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Author Topic: Very confused  (Read 1696 times)

dropdimes

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Very confused
« on: May 18, 2005, 02:48:29 PM »
Even though I wasn't able to secure any merit based aid at Northwestern I was under the impression that they gave aid based on financial need. I received a preliminary aid award and was pretty sure I received no grants at all. I have no savings to speak of and am receiving no help. After filling out the fafsa form I received a zero contribution rating. When I called Northwestern financial aid office and inquired about financial aid, they said everything is decided by the law school. I know this sound confusing but if anyone is headed to Northwestern maybe you could help me out. Basically I am wondering why they call it financial aid award and all it says is I will get the stafford loans a huge need based private loan and a non need based small loan. So is all money Northwestern gives based on merit? I have to believe I would qualify for need based aid.

jacy85

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2005, 02:52:54 PM »
Just b/c your financial contribution was 0 doesn't mean you're entitled to aid.  The people who can actually afford a legal education are few and far between.  If they doled out need based aid everywhere, the school would bankrupt itself.

When they're asking for $60k a year, most people qualify for some need based aid, which means very few people get it.

It simply comes down to the fact that you're not in undergrad anymore, and there's more need and less aid to go around.  Welcome to the world of private lenders.

Tymeless

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2005, 03:10:21 PM »
While a school does provide need based funding.  Like Jacy85 said they are limited so not only does that mean they only have a limited amount of $$, it also means, first come first serve.  When the $$ is gone, it is gone and with all the need you or even me have in the world they will not give you any $$.  Did you apply for financial aid late in the process?  Did you fill out and send in all required institutional aid forms?  All of this matters. 

If you really want to go to law school, you should consider private loans for the remaining cost of tuition and attendance.  After you have made the decision, well maybe even before you should make sure your credit is good enough in order to get a private loan.  Good Luck to you!!!!
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Abevigoda

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2005, 04:16:45 PM »
The term "financial aid award letter" is supremely misleading since many (including mine) had no financial aid in the UG sense on it.
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Re: Very confused
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2005, 04:23:38 PM »
I had been offered 15k/year (45k total) from NU.  (I have since turned that down...)

BUT (1) I was accepted way back on December 20, only about 2 weeks after my app was complete, and  (2) I had submitted my financial aid info at the same time.  Even then, my award letter didn't come until mid-February.

So do they offer money? Yes.  My 15k/year was both need and merit based.  (I think I got it mainly on the basis of my alumni interview--which went super well.  Better than I could have hoped for, I think--which I think also explains my rapid acceptance given my only "ok" numbers.  3.77/161)

So they offer money up early on, but do they offer money late in the season?  Apparently not...  Often, the money you get is a measure of how much they want you, so if they accepted you late or took you off the waitlist, you may not be all that high on their financial priority list...

You may, however, want to appeal....

HippieLawChick

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2005, 04:41:33 PM »
annoduck, you are a URM?  The rules are different if you are.

As far as the financial aid deal is concerned, I don't have savings or any help and a lot of undergrad debt and Lewis & Clark gave me no grants either.  It just depends on how much cash the school has laying around and how bad they want you to attend.

I would be lucky to get into a school like NU and wouldn't expect a dime from them.

risingMC

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2005, 05:25:40 PM »
The question that one so far has asked ... when was the last year your parents counted you as a dependant? Do they make a decent (at least middle-class) amount of money. If it was fairly recent and yes, then you're going to be out of luck for need-based aid. As thyme and jacy both have mentioned, there are very few people who can really afford a law degree ... and the schools are banking on you making enough money to be able to comfortably pay it back. It's not as necessary as, say, a bachelor's degree, so the funds are going to be relatively limited.

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2005, 06:00:27 PM »
annoduck, you are a URM?  The rules are different if you are.

As far as the financial aid deal is concerned, I don't have savings or any help and a lot of undergrad debt and Lewis & Clark gave me no grants either.  It just depends on how much cash the school has laying around and how bad they want you to attend.

I would be lucky to get into a school like NU and wouldn't expect a dime from them.

Yep--hispanic.  Having been hispanic my whole life (duh), I am only just now seeing how much that has been in my favor...(Seeing people get rejected at places I got into, or not getting any money, etc...) 

Of course, it's hard to compare situations, because I think everybody thinks they can't afford Law School and/or shouldn't have to pay full price, so I'm going to have to say that the FAO's have a leg up on us there.  They know who are the standout students (for merit awards), and they know who "really" needs money relevant to the applicant pool (for grants)...

If it makes you feel any better though, I got a little over 11k/year from the University of Michigan, and that was ONLY need-based... So my being hispanic may have tipped me through the door at U of M, but my need got me the money...

(And boy do I have need--my father has been without work for over 2 years, and he's my only supporting parent, and he last declared me in 2002...I have need up the wazoo--so much in fact that the financial aid office at Michigan called to verify that my father was really having that hard a time...)

So, frankly, I really do need the money, and so I don't feel like it's going to waste, but I can see how that would appear frustrating for non-URMs...

Like I said though, I think the FAO's are in a better position to judge who gets/needs what than we are...They do this so often, they have it down to a science.  They know exactly how much money they need to throw at that 176 score to keep them, and they know that most people are going to be able to pay back the loans... So unless you and your family are really, really struggling (like mine is--2 1/2 years WITH NO WORK!), they just let you get loans and move on down the list--whether you're URM or not...

dropdimes

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2005, 10:36:15 PM »
Obviously not everyone deserves aid, or even if you deserve it, they can't give it to everyone. But when it says on the website that 80% of students receive either merit or need based aid and you sent your financial aid app on time and were accepted in late febuary it seems to reason when you are broke, your family is middle class, you don't live at home and you have two brothers in college you might get a small grant. Then you read that they are pulling people off the waitlist and offering them alot of money to attend it can drive you crazy. I feel blessed to have been admitted to Northwestern, but still when you have big financial offers at other good schools it can gnaw at you that the most expensive school in the country doesn't offer you a dime and you will be taking out 60k in loans.

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Re: Very confused
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2005, 04:12:05 PM »
Obviously not everyone deserves aid, or even if you deserve it, they can't give it to everyone. But when it says on the website that 80% of students receive either merit or need based aid and you sent your financial aid app on time and were accepted in late febuary it seems to reason when you are broke, your family is middle class, you don't live at home and you have two brothers in college you might get a small grant. Then you read that they are pulling people off the waitlist and offering them alot of money to attend it can drive you crazy. I feel blessed to have been admitted to Northwestern, but still when you have big financial offers at other good schools it can gnaw at you that the most expensive school in the country doesn't offer you a dime and you will be taking out 60k in loans.

I feel you, but hey, 60k in loans is NOT bad... I'll be taking out 110-120k, even AFTER having taken my grants into account...And I would have been taking out about that much to go to Northwestern, too (again, after grants), so really, your situation can't be that bad in comparison to some others, even though it may seem that way...