • Sue22Sue22 Posts: 33
    edited May 2013
    You're right, BobWallace! I didn't vet the list I found online sufficiently. I do know that the Ivies and NESCACs do not offer merit, nor do the others on the list I've checked-Colgate, MIT, Stanford, Vassar, Barnard, Reed, Wellesley, Juilliard. Haven't checked the others.
  • MerryFLLMomMerryFLLMom Posts: 5 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Finally someone who sees the root of the problem. College tuitions are too high. No one could have possibly envisioned 18 years ago when you gazed down into the eyes of your beautiful new baby that their undergraduate college tuiton would cost you a quarter of a million dollars. Unless you live next door to Bill Gates this amount of money is scarey as hell. Lets stop beating each other up.
  • OrchidBloomOrchidBloom Posts: 47 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    Yeah, basically, the problem is that college is expensive. And it's expensive for probably 95% of the population. My family's household income is in the six-figures, and although we are relatively well off, I wouldn't say that we are wealthy. Especially not in terms of being able to easily pay the 55k per year needed for college tuition. After taxes, we are left with around 75k. Yes, that is a lot of money, but not enough to be even close to able to pay full freight. Merit aid allows me the possibility of lowering the costs of college past what need based aid could.

    It's not the super rich who make a million dollars every year who get all the merit aid. It's often students from middle class families. And there's nothing stopping lower income students for applying for merit aid as well.

    And I guess in a sense, it's the school's money, and it's their choice how they want to spend it. If they want to offer only merit scholarships, then that's their decision. If they want to offer only need-based scholarships, then that's their decision as well.
  • LakeCloudsLakeClouds Posts: 49
    edited May 2013
    I think the only families that aren't getting the financial aid they need are the "middle class" families- whatever is left of the middle class anyways

    Agreed - it's a bit of a success tax mentality.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 296
    edited May 2013
    Re: Workbook: pellprivates_test

    Not sure where they got the net price numbers.

    It says that Caltech's net price for a low income student was $310. I put in some numbers into Caltech's net price calculator with parental income low enough to give an EFC = $0, and none of parental assets, student income, or student assets, and it produced at net price of $2,850 (including an offer of $1,350 work study, leaving $1,500 which is well below the Stafford loan limit).
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 296
    edited May 2013
    redpoint wrote:
    It's so infuriating to read articles that call people who don't qualify for financial aid "wealthy." Perhaps some are, but most of us are struggling too.

    On an annual income of over $200,000? Harvard's net price calculator indicates that the income levels to not get financial aid there are quite high. (Of course, Harvard's list price is still pretty expensive for someone just at the threshold of not getting financial aid.)

    Net Price Calculator
  • Kennedy2010Kennedy2010 Posts: 63
    edited May 2013
    have low need and have an optimal acceptance chance

    I wonder how a school would determine that a kid has an "optimal acceptance chance"? If it is stats and they are mediocre then why do they pursue the low need kid when stats are so important to their numbers?
  • jtmoneyjtmoney Posts: 12 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    Hint to normal income people. Start saving for your children's education when they are young. Find a way early, before you get used to spending your money. We took advantage of house cost inflation profit to roll house equity into a 529 fund for children. $10,000 in 1992 turned into a healthy quantity of money despite the great recession. It's allowed us to be generous to our children now without the pain of parent plus loans we can't consider now in our near retirement years. A little pain now will give your children financial options 15 years from now whether they are merit scholar candidates or not.
  • CTScoutmomCTScoutmom Posts: 34
    edited May 2013
    jtmoney - that's the trick, put it away early, and keep doing so. If you don't spend it when they're younger, you won't miss it when you still have to spend it to round out the cost of college. We didn't do exactly as you did, but we paid our house down at an accelerated rate. Now our mortgage payments are available to pay tuition. We know many families trying to figure out how to squeeze $15-20,000 of out their household budgets without cutting. In most cases, it can't be done. They will miss the top cell phone plans, the Cable TV programming, and the lavish vacations. We won't because we never had them. If they have the same income, they will have to cut back to a level below what we enjoy, because we have savings to pay part of the price, and they don't.

    I'm not ecstatic about D's financial aid offers, but they are workable. Many of her classmates have few options, and will end up in debt because their families didn't save. And I see it being much worse, because when they graduate they will have loans to pay off, but will expect to still live the same lifestyle. I hope their parents don't downsize, because they're going to need those bedrooms again.
  • MomzieMomzie Posts: 4
    edited May 2013
    JT, your advice is unworkable. You must be REALLY OLD, for one thing. My kids weren't even born until WAY after 1992, and we bought our houses at the height of the market, as most folks on here did. Telling us we should have done something when we were still in our 20's isn't exactly useful. The people feeling squeezed here are the people who didn't get any home equity in the first place. Our house is now worth considerably less than we bought it for.
  • 2collegewego2collegewego Posts: 24
    edited May 2013
    Momzie, JT's advice is spot on. His advice was to save. His personal example was that he saved out of home equity. If the housing market wasn't cooperative in your building years or your market-- because even in the great recession, people with home equity in NYC didn't see the declines many of us did-- that doesn't negate the basic fact that people fail to save.

    For most people who are truly middle income ($40-$60K), saving sticker price for a private live-away college is probably not realistic. But most of them could save something. I am ecstatic about my kid's scholarship and financial aid offer. It is very generous. That said, it doesn't meet FAFSA efc but I never expected it to do so. If parents expect their kids to go to college, they need to realize that they will probably have to help that happen and if they can save *something,* that something may make a difference.
  • jtmoneyjtmoney Posts: 12 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    Ouch. I guess I was old even in 1992. Obviously I got lucky to suck out some money from a house sale back then, not likely to happen now. The point is that when we had children, we planned for their college by starting to save some money for it. We were not and never will be rich, I have plenty of debts, but the kids had some options for college. At the time I thought they had a ton of money, with tuition inflation it wasn't as much as we thought. Momzie you are right, and my advice is aimed at people who probably are not reading this. However, for those of you with small children, look again at your budget and use some of that disposable income and start a college fund, you won't regret it.
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