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May 2008 Visits (& News)

on May 15, 2008 in College Visits

idahoFinancial and Merit Aid in the College Process

Juniors who are in the process of compiling their college lists may want to learn more about the financial aspects of this process. While some colleges offer merit aid based on academic performance to the top third or quarter of the applicant pool, others (usually those few colleges in the super-selective private school category) offer aid based primarily on financial need. This latter group continues to make announcements regarding increased financial aid to a wider group of applicants due to public pressure regarding the high cost of a private education. Merit aid offers often arrive with an acceptance letter and are not applied for specifically. You can review this listing of colleges that offer significant merit aid.

It is important to get familiar with the financial aid pages of a college’s website to understand if you will need to apply earlier and/or complete additional essays to be eligible for selected scholarships. How colleges calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) can vary significantly based on formulas specifically developed by the college, so applying is usually a good idea. Two applications for financial aid are available, and each college has its own requirements (another reason to get familiar with the financial aid pages early). The CSS Profile is available in the fall through the College Board, and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is posted online January 1, 2009. Deadlines are critical in this process. Apply early to achieve the best possible award.

The financial aid link on The College Navigator mentioned in the Tips section of this month’s newsletter provides a breakdown of the percent of need met by grants and scholarships, or loans, which may help you decide if it makes sense to proceed with the application process.

The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a program of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Students who are residents of WICHE states may enroll at participating two- and four-year college programs outside of their home state at a reduced tuition rate. This website offers an excellent search tool for specific programs offered at each college. WICHE states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho (above photo is the University of Idaho arboretum), Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The Waitlist

This year has seen more use of waitlists by colleges than ever before. Read more on our blog to understand the waitlist process and what you can expect over the next few months. Additional information on waitlists can be viewed here. It is important to know your rights as you continue to consider the waitlist. Read this Statement of Students’ Rights and Responsibilities in the College Admission Process from the National Association of College Admission Counseling to learn more. After making your choice, remember to also notify the other colleges that have accepted you that you will not be attending; they are then able to offer a place to a waitlisted student.

Colleges Still Accepting Applications

Results are just in from the National Association of College Admission Counseling Space Availability Survey. If you are still considering an application, you should review your options here.

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