HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

USC w/a scholarship or UCLA w/a grant?

Poll ended at Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:23 pm

USC with a 20K/year scholarship
40
43%
UCLA with a 20K grant for 1L, projected 20K for 2L, 10K for 3L (instate tuition from the second semester of 1L on)
53
57%
 
Total votes: 93

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby JJDancer » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:51 pm

Puttanesca wrote:Thanks for your input. I would probably pick UCLA in situations a) equal cost and b) USC costs 15-20K more, but I would definitely pick USC in situation c) UCLA is 20K more than USC. I'll try to talk to as many people as I can before I have to make a final decision. Ah!

NP. C) would only happen if UCLA cut off your award after 1L. I'm not sure what the likelihood of that happening is.
Personally, I remember my UG experience where I had a merit scholly and a need grant. The need grant did not continue for years 2-4. TBF, my parents did end up making more in years 2-4 but they weren't able/willing to contribute more to my edu so I had to take it on in loans...but those circumstances might have been different and you seem to imply that your situation won't change.

User avatar
Stupendous_Man
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Stupendous_Man » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:52 pm

Puttanesca wrote:
forty-two wrote:
Puttanesca wrote:
Yes, UCLA's tuition is increasing at a higher rate than USC's tuition. Tuition increases at UCLA are projected to be $3000-$4000 every year over the next several years for instate tuition, and the email that I received from USC said that USC's tuition has not increased by more than 5% over the past three years. If it keeps with this trend, USC will be increasing tuition by roughly $2500/year.


Idk, everything I've read about the issue makes it seem like the UCs won't raise in state tuition so much that it ends up being more expensive than peer private schools.

As for which to choose, the whole grant thing at UCLA would make me a little nervous because it might not be renewed, but I'd still probably pick it because I personally prefer the vibe there. However, I have friends at both law schools who've had great experiences, so I don't really think there's a wrong choice here.


Thanks for your response. I got the $3K-$4K figures from the UCLA admissions office, but I'm not sure how long the increases at this rate will last. If UCLA continues to raise tuition by $3-4K each year, within the next 3-4 years, instate tuition will exceed tuition at comparable private schools, and out-of-state tuition would be more than 60K.


Which is why (unfortunately) the UC system is falling, as evidenced by UCLA's undergrad getting outranked but USC's undergrad for the first time in I don't even know how long.

I think JJDancer's advice has been the most comprehensive and clear. Based on your goals out of law school, the two schools are entirely comparable on paper, so you get to make your decision based on $ and "softs". You've heard SC students weigh in on their personal experiences, maybe some UCLA 1Ls want to get in on this?

cornellbeez
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:43 am

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby cornellbeez » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:46 pm

Puttanesca wrote:Visited UCLA today and really liked it! Grants are likely to remain similar over the three years if financial circumstances don't change. The maximum grant allotted may also increase as tuition raises.


Just a word of caution - I'd take what they say with a grain of salt.

All of the UCLA/UC Berkeley students I know did NOT get any grant money 2L/3L years even after getting grant money 1L year. The schools provide aid the first year to try to get you to attend. This is especially true if you get in-state residency your 2L year. If you want to read more, there are various threads on TLS about UC grant money - other 2L/3L posters share the same sentiment.

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7663
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:10 pm

I would bet $100 that you will not keep that grant, or at least won't keep the full amount. Anyone telling you otherwise has no idea what they're talking about.

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:55 pm

After hearing from everyone on TLS and thinking about my decision, USC would be the safer/better choice overall, but I just wish they would up my scholarship a little bit. I just keep thinking about how if I hadn't misread a rule on an (easy) game on the LSAT, I would not be in this predicament b/c I would have probably gotten 2-3 points higher on the LSAT, and USC would have offered me more. Please, USC, be nice to me - I have a 3.9X from your undergrad.

User avatar
Stupendous_Man
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Stupendous_Man » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:08 pm

Have you tried negotiating with USC? Put your UCLA offer on the table and make it sound as attractive as possible, and see what USC does. But from what I've seen USC is pretty good at making the offer just attractive enough that you won't end up turning it down when you really think about it. Whatever happens, you're in a better financial position than most students who go to law school, so congrats & don't get too down about it!

