advice for AROTC scholarship applicants applying ED to expensive private school

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by educateme, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. educateme

    educateme Member

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    For ROTC scholarship applicants, this is now a very stressful season. I don't know about this years board schedule, or whether the timing is working out the way it did last year.

    I would like share a word of caution for students aiming to get a scholarship to expensive private schools.

    I posted this in another thread, but I will repeat here since it is relevant.

    The decision regarding AROTC school of choice and actual college application for AROTC is like playing multiple chess games simultaneously. I am not that familiar with AFROTC or NROTC, but I understand for AFROTC, the school does not matter, and NROTC "selects" the school for scholarship for you among the list you created (please correct me if I am wrong).

    For AROTC, if they award you a scholarship, you could be receiving several choices. Now, you have to choose one within a month and then you HAVE to admitted to that school to match the scholarship to the school you are admitted to. You have to make commitment and decision not having all the data you need to make a decision. For my son, the last year's timing for everything was perfect, but I don't know such good timing works out for every school or every year (depending on when the first board meets). Also it worked out well since he was awarded the scholarship out of the first board. If he had not been awarded the scholarship after the first board, it would have complicated the whole thing a lot more.

    Here is the rub. There were several cases last year of students applying binding early decision to some very expensive schools, getting admitted, and then later finding out that s/he did not get a scholarship to that school. Granted, you could transfer the scholarship, but believe me, transferring a scholarship to a VERY expensive school in the spring will be a tough thing to pull off, especially in a tightened budgetary environment. (for instance, at the school where my son is a freshman 4 year scholarship cadet, several scholarship winners were not admitted to the school, but the slots are NOT backfilled this year, probably due to the budgetary issue. As a data point, this school is rated as one of the top 5 most expensive schools in the nation).

    On top of that I am already hearing about students who decided to drop out of the AROTC program after they matriculated to a very expensive school as a 4 year scholarship student. Now, if the family cannot afford to pay the exorbitant tuition, the student may either have to incur a student loan worth the price of a house or has to transfer to a more affordable school.

    So, my advice: do NOT apply binding ED unless you can afford the tuition without any scholarship. Granted some say that you can get out of the binding ED commitment if you don't get scholarship, claiming financial difficulties if the school has the "need blind" policy when it comes to finances. However, trust me on this, "need blind" from their perspective is very different from saying "we will keep you whole". For instance, the school can deem the family financially "capable" assuming that your parents can tap ALL the equity in the house. This is NOT a sound financial decision for the family - draining the family resources like this.

    Also, I advise you not take the 4 year scholarship to a very expensive school unless you and your family feel confident that even if you drop out, your family can afford the school expenses going forward. You may feel confident that you are 100% committed, but you never know, and somethings can happen that you don't control that might force you to drop out. It'a tough economic time: everybody needs to make a prudent financial decision.

    Good luck
     
  2. cjs

    cjs Member

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    I will also add to this, make sure that you can afford the school without the scholarship in case something happens to the scholarship.
    Dodmerb issues pop up all the time that were not expected, cadets don't pass the AFPT or cadets change their minds as has already been said.

    I personally know of instances that were mentioned. One friend was awarded a Navy nursing scholarship to an expensive private school last year and after months and months found out that she could not get the waiver. This was 3 days prior to classes actually starting. Another went off to the expensive out of state school and was never able to pass the AFPT by December and therefore could never contract. She had to come home. Yet another accepted the scholarship and decided ROTC was ultimately not for him.

    Shoot for the moon but always have a plan B in place.
     
  3. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Sorry to add to the dismal scenario, but wouldn't you also be responsible for the expenses going backward (at least the tuition)?
     
  4. educateme

    educateme Member

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    true if you stayed past the first year. if you drop out before the second year starts, you don't owe anything you got during the first year.
     
  5. Blacklab

    Blacklab Member

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    The Skinny for NROTC

    My son contacted his No.1 choice school & their NROTC unit, the way it was explained to him is as noted:

    1. Secection Board selects who they want...

    2. The NROTC Units at each school is sent a list of students from the first selection. And so on after each board...

    3. If you look good for the school on the normal application and have the NROTC your as good as in. :zip: NOTE: On our visit to schools they each stated that if your selected to NROTC call them ASAP and let them know. They were all very clear that the NROTC holds a great deal of power for getting into a school, even if your boarder line.

    4. If you optioned on your application to go to any NROTC school it allows you to go to any of your top 5 as well as others not listed.

    5. The last thing he found out is that many kids only take either the ACT or SAT. They told my son that if he takes both (which he did) it holds more value in the student and they have ways to eval. the scores in the end making you look better all around.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Importance is to understand that even if you are in JROTC and get a scholarship you may decide to opt out.

    Don't select a school if you don't have Plan B regarding how to pay for it.

    I am sure the majority here will believe they will stick it out, just like SA appointees. Fact is there will be a % that won't.

    If you matriculate to a college that financially you can't afford be prepared to address how you will "work" it.

