General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
mrtux45
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General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby mrtux45 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:52 am

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Last edited by mrtux45 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:57 am

1. They always come later. Some schools (mainly T14) distribute need-based and merit-based decisions together, so generally in February-March.

2. No. Need-based is a separate calculation, and it's extremely rare for you to get any aid that is just need-based. A lot of T14 schools evaluate need and merit together without ever telling you what percentage of your award comes from which category.

mrtux45
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby mrtux45 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:09 pm

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Last edited by mrtux45 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:39 pm

mrtux45 wrote:Thanks a lot for the quick reply.

So essentially the only financial aid you can get from a school is what they award you on a merit basis? Then you can get whatever loans you qualify for via fafsa?

Also, does what your saying debunk the conventional wisdom that it's better to apply early for scholarships because there is more money available? And the only real benefit to applying earlier in the cycle is that there are more seats up for grabs?


It really depends on the school. A lot of T14 schools do take your need into account, but you'll never know how much of a factor it was. But no, you need to get your scholarship materials in by the school's priority deadline. If you miss that, they will have less money to offer you, and you will start from a worse position if you're bargaining.

Edit: For a number of schools, applying early (just in general) is good for scholarship money, but as long as you're accepted by January/February, you will have time at most places to get your financial aid info sent in separately.

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archipm
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby archipm » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:08 pm

mrtux45 wrote:This is my first cycle applying to schools and I'm kind of lost about what to expect during the financial aid/scholarship process:

1) Do merit scholarship awards typically come with your admissions decision or is this something that comes later? My numbers will put me in a position to get some merit aid/negotiate between peer schools and I just want an idea of what to expect.

2) Does merit aid impact how much need based aid you can be awarded? I'm 24, so from what I understand I have to fill out fafsa and include my parents income information.

Sorry if these are noob level questions, I'm trying to learn how the process works so I can make the best financial decisions.

Thanks for any and all advice


From my experience in two different admissions cycles, sometimes they give you a merit $$ offer in your acceptance letter, sometimes it comes later, and when it does come later, how much later varies a lot school to school. As someone who is in every position to qualify for need based aid, and did in undergrad and for LSAC purposes, need based aid did not appear really to be a thing at most schools. They will ask you for a ton of info, you can demonstrate plenty of financial need, and you will still likely get a scholarship offer consistent with your stats. I think Georgetown did merit and need separately but you could not combine the two, so if the need based aid they offered was less than your merit scholarship offer, it was a moot point. In my experience, my demonstrated financial need came into play the most during scholarship negotiations. Do not underestimate how much of a difference negotiating can make.

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Margaret99
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby Margaret99 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:48 pm

I am going to give LSAT in Feb 2017. However, I have no idea about the procedure to apply for financial aid/ scholarships etc.
Is there a thread which outlines this process? Does it go hand in hand with the normal application to the law schools or is it a totally separate process? Would be grateful for any help :oops:

mrtux45
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby mrtux45 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:41 pm

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Last edited by mrtux45 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:47 pm

mrtux45 wrote:
archipm wrote: Do not underestimate how much of a difference negotiating can make.


Thanks for the reply!

Are you referring to going back and forth between peer schools and saying school A gave me $X, is there anyway you can match? Or are applicants in such a position where you can explain to admissions that based on your financial situation you really can't afford to spend XYZ to attend that specific law school?


The former is much more effective than the latter.

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archipm
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Re: General Questions about Financial Aid/Scholarships

Postby archipm » Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:14 pm

mrtux45 wrote:Thanks for the reply!

Are you referring to going back and forth between peer schools and saying school A gave me $X, is there anyway you can match? Or are applicants in such a position where you can explain to admissions that based on your financial situation you really can't afford to spend XYZ to attend that specific law school?


cavalier is correct. Talking about your financial need can be part of your request to increase your scholarship, but it's not going to be very effective without another compelling offer. For me, it ended up being relevant in specific conversations I had with financial aid staff at schools. I got identical initial offers from my school's peer schools, and the peer schools are more expensive, so those offers weren't great for negotiations. I ended up successfully negotiating with offers from lower ranked schools, in large part because my financial need made the others' offers more compelling than they would be for someone with significant family resources who just wants to see if they can get more $$ but will not likely ditch CCN for, say, a full ride at Cornell.

I can't speak to how transferrable that tactic is. It's obviously better to use peer or higher-ranked schools for negotiation, but I had to work with the situation I had and it turned out well. One other piece of advice for negotiations is to keep your tone positive and focus on why the school IS a really good fit for you, rather than focusing on how expensive it is - be very careful about sounding entitled, arrogant, or dismissive of the value of their program.




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