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#1 Hot Lava Mama

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 07:46 PM

Can someone explain to me how we find out about all the scholarships out there.  Ds is just starting 11th and we are starting to look at possible colleges.  How do we find out about scholarships he may be eligible for?  Does he need to be accepted into a college first?  How does all that work?  He took the ACT last month and did very well.  He can still take in again to get over-the-top-super-high scores since he has all of his 11th grade year and the following summer to study more.  Does stuff just start appearing in our mailbox because of his scores?  How do we find out about other ones that may not be grade/score related?

Thanks

Hot Lava Mama

 



#2 JanetC

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 08:31 PM

There are many different kinds of scholarships:

1. The National Merit Scholarship depends on your junior year PSAT and senior year SAT scores. If you aren't taking the PSAT, you aren't eligible. Odds of getting a large, national scholarship are about equal to getting into an ivy league school. Everyone competing is a straight-A student, etc.

2. There are local scholarships such as your local Rotary clubs, etc. The best way to find these is to get on the high school's email list, if they have one. Most of these are for small amounts, $500-2000, and only for one year. Will not cover expenses at a private school, but can certainly make a dent in state school expenses, particularly if you can live at home. If you are eligible for aid from a college, the amounts of these scholarships will often be deducted from the aid offer from the college (usually subsidized loans first, then grants, but sometimes half-and-half). A school that lets you keep your scholarships while still keeping your school aid is one that "allows stacking" of scholarships. Unless you are applying to schools that will stack scholarships, the net gain from winning these types of awards may be small.

3. The largest source of money will be "merit aid" from the colleges themselves. Schools vary widely on their merit aid policies. Some if it will depend on your "stats" (test scores, grades), some on character (community service, etc.), some on institutional needs (need to fill that Medieval German program), some on desirability of the school (the proverbial liberal arts college in the middle of the cornfields will need to offer more scholarships to lure students than a school in a more fabulous location), and some on the student's demonstrated interest (application submitted early, came out for a visit and interview, otherwise not a "stealth" applicant). In other words, it's not all about "true" merit. I suggest reading a couple of blogs to start learning more about merit aid: thecollegesolution.com and diycollegerankings.com. A good quick-read on merit aid is to look up the college at a site like collegedata.com and see what percent of students are receiving institutional aid. If 90% of the students are getting aid, this is a school that gives a lot of merit awards.

4. Very highly selective schools (such as Harvard, Stanford, etc.) will not offer merit aid, but will offer good need-based aid. If you can afford your EFC, you will probably only have to pay that amount at a highly selective school if you get in. The college board has an EFC estimator here: https://bigfuture.co...tion-calculatorIf you cannot afford your EFC (and the financial aid office's idea of what you can afford is often laughably high!), then you should focus on schools that give merit aid if you can.

5 The junk mail comes if you check the box on the registration form allowing the testing company to share your name and address. Getting junk mail does not mean the school is trying to recruit you! Schools move up in the rankings by getting more students to apply so that they can reject them. Junk mail is not the greatest way to find your dream school! Plan to spend time on websites adn reading guide books, too.

Good luck!
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#3 J-rap

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 10:12 PM

We had no idea how that worked either, until my daughter began the process.  She was suddenly receiving letters saying, "Congratulations!  You have been awarded the President's Award" etc.  We were so confused because she hadn't even applied!  It turns out that it is very common.  Once you apply and are accepted, then usually within a month or two the student will get a letter stating that she has been awarded some kind of merit scholarship.  (So note:  my daughter didn't receive those scholarship congratulation letters until after she was accepted.)

 

After that, you might receive other scholarship letters from the school like we did:  "Congratulations!  You have been awarded the Early Acceptance Scholarship!" etc.  Again, ones we didn't even know about!  It was so fun to get those.

 

Then, we began learning about the individual departmental scholarships, such as music, fine arts, math, science, etc.  They are often worth another $2500-$5000/year for the duration.  You apply for each of those individually.

 

That's how you'll most likely get the bulk of your scholarships.  Apart from that, there might be local scholarships that your community offers (you should be able to check through your school district, even if you child doesn't go there), and random national scholarships (I heard there are ones for left-handed students!).  My kids got a few local scholarships but they never amounted to much.  It was the college's merit and departmental scholarships that really made the difference for us.


