LACs that are generous with merit aid.`

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: LACs that are generous with merit aid.`
By Tkdgal (Tkdgal) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:04 pm: Edit

My parents have decided that I should add one more school to my college list - one that will give me merit aid. I am really only considering LACs, and my stats are halfway decent but not amazing. My only other requirement includes that the school must not be in "the middle of nowhere," aka a rural area. For reference,

1440 SAT1
800/710/TBD SAT2
3.6 UW, 3.98 W
Strong, different EC's
A couple of awards

Thank you so much.

By Achat (Achat) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:12 pm: Edit

Smith offers generous merit aid.

By Achat (Achat) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:14 pm: Edit

Susan (soozievt) and Mini's daughter's have gotten generous merit aid. Susan's daughter decided not to go there but..I think it's called Stride scholar and it entails participating in research as well.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:15 pm: Edit

Try these: The College of Wooster (Ohio), Denison (Ohio), Trinity College (CT), Trinity University (Texas), Southwestern University (Texas), Goucher (Maryland), Wheaton (Mass.), Lawrence U (Wisc),
Beloit (Wisc.), Lewis & Clark (Oregon), Whitman (Washington), Occidental (Calif.), U of Redlands (Calif.), Knox College (Illinois).

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:33 pm: Edit

Tkdgal, I am familiar with Southwestern and it has a very clear procedure for determining your institutional merit award. Amazingly understandable, of course it is only 90 miles from home and D won't think of it. Try Hendrix, one of Carolyn's suggestions for my D. Nice school, we visited and were pleased.

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:37 pm: Edit

Tkdgal. can I ask what schools are presently on your list? As far as Lac's Grinnell and Furman top D's list.

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:46 pm: Edit

When I first read your post I thought it said you wanted rural. Sorry. What schools have you liked except that they are too rural? Those are the one's my d is likely to love. For Southwestern read Austin, for Hendrix read Little Rock. Also Rhodes (Memphis) or maybe Millsaps(Jackson). Or how about U of Tulsa (uhhhh, Tulsa)? or even TCU (Ft. Worth) very LAC feeling to me. Two sals ago got a full-ride +. As you can tell, I have a lot more for you than her.

By Tkdgal (Tkdgal) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:49 pm: Edit

Currently I am looking at Swarthmore, Haverford, Wesleyan, Pomona, Macalester, Carleton, Occidental, Reed, and Sarah Lawrence. Maybe remove one or two reaches, maybe add a safer safety. Not quite sure yet.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 04:54 pm: Edit

Why do your parents insist that you add a school that includes merit aid? I am wondering whether they have concerns that even at colleges giving generous need-based aid, your costs of college would still be more than they are willing to bear.

I suggest that you find out their reasons. If $ is a big issue for them, you may find yourself in April having to choose the best bidder. If you've set your heart on a college that, for instance, offers only need-based aid and you don't qualify for that, you may have to turn down a much wanted admission.

It's far better to clarify financial issues with parents before applying to college than after those acceptances are in hand.

If it ends up that your parents' financial concerns mean that it's realistic only for you consider colleges where you're likely to get generous merit aid, now is the time to know that. This way, you could make your college applications only to such colleges.

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 05:43 pm: Edit

I do know that Pomona gives amazing aid as does Macalester and Occidental. I don't know much about the others on your list. Also you never know what a college will provide. We were lucky that Pomona worked with us and made it possible for my son to attend. We had my son apply to Emory as they are known for having a huge endowment. We got nothing so it is good to apply, try to read up on who gives good aid but in reality you do not really know until you try. My daughter will apply to many schools all regular decision as with 2 in school reality means she needs some assistance. The more schools she applies to the better her chances of getting some aid,We are trying to do our homework but you just never know. I understand where her parents are coming from. What about adding Claremont McKenna. It is slightly easier then Pomona to get into, another great school for aid.

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 06:05 pm: Edit

When you are talking about aid at Pomona, or Scripps, or Mudd, or CMC, or P, what are we talking about? Need only but generous packages? small % of merit scholars (like Chicago appears to be)+ need? or larger #'s of merit recipients?What? and Northstarmom is batting a thousand again.