    Let's play the game of assume...Assume you play intramural flag football. Break your leg and require a pin...starts a DoDMERB situation. They decide it is a waiver issue and ROTC says No WAIVER. Can you afford to stay?

    Scholarships are no longer being handed out like candy, and nor are AD slots for the Army.
     
  7. Cadet '15

    Cadet '15 New Member

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    Well I know this doesn't lend much to the conversation, but I was ONLY offered one scholarship and that was to a very expensive private college. It was my number one pick and thats what I got, so I'm happy. I applied pretty late, my application wasn't finished until around December.
     
  8. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    Some ROTC programs work very closely with Admissions. If you have been offered a ROTC Scholarship from the first board, you will be offered ED acceptance to Marist College. The same does not necessarily hold true for the later boards, Scholarship will not = admission 100% of the time.

    If you know the relationship between your school's Admissions Department and your school's ROTC Department you will have the information needed to decide whether or not to apply ED, EA, or RD.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    One thing to realize when you contemplate visiting the school or not, you will be able to find out things like which Marist just posted.

    Additionally, if you are applying for multiple ROTC scholarships, sometimes one Branch does talk to admissions, while the other branch doesn't. Do not assume that because you are applying AROTC and NROTC both have a voice in admissions. Typically the branch sits on that committee is due to the fact that they are a big draw to the school.

    DS has a large AFROTC unit(@200+ cadets), but has no voice in admissions at his school, nor does NROTC (not a host), AROTC which is the largest unit has a voice at the college. AROTC gets the prime building, at a lower rate because they are a draw and the college knows that AFROTC can take the scholarship to any college, but AROTC is assigned to the college. They want the candidate to choose them, and those shiny baubles like best building, is a bauble that candidates look at.

    Back on topic, the real thing to understand is that college is not HS. ROTC is not JROTC. If you love the school, but can't maintain your gpa, you are putting your scholarship in jeopardy. DS has merit from his school and ROTC, if he maintained the ROTC gpa, he would lose the merit from the school, and if he maintained the min merit gpa his OML would be so low that he would be boffed. Actually, since he is AFROTC, he would have been cut as a rising jr. and his father and I would not be able to send him to that school (38K a yr) without loans and putting him in close to a huge debt.

    That is something to think about when you go this route. It would be a disadvantage to say to anyone that every kid walks in and succeeds. That they don't have 2nd thoughts is unrealistic. That they don't have adjustment issues that can lead to bigger issues is being Pollyanna.

    Not everyone, honestly only a small % has these issues, the best you can do is investigate the school, be mature and discuss the what ifs? Don't enter thinking the folks can afford to pay for you there if you lose the scholarship. Don't do a school visit on a weekend...that is a dog and pony show.

    Go on websites like www.collegeconfidential.com and ask the questions that you are afraid to ask on the tour. Most posters there are parents and students. They will tell you the real dirt.

    Trust me, only once did I see somebody get flamed...he wasn't a troll, but he asked will I get in trouble if I smoke pot in the dorm? :eek::bang::scratch::wow::hammer::screwy:

    Additionally look at the graduation rate. Yes, the graduation rate. If they have a high percentage, you need to ask why? Academic or social environment issues?

    You have a lot of time. Use it wisely because if you don't you probably will be paying for it over the next 4 yrs.
     
  10. MNDad2015

    MNDad2015 Member

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    Also, keep perspective realistic. As pointed out in other threads, it looks like for class of 2016 the number of scholarships will be even fewer than for class of 2015, with more going to lower cost IS than for expensive PCs and OOS. Also, if similar to class of 2015, majority of PC and OOS looks like they were 3 year AD, which means you need to be able to pay in full freshman year, maintain minimum overall and MS classes GPAs, get and stay DoDMERB'd qualified, pass APFT at start of sophomore year, stay out of trouble, and get PMS's recommendation. Lots that could potentially go wrong and end up without the scholarship.
     
  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I have to agree with the posts here about cadets deciding ROTC is not for them and also about being able to afford the school.

    DS's NROTC unit lost two scholarship cadets during Orientation and another dropped ROTC about a month later.... so just because they're through Orientation doesn't mean they are out of the woods. I'm sure each of these students thought they would stick it out through ROTC and also that they made the correct decision for themselves by leaving... but I know I couldn't send my kid there without a scholarship which brings costs down to in-state tuition. We're hoping he gets a NROTC scholarship as a College Programmer but for now we're relying on the acedemic scholarship he got. If he can't keep his grades up (and I think he will but hitting a rough patch is always possible) then he'll have to transfer back to a school in NC.

    ALways have a plan B, and a plan C. Personally I would never recommend applying ED if your looking for a ROTC scholarship. Selection can take forever. EA is OK though and that's the route we took where he was finally accepted.

    BTW... you never know how the college acceptance itself is going to work out. My son defintely had some stretch schools on his list and a couple I thought sure he would get into. The ones I was sure about, he ended up on the wait list... and one of the schools I thought surely would NOT accept him did. Fortunately that was his firsst choice both in terms of the school and the battalion.