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#4 Lori D.

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 12:29 AM

Can someone explain to me how we find out about all the scholarships out there… How do we find out about scholarships he may be eligible for?  Does he need to be accepted into a college first?

 

Post #5 of "Preparing for college, what scholarships/grants to apply for?" is a great starting place -- it is an overview of the scholarship search process.

 

You can research the colleges you are interested in to find out how much money they have to give away in scholarships (see College Data website). You won't know specifically what scholarships a specific college would give YOU until:

 

1. you fill out the FAFSA*

2. you actually apply to the college (fill out the application form, pay the application fee, send in all required documents)

3. sometime later, the college lets you know if you have been accepted

4. and sometime later after THAT, the college sends you a financial aid package**, which lists the package of loans, grants, and scholarships they will offer you.

5. there are often other scholarships to specific degree programs or with other specific requirements that you apply for separately; these are usually listed on a "scholarships" page on the university's website -- search for these online with something like: "(name of university) scholarships", or, "scholarship list for (name of university)"; then you apply for these individually, following the guidelines and requirements for each scholarship you are eligible for

 

* = FAFSA generates an EFC number (estimated family contribution), which is used to determine financial NEED; this is the number that is used by the federal government to determine if you are eligible for work study, PELL grants, or other free federal aid; it is also the number that colleges use to plug into their financial aid equation to determine if you are eligible for financial need scholarships from the college

 

** = financial aid package is based on the financial aid equation:

COA — EFC = Financial Need

(cost of attending the college = tuition + room & board + books + additional expenses MINUS what the federal gov't says your family is able to contribute towards college costs EQUALS the amount of financial need)

 

Colleges offer a financial aid package to cover some or all of this amount of NEED in the form of: LOANS (offered to everyone) + federal work study (if need-eligible) + federal grants (if need-eligible) + scholarships (if need-eligible and/or merit-eligible)

 

 

I also recommend  post #5 of the big pinned thread at the top of the high school board: "Transcripts, Credits… Scholarships/Financial Aid… past threads linked here!" -- *loads* of links to very helpful past threads on scholarships.

 

 

Can someone explain to me how we find out about all the scholarships out there…  How does all that work?

 

To understand scholarships, you have to understand that they are just one piece of the big financial aid "pie" -- here's a helpful financial aid overview article from Forbes by Troy Onink.

 

There are several types of financial aid to be aware of:

- loans = money that must be paid back, with interest; almost everyone is offered loans

- grants = money given by the federal gov't or state gov't that does NOT get paid back; these are awarded based on financial need

- work-study = money given by the federal gov't in exchange for student work hours put in at the college; awarded based on financial need

- scholarships = money given to the student based on financial need OR on merit OR on special qualifications*

 

* = qualifications such as: sports/arts performance; volunteering; extracurriculars; member of a specific union, club, or organization; race / gender / ethnicity; disability; cancer survivor/parent died; foster child; first generation college student; etc.

 

Over 95% of all scholarships are awarded through the school the student attends. This is called "inside" money -- awarded from within the school. Most of these scholarships are offered to the student in the financial aid package offer given to the student after the student applies to the college. There are some additional scholarships with special conditions/requirements that can be found by doing a search of the college's website -- look for a "scholarships" page.

 

Under 5% of all scholarships are awarded by local, state, and national businesses, organizations or groups. This is called "outside" money -- awarded from outside of the school. Outside scholarships are found through:

- scholarship lists from your local public high school college counseling office

- local businesses, organizations, etc.

- online websites (FastWeb; Scholarships 4 Students)

- resource books at the library -- examples: Kaplan Scholarships: Billions of Dollars of Free Money for College (Schlachter), or, Peterson's Scholarships, Grants & Prizes

 

 

He took the ACT last month and did very well...Does stuff just start appearing in our mailbox because of his scores?

 

Alas, no one comes to you to offer you money. ;) If DS checked the boxes on the PSAT, SAT, or ACT tests that say "yes, I'd would like information from colleges", then he will get promotional materials from schools mailed to him. The higher the scores, the more schools, and the more prestigious the schools. But that's just the school trying to attract your attention to apply to that school -- it is NO indication of any actual scholarship money awards.

