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Old 09-01-2016, 11:23 AM   #81
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My son was a National Merit Scholar (finalist) and his reward was a one time $2,000 scholarship (which was actually paid by my MegaCorp employer). I'm unaware of any "full rides" given to National Merit Scholars by that organization itself. This was back in '92 and I'm not informed on changes since then. Perhaps if there had been any "need" involved, the award would have been larger. Dunno.

Maybe it was a one time thing... did not ask him...


But, I had read that Oklahoma used to offer full ride for NMS.... we had two guys who bet on which of their universities had more of them... and at the time Oklahoma had more than almost all universities...
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Old 09-01-2016, 11:42 AM   #82
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Certain state schools will give National Merit finalists "free rides" and that often includes room (and sometimes board). My son had tuition, room, and board at LSU (they might not offer this anymore). My daughter got tuition and room at Univ of Alabama. Arkansas also gives considerable merit aid. The PSAT is kind of a crapshoot--I believe the top 300 tests in each state get finalist status. Even without Nat. Merit, extremely high test scores will net substantial merit aid at certain schools.

Ivies and top Lib Arts schools do not care if you have National Merit. Neither does UT Austin or Rice. Schools are trying to get high achieving students they wouldn't otherwise attract. So if you have good test scores--like top 5%--you need to check out schools that want the student in order to raise their own stats. Some state schools will give out of state students with high scores in-state tuition. But some of the schools on the lists--like Reed and NYU--offer little if any merit aid. You generally have to target schools where your student is well above the students who attend.

My children chose the free option and both had good experiences. We have been able to use the money we earmarked for college for post-college experiences. No regrets.
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Old 09-01-2016, 11:46 AM   #83
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Maybe it was a one time thing... did not ask him...


But, I had read that Oklahoma used to offer full ride for NMS.... we had two guys who bet on which of their universities had more of them... and at the time Oklahoma had more than almost all universities...
Oklahoma still has a FANTASTIC program for OOS and in-state National Merit scholars. Unused funds can even be used towards graduate/professional school programs at Oklahoma. Alabama is another university that has remarkable offers.

And some universities (like the University of California) offer nothing or some minimal amount. You have to shop.
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Old 09-01-2016, 01:54 PM   #84
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Overall we paid about 400K for private schools for DH's girls. Assets count much less than income. On daughter #2, we stopped working when she was a soph. The final 2 years she got 40K each year! (tuition R&B were about 63K).

Also, even if you make money, have assets, apply anyway. The girls got 5K each year in loans, and jobs (easy) that paid another 5K. Does not sound like much when you are paying more than 60K, but it adds up.

My son went to state school as I had just married DH and had no idea his income would count....I could not afford to send him to more expensive school on my own and really couldn't expect my new husband to pay for him. (He did not expect me to contribute to his girls either, he did it on his own).

It's tough.
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:14 PM   #85
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Certain state schools will give National Merit finalists "free rides" and that often includes room (and sometimes board).
The one my daughter interviewed for was a state school. Apparently something like one in three got the full-ride. But she really didn't want to go to that particular school. Maybe that showed in the interview.

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Also, even if you make money, have assets, apply anyway. The girls got 5K each year in loans, and jobs (easy) that paid another 5K. Does not sound like much when you are paying more than 60K, but it adds up.
The federal work study jobs are great for students because that can be their pocket cash. And the loans without interest until graduation are nice. But the best are the "institutional grants", which are basically just discounts off of your overall college bill. But I agree, everybody should fill-out the FAFSA (and PROFILE, if the school want's it) for at least the first year.
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Any advice on college aid with substantial assets?
Old 09-06-2016, 07:02 PM   #86
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Any advice on college aid with substantial assets?

If you are financially responsible, LBYM, and saved diligently in 529 plans for your kids, you will find filling out the FAFSA in subsequent years a futile waste of time. Fill it out year one just to see, but most likely you will just get the standard offer for grants and loans you most likely don't want. The real prizes are academic scholarship aid. Advanced courses, good genes, HS classes in all honors and AP courses in hopes of scoring in the top 5-10 percentile will get you scholarships. Each year there is a corresponding ACT score that correlates to the upper 5% of scores. Last year that number was a 32 on the overall ACT. Kids getting that get between 50% to 100% paid tuition at most schools even if you had millions of dollars in net worth. Extra curricular help a tad too.


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Old 09-06-2016, 10:47 PM   #87
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This advise may be a little too late, but seems to me the best thing you can do for you and your child is to stay on top of there academic performance during their HS career. That is where the payoff is for those with substantial assets.

My DD would say I rode her pretty hard for the first 3 years of HS (she just started Senior year), but I knew she was capable of good grades if she just stayed focused. Powerschool helped me keep her focused and she finished Jr year in the top 7% with a 3.9/4.31 GPA/W. She never understood why I pushed her to get that A- to an A until we started visiting colleges this past summer. At one private, a GPA above 3.75 qualified for merit aid of 22K/year for 4 years. The 3.74 got 20K/year. Thats 8K over 4 years! She got it at that point. As did I.

I will fill out the FAFSA at the end of the month, but don't expect much in the way of need-based aid. Hopefully, merit scholarships will fill the gap between what they think I can afford and what I actually can.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:18 AM   #88
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Yes Nano, our youngest is a super social gal. Her senior class has 39 (yes that's right) kids in it. Our state has a fantastic post secondary program for juniors and seniors. We have a highly rated community college about 12 miles from our home.

Her older sis actually got her diploma from the CC 2 days before she got her high school diploma. At no costs to us, even the books were free.
Youngest wasn't so sure but we did apply some pressure for her to go to the CC at least part time and offered to pay out of pocket for some summer courses. Long story short she got into the U of M highly competitive business school, got good scholarship money and graduated in 3 years with twelve hundred dollars of student loans.

At her 10 years reunion she told us that many of the kids were expressing what a huge adjustment college was after such a sheltered high school and how they were paying down huge loans. And they told her your parents were so smart to guide you in that direction.
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:14 PM   #89
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Lets be clear on this... not as simple as it sounds...
An applicant qualifies for the simplified needs test if the parents have an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000 and every family member was eligible to file an IRS Form 1040A or 1040EZ (or wasn't required to file a Federal income tax return)
So, one K-1 ruins this option... one sale of stock ruins this option... if you want to itemize.... again, gone for you...
This information is actually incomplete. If your income meets the threshold, and your child any child in your household qualified for free or reduced price lunch, you are also eligible for the simplified needs test, no matter what tax return you file.

https://www.edvisors.com/fafsa/eligi...ed-needs-test/

Our income was always low, even when I was working. We never filled out the paperwork for free lunch because my son wouldn't eat school lunch (Asperger's), but as I recall it was income based with no means testing.

As it turned out, he was a National Merit Semi-Finalist, and took a full-tuition scholarship offered by Washington State University. He also got a small private scholarship and a larger one for STEM majors in WA State. So the free lunch thing was moot.

It's a huge loophole available for some low-income, high-asset folks, and it amazes me that it still exists. But it does, so I don't make any judgments about those who might use it.
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