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 06:18 pm: Edit

Tkdgal, I have been flipping through my charts and I don't think that other safety idea is a bad one. What do others think about her list and 3.6 1440? I don't have the experience to judge accurately so don't assume that I am saying anything is skewed.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 07:48 pm: Edit

Swarthmore's merit aid is only for those from the Delaware Peninsula and 3 counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Other colleges may have some specific merit aid available based on critera like this, but in general the most highly selective colleges say they don't give merit aid, only need-based aid. This is what Swarthmore's web-site says about merit aid:

Q: Do you have merit-based scholarships?
A: Most of our funds are distributed on the basis of a family's financial situation but, each year a few scholarships are available on the basis of merit alone through our McCabe Scholarship program. These awards provide a minimum annual grant to cover tuition. No aid application and no separate application form is necessary. McCabe Scholars are chosen during the admission process and all admission applicants from the Delaware Penninsula and from Delaware County, Chester County and Montgomery County in Pennsylvania.

I know Reed doesn't give merit aid, although their need based package was pretty generous.
Carleton does give aid to National Merit Scholars ( $2,000)
This article might give you some additional colleges that offer merit aid.

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit

Pomona is need based only BUT they will give to folks in middle, even upper middle class. CMC has a small merit based award plus great needbased

By Willywonka (Willywonka) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 01:29 am: Edit

I hate how they call it the Delaware Peninsula; just nit-picking. If it has to have a name, it's Delmarva, and I can assure you Delaware plays a very small role in it at any rate. :P

But oh yes, although I know it's highly unlikely that I will be the "best" Swat applicant from the area, it would be wonderful.

By Par72 (Par72) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 01:53 am: Edit

Holy Cross offers generous merit aid packages.

By Tkdgal (Tkdgal) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 11:18 am: Edit

My parents are fairly wealthy, and we are pretty sure that we won't be offered any need-based aid. However, I am the first of six kids and my parents want me to have the option of attending a less expensive option should anything happen within the next year, or if they decide they can't afford to pay over 150,000 dollars for my college education.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

By Mini (Mini) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

Smith's merit aid is limited. They offer 5 or 6 "Zollman's", their top scholarship, which is half tuition plus a research assistantship, as below.

There are 45 or so STRIDES. These are $2,500/year for four years, but the best part is that in adddition, they include paid research assistantships for the first two years (an additional $1,700 a year.

They have 2 or 3 full tuition engineering scholarships, and a few tied to the Springfield/Northampton area.

We found Bard and Mount Holyoke very generous in merit aid.. For us, however, it didn't make much difference that way, as our financial need was great enough, that we needed very substantial needbased aid on top of whatever merit aid was offered. What amazed us, however, were the differences in needbased aid from "meet full need" schools based on the same FASFA. They varied by as much as $12k a year ($48k over 4 years), with loans running from $0 to $17.9k.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 12:22 pm: Edit

Csbballstardad, what about Austin College in Sherman? I know several kids that go there, but nothing about merit aid. The kids I know either qualified for need based or were able to pay full ride.

Son's friend got merit for Hendrix.

By Tkdgal (Tkdgal) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 02:19 pm: Edit

How safe does a safety have to be? First Alexandre told me that Oxy wasn't safe enough. After some thought, I agreed and added Sarah Lawrence to the list. The SAT range there is 1140-1340, putting me 100 pts over their 75% range. I know my average is a "meager" 91.3, but how far ahead of the "stats" do I have to be? I don't want to comprimise the level of intellectualism on a campus by applying to a school where my scores are 200 pts over the 75% level. I'm really sort of confused about this.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 02:35 pm: Edit

Rememeber, to meet your parents' needs, you have to pick a safety that also would be likely to offer you merit aid. You should check to make sure your stats are in the top 25% and check to make sure that the school offers merit aid. Often one can check the school's web pages to find profiles of students who received substantial merit aid. See how your stats match up.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 02:37 pm: Edit

In general, I think being 100 points above the 75th percentile with a 40+ percent acceptance rate should make Sarah Lawrence and Occidental pretty safe bets. For a non-hook applicant, my rule of thumb is that below the 75th percentile is a reach, at the 75th percentile is a match, above the 75th percentile is tending towards safety.

The only caveat would be that I don't have any feel for any admissions peculiarities at either school and I hate to make assessments without knowing the totality of the application. For example, the same exact stats might be a stone-cold safety with a standout EC interest and less of a sure-bet with plain vanilla application for a "high personality" college. That's where a bit of "judgement call" comes into play. I am particularly unqualified to predict California schools because the admissions landscape is statistically quite different there due to the make-up of the AP-crazed magnet school applicant pool and the impact of the bargain priced, high quality UC system.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 03:18 pm: Edit

I just checked Sarah Lawrence's web site and saw no indication that they offer non need-based merit aid. They offer some merit scholarships, but only to students with financial need. Checking the web sites for this info is something you definitely should do before deciding on a safety.