 

 

How do we find out about other ones that may not be grade/score related?

 
Also see this thread, on alternatives for funding college: "s/o: Cautionary Tale/high college costs -- a brainstorm $$ ideas thread!" -- there are some tuition reimbursement scholarships listed in that thread, as well as ideas such as:
- AP tests, CLEP tests, and/or dual enrollment while still in high school -- can knock out 1-2 semesters worth of college before graduating
- take gen. ed. credits at a cheaper community college, then transfer, only needing 2 years at the more expensive university
- studying abroad (often cheaper or even free tuition)
- free tuition colleges
- tuition-exchange programs (pay in-state rates at out-of-state colleges)
 
BEST of luck as you put on your guidance counselor/administrator hat!  :hat:  Warmest regards, Lori D.

 


Edited by Lori D., 14 October 2016 - 04:27 PM.

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#5 G5052

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 06:51 AM

Yes, dig and ask and dig and ask. Some are automatic and some require an application. Make sure that you note the deadlines.

 

We got decent merit aid at the two "reaches" that my oldest applied to, but the finances were still a concern for us. The reality is that pure merit aid may not be as much as you'd hope for. And it does vary a lot between schools.

 

In the end, my oldest decided that he wanted to go locally, and he got a nice merit scholarship there. I didn't think that his chances were that great because they primarily have need-based scholarships, and all scholarships there are just annual. But this spring we'll do the application again and also go for a local scholarship in his major that a professor told him about. Even though the cost of going locally is reasonable for us, having merit aid has helped with books, supplies, and extras that I was concerned about on top of tuition.


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#6 Hot Lava Mama

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 07:27 PM



5 The junk mail comes if you check the box on the registration form allowing the testing company to share your name and address. Getting junk mail does not mean the school is trying to recruit you! Schools move up in the rankings by getting more students to apply so that they can reject them. Junk mail is not the greatest way to find your dream school! Plan to spend time on websites adn reading guide books, too.

Good luck!

 

Thank you JanetC for all the great information and web sites!  I will search those out.  This (#5) is also good to know!  I appreciate your help!

Hot Lava Mama

 



#7 Hot Lava Mama

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 07:31 PM

Thank you J-rap, Lori D and G5052 for all the information, also!  I have some reading to do!

 

It is a real bummer that we can't find out what scholarships he will get until he get accepted, but I guess there isn't really any other way of doing it.  I take it there are a lot of college kids that get accepted to schools but then have to refuse because they can't afford it if they don't get enough scholarships.  That is a real bummer!

 

I really appreciate everyone's help!

Hot Lava Mama



#8 Hot Lava Mama

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 07:52 PM


 

 
 

Alas, no one comes to you to offer you money. ;)

 

:)  Bummer!  :)

 

But, but, but, but....can't they see how stressed I am about how we are going to pay for it!  (Doing pouty face and slumpy shoulders).  Please!  (on my knees, begging)  Please, oh money god, bring us some moola!

 

:)

Sheryl



#9 G5052

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 09:48 PM

:)  Bummer!  :)

 

But, but, but, but....can't they see how stressed I am about how we are going to pay for it!  (Doing pouty face and slumpy shoulders).  Please!  (on my knees, begging)  Please, oh money god, bring us some moola!

 

:)

Sheryl

 

Well, there are many paths to success, believe me.

 

My last full-time professional position was 15 years after I got my B.S. from an "upper middle" school. I also had an M.S. from another "upper middle" that I took after I ditched my dissertation. 

 

And my counterpart in that position had a degree from a military academy and a PhD from MIT. We were the exact same age, same title, and same salary. When there was a layoff, we both lost our jobs.

 

No difference at that point despite one having a more prestigious educational path than the other. 

 

Naturally your mileage may vary...



#10 Lori D.

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:22 PM

It is a real bummer that we can't find out what scholarships he will get until he get accepted, but I guess there isn't really any other way of doing it.  I take it there are a lot of college kids that get accepted to schools but then have to refuse because they can't afford it if they don't get enough scholarships.  That is a real bummer!

 

While you can't know for sure what scholarships will be offered to you before applying, running your financial numbers through a college's net price calculator will help you get a feel for whether or not a school is going to be a financial possibility for your family.