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:19 pm

Stupendous_Man wrote:Have you tried negotiating with USC? Put your UCLA offer on the table and make it sound as attractive as possible, and see what USC does. But from what I've seen USC is pretty good at making the offer just attractive enough that you won't end up turning it down when you really think about it. Whatever happens, you're in a better financial position than most students who go to law school, so congrats & don't get too down about it!


No, I haven't tried negotiating with USC yet, but I have drafted a negotiation email to USC which I plan to send out this weekend. Any tips on the negotiation letter? Would I send this to the director of financial aid or to Dean Reid?

User avatar
Stupendous_Man
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Stupendous_Man » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:45 pm

Maybe send it to both? Certainly can't hurt. Take my advice with a grain of salt, since when I tried, they said no, and clearly they were right because I came anyway. But what I did was: Thank them for their generous offer, say a few reasons about why USC is a top choice for you, but your other choices are also strong, and that your decision is going to be heavily based on the scholarships available because of your financial situation. Then tell them what your other comparable/better offer(s) are, and say as it stands, you don't know that you could choose USC because your other very attractive offers are more financially viable for whatever reasons, and respectfully ask that they reconsider your scholarship offer to help make your decision easier.

In your case, tell them that UCLA gave you a $20k grant, and told you that you would get the same grant every year if your financial situation didn't change, and say if USC would match (beat?) your grant, USC would be your first choice (if that's true). If they end up denying you, they'll say something like "Although our amount is smaller, it is guaranteed over the 3 years, and our tuition has increased at a much lower rate etc. etc." and they would kind of have a point since a lot of students would take a guaranteed $15k over a possible $20k, but it's worth a try. In some cases, the school just doesn't have any more money to give out, because they've allocated much more than they have already knowing that not everyone offered a scholarship will take it. In the mean time, you'd want to make an internal decision based on the facts you have at hand, and if they change, reevaluate then. Goodluck!

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby JJDancer » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:48 pm

Stupendous_Man wrote: In the mean time, you'd want to make an internal decision based on the facts you have at hand, and if they change, reevaluate then.

This is excellent advice.

Also, Puttanesca, I sent you a PM.

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:04 pm

Stupendous_Man wrote:Maybe send it to both? Certainly can't hurt. Take my advice with a grain of salt, since when I tried, they said no, and clearly they were right because I came anyway. But what I did was: Thank them for their generous offer, say a few reasons about why USC is a top choice for you, but your other choices are also strong, and that your decision is going to be heavily based on the scholarships available because of your financial situation. Then tell them what your other comparable/better offer(s) are, and say as it stands, you don't know that you could choose USC because your other very attractive offers are more financially viable for whatever reasons, and respectfully ask that they reconsider your scholarship offer to help make your decision easier.

In your case, tell them that UCLA gave you a $20k grant, and told you that you would get the same grant every year if your financial situation didn't change, and say if USC would match (beat?) your grant, USC would be your first choice (if that's true). If they end up denying you, they'll say something like "Although our amount is smaller, it is guaranteed over the 3 years, and our tuition has increased at a much lower rate etc. etc." and they would kind of have a point since a lot of students would take a guaranteed $15k over a possible $20k, but it's worth a try. In some cases, the school just doesn't have any more money to give out, because they've allocated much more than they have already knowing that not everyone offered a scholarship will take it. In the mean time, you'd want to make an internal decision based on the facts you have at hand, and if they change, reevaluate then. Goodluck!


Thank you!

