Posts tagged ‘Carnegie Mellon University’

April 9, 2014

Want to appeal your college financial aid?  Go for it

by Grace

Ron Lieber in the New York Times has some tips for students hoping to appeal their college financial aid packages before making the final decision on where to enroll in the fall.

A change in a your financial situation holds the best chances for a successful appeal.

Your best shot with an appeal will come from a change in your family’s financial circumstances since you applied for aid. Possibilities include job loss or other reduction in income, new health expenses, death of a parent, disability of a family member, nursing home costs, natural disasters or parental credit woes that make borrowing impossible.

Adjusting need-based aid may be a more straightforward proposition, but that’s not always true since need-based awards are often based on a ‘student’s academic merit’.

Some tips:

Some schools automatically match offers from similar schools.

Cornell instantly corrects itself if you’ve got higher need-based aid offers from other Ivy League schools or M.I.T., Duke and Stanford; it will match that offer, no questions asked.

Carnegie Mellon appears to be acting similarly, noting on its site that the university has “been open about our willingness to review financial aid awards to compete with certain private institutions for students admitted under the regular decision plan.” …

Go for it.
Based on some feedback from colleges, Lieber seems to suggest that the odds are not bad that an appeal will result in increased aid.

The worst that can happen is that the financial aid office says no …

Related:  Will colleges negotiate financial aid packages? (Cost of College)

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February 25, 2013

Carnegie Mellon University – an example of transparency in financial aid policies

by Grace

Carnegie Mellon University is unusually transparent in sharing information on how financial aid is awarded.  First, it is clear that awards always incorporate a financial need component.

Carnegie Mellon provides qualified students with need-based institutional grants and scholarships to help fund the expenses of college. Grants and scholarships are considered to be ‘gift aid,’ meaning that neither amount has to be paid back.

Additional details

Grants
… Grants are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need….

Scholarships
Carnegie Mellon offers the Carnegie Scholarship which is a joint need- and merit-based scholarship….

Basic principles

Carnegie Mellon’s financial assistance program is designed to meet our dual goal of helping prospective students who have demonstrated financial need afford the cost of education and rewarding those students who have outstanding talents and abilities. Need-based financial assistance is used to enroll high-quality students. Highest quality students will receive the most favorable financial assistance packages.

CMU is open about their policy of reviewing offers from competing schools and their use of statistical modeling.

We have been open about our willingness to review financial aid awards to compete with certain private institutions for students admitted under the regular decision plan. Unlike most institutions, the university states these principles openly to those offered first-year admission under the regular decision plan. While early decision students are not eligible to participate in this aid review process, we will meet their full demonstrated need as calculated by the university.

We use statistical modeling as an aid in the distribution of limited financial aid dollars. It is a strategic tool that helps us pursue our goal of increasing the quality of the student body while using our resources as effectively as possible. This modeling takes into account a student’s intended college major, academic and artistic talents, non-academic talents and abilities, as well as financial need. This approach to awarding financial aid is unique to Carnegie Mellon and has not been developed with the aid of any outside consultants.

Here are some of frequently asked questions about financial aid.

The answer to the last question makes it clear that students are allowed to “stack” outside scholarships on top of financial aid awarded by CMU.

Related:  Maximizing college revenue through financial aid allocation (Cost of College)

August 5, 2011

Students who don’t submit SAT scores do worse in college

by Grace

Howard Wainer’s new book, Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies, takes on the test optional movement.

Wainer is critical of the movement to make the SAT optional in college admissions, and argues that students who don’t submit SAT scores perform worse in college than do those who submit the scores.

Wainer looked at data from five colleges.

In the case of Bowdoin College, which does not require testing, but for which most applicants have taken the SAT, he compares the academic performance in college of those who did and did not submit scores. For four other colleges, he looks at the performance of the minority of students who submitted ACT scores instead of SAT scores.

As expected, Bowdoin students who submitted their SAT scores outperformed those who did not – 1323 vs. 12o1.

But then he tracked the academic performance of both groups of students in their first year (the first year being key, since the College Board says that the SAT predicts first-year academic success). He found that those who did not submit scores received grades in the first year that were 0.2 points lower than those of students who submitted scores. This suggests, he writes, that the SAT does predict academic performance in a meaningful way.

Then Wainer examined four colleges that let students submit SAT or ACT scores, and for which first-year grades were also available: Barnard and Colby Colleges, Carnegie Mellon University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. At all of these institutions, the students who submitted SAT scores had slightly better first-year grades than those who didn’t.

Wainer argues that these and other data suggest that colleges that seek to enroll those who will perform best in their first year are acting against the evidence when they make the SAT optional. “Making the SAT optional seems to guarantee that it will be the lower-scoring students who perform more poorly, on average, in their first-year college courses, even though the admissions office has found other evidence on which to offer them a spot,” he writes.

Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which has encouraged colleges to drop SAT requirements, said that these findings don’t challenge the reality that scores of colleges have done in-depth studies in recent years and found that dropping the test requirement has no impact on retention or graduation rates. He noted that Wainer’s career “has been spent inside the testing industry” and said that he “ignores evidence” from many other colleges.

While some studies have found that SAT scores do not predict college performance, other research that has taken selection bias into account or pulled out  SAT scores as an independent variable has concluded just the opposite.

‘Uneducated Guesses’ – Inside Higher Ed

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