    Good Luck! :thumb:
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

    JMPO, but if you prepare for the worst the best usually occurs. When you don't prepare that is when the worst occurs.

    JMPO.
     
  13. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    That's the problem with Binding ED that attracts so much attention -- it is a tool for the responsible use of the rich only.

    With Binding ED, the non-ROTC need-based financial aid is often not determined until 3-4 months after acceptance. A student who thinks their "need" is $40,000 per year ($58,000 Cost of Attendance - $18,000 FAFSA Expected Family Contribution) could find out that b/c the family's home is worth $300,000, and some other family assets added to that makes the SCHOOL's determination of EFC to be $38,000, not the $28,000 FAFSA. This is quite common. Also understand FAFSA does not calculate credit card monthly payments into its calculation. A family can have $100k in credit card debt due to (take a pick: medical emergency, out of a job for a year, etc.) and yet those $13,000 - $20,000 (depending on % rate) a year in credit card payments are *not* accounted for by FAFSA at all.

    Bottom line: Binding ED, often also called "Early Decision" is dangerous for anyone needing any form of financial aid. Non-Binding ED, which is called "Early Action", is fine.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    In our area ED is "binding" you are stating that if they take you; you will attend, regardless of scholarship.

    EA (early action) is not binding.

    Most kids do EA to be eligible for merit.

    EA and ED are not equal.

    Understand if you accept the ED you are bound to the school regardless if you get a scholarship. You made a commitment to them that you will go in Sept.
     
  15. CoachBart

    CoachBart Member

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    Great advice.

    That is exactly the way I am handling this process. I am by no means rich and my credit is not outstanding either. My fear is I am afraid I will be a stumbling block for my DS when he has always done everything the right way. Wish us luck.
     
  16. educateme

    educateme Member

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    I would like to reiterate the point dunnia made, which I briefly mentioned but s/he clarified much better.

    A lot of people think when the school "advertises" need blind admission policy it means the school will somehow provide a financial aid that will fill the gap between expected family contribution (EFC) calculated by FAFSA and the total cost of attendance.

    Dunnia explained this well. The school is under NO obligation to subscribe to FAFSA's calculation of EFC. The most frequent source: the equity on the house. Some schools even assume parents' 401K is also a fair game to tap into. It is VERY common to see a HUGE difference between the school's EFC and FAFSA's EFC. So, if you get ED acceptance, and the school gives you FA based on THEIR calculation of EFC, the school still considers that you have the binding commitment to honor since they met your financial needs, even if the financial aid falls awfully short of your expectation and puts the family finance in an awful shape. In this day and age, do you really think the parents should empty the last remaining equity on their house, the major financial asset, to send a child to an expensive private school? My answer is no.

    Please note that the scenario I mentioned is a good scenario of the schools that have stated "need blind" admission policy. Many private schools do not say that. In this case, there is NO way out of binding ED contract.

    Third, note that even if the school gives you FA package that is close to what you would expect from FAFSA calculation, please not that a big portion of that may be LOAN, work-study program, etc. NOT a no-strings attached free money. Depending on your own personal circumstance, the loan load may be too big. Work study program may be min 10 hours/week or more. That could be a lot to handle on top of the ROTC commitment, etc.

    I am one of those parents who subscribe to the "top quality education before everything else school of thought". Even so, I would not leave the family with no financial margin if error or let my kid incur loan the size of a home. It spells disaster for the entire family.
     
  17. educateme

    educateme Member

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    one more observation regarding the relationship between the battalion and the admissions office.

    The school my son is attending has a very close relationship with the battalion. That's why I was a bit surprised when I learned that several scholarship winners were rejected by the university. Then I learned this fall that the acceptance rate dipped pretty meaningfully for the class of 2015. That may explain it. The school has an outstanding academic reputation, and I guess they were in NO mood to lower their standard academically, especially when their acceptance rate is nose diving (what other reason could there be? For EC, scholarship says it all in terms of what the student must have on his/her file to pass the Army's test).

    So, the odds are better for admission to the school if you are a scholarship winners AND the battalion and the school admission office have a close working relationship. but, it's no shoe in.

    All the more reason not to play fire with the ED stuff. based on this year's board schedule, the first board outcome won't be out early enough for the ED deadline in most schools. if I have to give one general piece of advice, it is, don't apply ED unless you are willing to foot the bill, AND being a non-scholarship cadet at that school's battalion is 100% acceptable.

    Caveat: there are schools with second round of ED, the dealine is something like Jan.
     
  18. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    One more thing to consider. Some schools will steer academic, athletic, or alumni scholarships to incoming freshmen that fill a certain need for the school: Debate team, band, ROTC, etc. When a ROTC program has a prospect that is high quality but unlikely to make the cut for an ROTC Scholarship, they can advocate on the prospect's behalf for those "other" pots of money. No ROTC Scholarship does not necessarily mean no scholarship.
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^ I know DS's NROTC battalion alumni provide scholarships to out of state students which bring costs down to "near-in-state" for those who successfully complete orientation.
     

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