 

Another tip: compare your students ACT/SAT scores with a college's admission statistics info to find out how much money they have to give away in scholarships (see College Data website), and also look at what the average ACT/SAT test score is of incoming freshmen -- if your student's ACT/SAT scores place your student in the top 10%, or even better, top 5%, of incoming freshmen, there's a much better chance of being offered a larger amount of merit aid, as your student's scores boost the school's statistics favorably. In general, from what I am seeing on these boards, if you have a good student with good test scores, the student will likely be offered scholarships that amount to about 25%-50% of tuition and fees. Full tuition scholarships do happen, but pretty infrequently. Being awarded money to cover the other costs of attendance is more difficult (unless you qualify for grants or work-study, or get outside scholarships).

 

And when calculating costs and whether or not you can afford a school, be sure you're basing your financial calculations on COA (Cost of Attendance) and not JUST tuition:

 

FINANCIAL AID EQUATION:

COA - EFC = Need

(Cost of Attendance MINUS Estimated Family Contribution EQUALS Financial Need)

 

Cost of Attendance (per year costs are typical of state universities)

$10,000-$15,000  = tuition & fees 

$5,000-$10,000    = room & board *   

$500-750 (or more)   = books & supplies *

$500+                   = transportation *  

$500-1500 (or more) = incidentals *   

$16,500-$28,000 per year 

 

* = NOT typically covered by inside scholarships; MAY be partially to completely covered by grants, work-study, or other scholarships

 

EFC

fill out the FAFSA form, which yields the EFC** (Estimated Family Contribution) portion of the Financial Aid equation

- NOT based on how much you have saved, or what YOU think you can afford

- gov't and colleges expect that you HAVE been saving, and that you will use current income and assets for college

- gov't and colleges expect that you will take out parent loans to cover any shortfall in this EFC

 

** = see this chart for figuring out a quick, rough estimate of your EFC, and what kinds of schools you will qualify for financial need with that EFC
 

Financial Need

- colleges use the EFC amount and subtract it from their COA to come up with your Financial Need amount

- colleges meet 60-100% of this Need amount through offering a financial aid package

- the financial aid package will be an offer of a combination of: loans + work-study + grants + scholarships

- any portion of financial need NOT met by the financial aid package must be covered by the family — usually in the form of additional student loans and/or parent loans, but possibly by parent income/assets, or from "outside" grants/scholarships — this is IN ADDITION TO the EFC amount that colleges expect families to pay

 

 

But, but, but, but....can't they see how stressed I am about how we are going to pay for it!  (Doing pouty face and slumpy shoulders).  Please!  (on my knees, begging)  Please, oh money god, bring us some moola!

 

MONEY GOD to Sheryl:

"Get thee to the threads on ideas for funding college and lookest thou at thy many options, and beginnest now thy research for what workest best for THY family!!"  :tongue_smilie:

 

"s/o: Cautionary Tale/high college costs -- a brainstorm $$ ideas thread!"

College Xpress list of colleges that "go the extra mile to make it financially possible to attend"

 

 


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#11 Teachin'Mine

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 08:12 AM

:lol:

 

... at Lori's suggestion, not your situation!


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#12 katilac

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 09:27 AM

Thank you J-rap, Lori D and G5052 for all the information, also!  I have some reading to do!

 

It is a real bummer that we can't find out what scholarships he will get until he get accepted, but I guess there isn't really any other way of doing it.  I take it there are a lot of college kids that get accepted to schools but then have to refuse because they can't afford it if they don't get enough scholarships.  That is a real bummer!

 

I really appreciate everyone's help!

Hot Lava Mama

 

Some schools do have a scholarship matrix that lets you know what you will get if you have a certain score and GPA, plus meet the priority deadline. Here are a few we have encountered: 

 

University of Alabama

University of Alabama at Huntsville 

Louisiana State University 

Loyola University of New Orleans

Spring Hill College 

 

and I am sure there are many more. 

 

All of these schools have additional competitive scholarships as well, which you have to wait to find out about, but it's very nice to know ahead of time if the guaranteed scholarship gets you within shouting distance. 


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#13 Luckymama

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 11:17 AM

Thank you J-rap, Lori D and G5052 for all the information, also!  I have some reading to do!
 