By Tkdgal (Tkdgal) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 03:22 pm: Edit

Ok, thanks Northstarmom. I am looking into more schools on Carolyn's list.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 05:27 pm: Edit

Occidental places a VERY big emphasis on racial diversity. If the OP is white, I think Alexandre may be correct about not considering it a safety school. Just my opinion based on what I've seen in the past few years at Oxy.

Hendrix is a great little school --- but it is in Arkansas. They have been offering tremendous merit packages the past few years in order to build their geographic diversity. For instance, a student here on CC this past year with stats similar to the OP was offered a merit package at Hendrix that meant only paying $2,000 a year. That should satisfy any merit-aid hungry parent...however, I do think it's good advice for the OP to have a talk with his/her parents about why they are putting so much emphasis on merit aid. What can they really afford if NO merit aid at a suitable school comes through???? As Northstarmom already said, it would be horrible to have to sell out to the highest bidder come May.

By Tkdgal (Tkdgal) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 06:21 pm: Edit

It's not a big emphasis. I am applying early to Swarthmore and plan on attending if accepted. I do not expect any aid. We are thinking more along the lines of, what if a family tragedy were to occur? What if someone were to need an expensive medical procedure? What if something catastrophic happened at my dad's company? We are thinking along the lines of, "financial backup." We have had a long talk about this, and my parents understand where I would really like to go to school. But in a worst-case scenario, I should have a financial "out," I think.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 06:33 pm: Edit

I can't remember where you are from, but the state university Honor program can be a very good financial safety.

By Tkdgal (Tkdgal) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 08:45 pm: Edit

I'm from NJ, but I really don't like Rutgers. I'm considering TCNJ - it is much nicer and more personal, from what I can tell :)

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 09:17 pm: Edit

>> I'm from NJ, but I really don't like Rutgers.

I understand. We're kind of in the same boat here in Massachusetts. At least you don't have a mob boss's brother as President of the state university system like we did.

Ah, the joys of patronage and corruption. Makes me pround of my state to have the brother of the Senate President and, later, President of UMass, on the FBI's most wanted list.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 10:06 pm: Edit

Tkdgal, the advice I give most families who want merit aid is to get a copy of the big USN&WR Ultimate College Guide. In the front of the book is a chart of the school giving financial and merit aid. You look for colleges that look interesting to you and then look them up in the book. You look for a school that gives a percentage of merit awards that are higher than where you would fall in their stats. For instance if a school gives 30% merit awards and you are just at the upper 25% of their stats, it is not a real good bet unless you have a strong hook there. A school that gives 40% merit awards with a good sized average award and you are well in the upper 10-15% of their numbers, you will probably get a nice offer. This makes a good starting point for searching for merit awards.

I understand that this info is online at the USN&WR site as well for a fee. You still have to check each school out on its own website as infor changes and there are some errors in that list but it is a good resource.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 10:41 pm: Edit

Jamimom, I totally agree. The USN"&WR book is the best source of quick information for financial aid out there. What I particularly like is that they use each schools common data set to report information. It's generally much more accurate than other guidebooks.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 10:44 pm: Edit

Tkdgal- TCNJ is a good financial safety, with or without merit aid. If you're sure you'd be happy there, no need, in my opinion, to add another financial safety in a "worst case scenario" You have a great list of schools right now!

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 02:33 pm: Edit

tdkgal: You being the first of six, all presumably going to college, could result in your parents having to provide a million dollars for the combined educations. Theirs to say, not mine, but you may want to rethink the liberal arts college limitation.

There are a number of smaller universities that are several times the size of liberal arts colleges - say 3000 - 6000 students instead of 1500-2000, but that offer excellent educations and merit scholarships to students with your stats. They all are in urban areas.

I'm speaking about schools such as Brandeis (outside Boston), Washington U. (St. Louis), Carnegie-Mellon (Pittsburgh), Emory (Atlanta). Here in California we have the University of San Francisco (which is a Jesuit school). With your stats you should qualify for a merit scholarship of $ 10-15,000 at each of these, putting a nice dent in the educational cost.

Elsewhere on this board you will find other discussions of merit scholarships. Do some roaming around.

By Outwest5 (Outwest5) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit

Mills College in Oakland offers large merits.

By Oldman (Oldman) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 02:16 pm: Edit

Tulane gives out merit aid if you're willing to go to a bigger place.

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 02:46 pm: Edit

Tulane actually gives very generous merit aid. We have a student going there at full ride. My son was saying that he wished he had applied!

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