User avatar
ms1987
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:37 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby ms1987 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:36 pm

Hey Puttanesca,

Just PMed you part of an email I received from a USC 2L student regarding this decision. I was deciding between the two schools as well and finally picked USC. What I came to realize is that neither choice is a bad one and it's an excellent problem to have! Money aside, in terms of job prospects going forward it really comes down to your success at the school you choose. As the SC student said to me, a "ms1987" moderate GPA at UCLA won't beat out a "ms1987" high GPA at USC for a job or vice versa (sorry if that was confusing). Basically wherever you think you'll be happier and more successful academically is more important than factors like UCLAs slightly higher ranking or USCs alumni network. I actually visited both schools on Friday before finalizing my decision. Fortunately, the $$ was the same at each school so I was able to focus on other factors such as student life, environment, class size, etc. Similar to a previous poster, I felt that USC just fit for me personally. I come from a small liberal arts school, so the small class sizes/student-professor interaction at USC was appealing and the students there have all been extremely friendly/helpful and seemingly very happy with their choice (but I'm sure UCLA students are as well!). Basically, you can't go wrong! Congrats on the admits and good luck!!

User avatar
JDndMSW
Posts: 602
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:32 am

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby JDndMSW » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:46 pm

Why don't you think you will have in-state tuition. As a CA resident it has never been factored in that my father in MT claimed me on his taxes. If you have been going to UG at USC I am pretty sure you will qualify for in-state tuition regardless if you mom claimed you or not...
When I went to MT for UG for a year when I was 18 they granted me in state tuition because my dad claimed me on his taxes BUT when I went back to CA a year later they would NOT give me in state tuition since I had claimed residency in MT for school... it didn't matter that I was only 18 has lived in CA for 95% of my life and my mom claimed me on her taxes... From what I have heard from others it is relatively easy to get in state tuition in CA.

User avatar
Hopefullawstudent
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:35 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Hopefullawstudent » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:56 pm

UCLA and USC are NOT equal schools. UCLA is better than USC in every way, except perhaps for the Trojan network.

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:07 pm

JDndMSW wrote:Why don't you think you will have in-state tuition. As a CA resident it has never been factored in that my father in MT claimed me on his taxes. If you have been going to UG at USC I am pretty sure you will qualify for in-state tuition regardless if you mom claimed you or not...
When I went to MT for UG for a year when I was 18 they granted me in state tuition because my dad claimed me on his taxes BUT when I went back to CA a year later they would NOT give me in state tuition since I had claimed residency in MT for school... it didn't matter that I was only 18 has lived in CA for 95% of my life and my mom claimed me on her taxes... From what I have heard from others it is relatively easy to get in state tuition in CA.


I am concerned about not qualifying for instate tuition because of the financial independence requirement that I must meet if my parents are not CA residents. --LinkRemoved-- It appears that I would have to meet three requirements to get instate tuition - 1) physical presence in CA for 366 days, 2) intent to remain permanently in CA, and 3) financial independence (http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/residence/establish.htm). I don't meet any of the other requirements under the financial independence section. I will, however, be 24 by the end of 2012, so maybe I can meet the requirement for at least the spring semester if I can't meet it for the fall.

I'm kind of in a weird situation because I am a CA resident but may still not qualify for the instate tuition. I mean, I have had a CA driver's license since 2007, voted in CA since 2008, and been called for jury duty in CA, etc. and have stayed in CA EVERY summer of undergrad, but I might be screwed since my out-of-state mom claimed me as a dependent. Maybe UCLA will let it go and give me instate tuition, but w/the CA budget crisis, they are probably going to be really strict w/the instate tuition qualifications.

User avatar
JDndMSW
Posts: 602
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:32 am

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby JDndMSW » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:13 pm

Puttanesca wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:Why don't you think you will have in-state tuition. As a CA resident it has never been factored in that my father in MT claimed me on his taxes. If you have been going to UG at USC I am pretty sure you will qualify for in-state tuition regardless if you mom claimed you or not...
When I went to MT for UG for a year when I was 18 they granted me in state tuition because my dad claimed me on his taxes BUT when I went back to CA a year later they would NOT give me in state tuition since I had claimed residency in MT for school... it didn't matter that I was only 18 has lived in CA for 95% of my life and my mom claimed me on her taxes... From what I have heard from others it is relatively easy to get in state tuition in CA.