It is a real bummer that we can't find out what scholarships he will get until he get accepted, but I guess there isn't really any other way of doing it.  I take it there are a lot of college kids that get accepted to schools but then have to refuse because they can't afford it if they don't get enough scholarships.  That is a real bummer!
 
I really appreciate everyone's help!
Hot Lava Mama

  

Some schools do have a scholarship matrix that lets you know what you will get if you have a certain score and GPA, plus meet the priority deadline. Here are a few we have encountered: 
 
University of Alabama
University of Alabama at Huntsville 
Louisiana State University 
Loyola University of New Orleans
Spring Hill College 
 
and I am sure there are many more. 
 
All of these schools have additional competitive scholarships as well, which you have to wait to find out about, but it's very nice to know ahead of time if the guaranteed scholarship gets you within shouting distance.


Here is a compilation of automatic full tuition and full ride scholarships, based solely on stats http://automaticfull...on.yolasite.com Many of these schools have lower levels of merit money for lower stats.

I stumbled across a Utah State merit scholarship matrix (one for in-state, one for out-of-state) yesterday. That's one I hadn't seen before!
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#14 regentrude

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 11:26 AM

Not sure whether this has been mentioned by any of the previous posters:

 

often, the college will reduce its own aid by the amount of outside scholarship money the student brings in. So, depending on the college, it may not make sense to have the student spend time and effort in applying for outside scholarships, as he won't see a penny of it - it will all effectively go to the college.

Something to watch out for.

 

As said before, the best scholarship offers come form the colleges themselves.


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#15 teachermom2834

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 12:25 PM

Some schools do have a scholarship matrix that lets you know what you will get if you have a certain score and GPA, plus meet the priority deadline. Here are a few we have encountered: 

 

University of Alabama

University of Alabama at Huntsville 

Louisiana State University 

Loyola University of New Orleans

Spring Hill College 

 

and I am sure there are many more. 

 

All of these schools have additional competitive scholarships as well, which you have to wait to find out about, but it's very nice to know ahead of time if the guaranteed scholarship gets you within shouting distance. 

If you don't mind pointing me in the direction of the Spring Hill College matrix I would be appreciative.  I have looked and googled all over for it but I can't find anything.  Ds did apply there last week.  His stats are high for there and he did apply with the idea that he might get merit aid.  



#16 Kareni

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 12:55 PM

Not sure whether this has been mentioned by any of the previous posters:

 

often, the college will reduce its own aid by the amount of outside scholarship money the student brings in. So, depending on the college, it may not make sense to have the student spend time and effort in applying for outside scholarships, as he won't see a penny of it - it will all effectively go to the college.

Something to watch out for.

 

As said before, the best scholarship offers come form the colleges themselves.

 

Yes, this was true at my daughter's college.

 

Regards,

Kareni



#17 Miss Marple

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 12:57 PM

If he knows what he wants to major in, he can search for organizations that support that industry.  My oldest entered college with a scholarship from a local society of petroleum engineers.  


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#18 katilac

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 02:20 PM

If you don't mind pointing me in the direction of the Spring Hill College matrix I would be appreciative.  I have looked and googled all over for it but I can't find anything.  Ds did apply there last week.  His stats are high for there and he did apply with the idea that he might get merit aid.  

 

I don't think they have it online, and I can't put my hands on the paper they gave us. 

 

It's included in their net cost calculator, though, you just have to put in GPA and ACT or SAT score. It's very quick - once you get your first results, scroll down and click on "return to survey" and you can go back and change just those items, it will remember the other stuff. 


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#19 katilac

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 02:48 PM

If you don't mind pointing me in the direction of the Spring Hill College matrix I would be appreciative.  I have looked and googled all over for it but I can't find anything.  Ds did apply there last week.  His stats are high for there and he did apply with the idea that he might get merit aid.  

 

And we did visit, so feel free to ask any questions if you haven't yet. 


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#20 teachermom2834

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 03:08 PM

And we did visit, so feel free to ask any questions if you haven't yet.


Thank you!! We did visit when ds was a 9th grader just because we were at the beach nearby and were starting to think about college. It is not his top choice but has remained in the back of our minds as a safety school. I will ask if I think of anything. I do remember it being pretty!

 

ETA:  I did just run the net price calculator and saw the automatic scholarship on there.  Thanks!