I am concerned about not qualifying for instate tuition because of the financial independence requirement that I must meet if my parents are not CA residents. --LinkRemoved-- It appears that I would have to meet three requirements to get instate tuition - 1) physical presence in CA for 366 days, 2) intent to remain permanently in CA, and 3) financial independence (http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/residence/establish.htm). I don't meet any of the other requirements under the financial independence section. I will, however, be 24 by the end of 2012, so maybe I can meet the requirement for at least the spring semester if I can't meet it for the fall.

I'm kind of in a weird situation because I am a CA resident but may still not qualify for the instate tuition. I mean, I have had a CA driver's license since 2007, voted in CA since 2008, and been called for jury duty in CA, etc. and have stayed in CA EVERY summer of undergrad, but I might be screwed since my out-of-state mom claimed me as a dependent. Maybe UCLA will let it go and give me instate tuition, but w/the CA budget crisis, they are probably going to be really strict w/the instate tuition qualifications.


Does the money your parents will receive in claiming you equal the tuition break (not to mention the $$ you can get back in taxes for being a student, I got like 1,200 this past year)?

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:28 pm

JDndMSW wrote:Does the money your parents will receive in claiming you equal the tuition break (not to mention the $$ you can get back in taxes for being a student, I got like 1,200 this past year)?


No, the money my mom gets in claiming me as a dependent does not equal the tuition break. The tuition break is about $10K. I'm not sure what the exact figure is for the tax break, but it is not more than $5K.

User avatar
JDndMSW
Posts: 602
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:32 am

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby JDndMSW » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:04 pm

Puttanesca wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:Does the money your parents will receive in claiming you equal the tuition break (not to mention the $$ you can get back in taxes for being a student, I got like 1,200 this past year)?


No, the money my mom gets in claiming me as a dependent does not equal the tuition break. The tuition break is about $10K. I'm not sure what the exact figure is for the tax break, but it is not more than $5K.


Then why not talk to her about this?

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby JJDancer » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:23 pm

JDndMSW wrote:
Puttanesca wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:Does the money your parents will receive in claiming you equal the tuition break (not to mention the $$ you can get back in taxes for being a student, I got like 1,200 this past year)?


No, the money my mom gets in claiming me as a dependent does not equal the tuition break. The tuition break is about $10K. I'm not sure what the exact figure is for the tax break, but it is not more than $5K.


Then why not talk to her about this?

I think she already claimed her for last year so she can't do anything about it now...(could be wrong).

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:41 pm

JJDancer wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:
Puttanesca wrote:
JDndMSW wrote:Does the money your parents will receive in claiming you equal the tuition break (not to mention the $$ you can get back in taxes for being a student, I got like 1,200 this past year)?


No, the money my mom gets in claiming me as a dependent does not equal the tuition break. The tuition break is about $10K. I'm not sure what the exact figure is for the tax break, but it is not more than $5K.


Then why not talk to her about this?

I think she already claimed her for last year so she can't do anything about it now...(could be wrong).


Yep, that's right. My mom already claimed me for 2010.

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:50 pm

Thanks to all who contributed to my thread! Due to recent events with both schools, I will be going to UCLA.

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby JJDancer » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:11 pm

Puttanesca wrote:Thanks to all who contributed to my thread! Due to recent events with both schools, I will be going to UCLA.

Congrats!! Enjoy UCLA Law! :)

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:13 pm

JJDancer wrote:
Puttanesca wrote:Thanks to all who contributed to my thread! Due to recent events with both schools, I will be going to UCLA.

Congrats!! Enjoy UCLA Law! :)


Thank you!

User avatar
Stupendous_Man
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Stupendous_Man » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:53 pm

Sad to see you go, but I'm sure you'll have a great time and congrats!

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:59 pm

Stupendous_Man wrote:Sad to see you go, but I'm sure you'll have a great time and congrats!


Thank you! I'm sad to leave USC, but I have to do what I have to do.

Puttanesca
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: HELP!!! Deciding b/w USC w/scholarship and UCLA w/grant

Postby Puttanesca » Mon May 02, 2011 12:38 pm

A last minute scholarship increase from USC to 20K/year. Hmm...have to decide by today!!!




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: unicorntamer666 and 4 guests