VMI Financial Aid problems....

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Strength and Honor, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    So back in March, I received my financial aid form from VMI. Cost of attending and the burden of debt was something very serious to me, so I was obviously happy to see that I had won $13,000 in merit scholarships and another $2000 in loans- enough to cover Room and Board with my AROTC scholarship.

    I checked the financial aid account about two months later, and all of those merit scholarships were gone, only showing my Army ROTC scholarship. The rest showed up as my cost to pay. I was obviously confused, wondering where my scholarships went, so I emailed them asking if there was some sort of problem with the letter. Here's what I got back today:

    "You did not receive any merit money.
    The money that you received was a Perkins Loan
    and VMI money based on your need. Your Army
    Scholarship covers your need - based on your FAFSA results.
    It states on the back of your award letter that your award will
    be adjusted if you receive additional resources."

    I feel like VMI kind of pulled a fast one on me..... They say on my financial aid report that I have a certain amount, and then change it once I've committed and the deadline to enroll at other schools has passed..... Now I've got to figure out how to pay $15,000 in R&B+other fees that I had THOUGHT was covered.
     
  2. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    This isn't the first thread I've seen on the topic of the confusion created by "scholarships" and "loans." Schools should be crystal clear before you commit exactly what your bill is going to be. I know you are extremely disappointed, and I am disappointed for you -- been following your story for a while now. :frown:
     
  3. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Regarding the scholarship vs loan: I tracked down my original financial aid letter, and it showed over $16,000 in "VMI Local Scholarships". How could they take those scholarships away at the last second like this? This is a huge unexpected burden on myself and my family.....
     
  4. AvgHser

    AvgHser New Member

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    I went down to VMI recently to find out the total bill, being as it seemed a little strange to throw a big scholarship when I already had the 4 year ROTC. They said that they take away the perkins loan and the local scholarships. Colleges are businesses, man.
     
  5. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    I understand they're businesses, it's just that when they say you have a certain amount and it affects your decision to attend VMI/not attend other schools, and then don't tell you until it's too late.....
     
  6. VMI82

    VMI82 Room 131

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    suck it up

    Young man. The proper response to being offered 'FREE' Money is 'Thank You!'

    I have observed the Financial Aid process through the lens of my DD - and yes, more clarity could be helpful. I too have asked for clarity on similar issues. BUT we did so while expressing PROFOUND gratitude.

    Your post makes you sound entitled, whiny and petulant. Not at all the qualities that a VMI Man would espouse.

    Now I do not know you. I only know what you have written. And you have written a lot … a LOT … about going to VMI. On many and any topic as re VMI.

    So here is your first opportunity to do something every VMI Cadet learns day one:

    SUCK.

    IT.

    UP.

    Accept their present offer and attend on those terms … or don't.

    Either way. You'll learn there are times when your pie-hole is your worst enemy … or in this case, your keyboard.

    Suck it up. Then, with all due respect and as advice for your well being: "shut up."

    If you want 'Fair' - wrong school.

    Ain't nothing 'Fair', 'Right', 'Makes Sense', or 'Equitable' about VMI.

    And that is what is beautiful about the place.
     
  7. soccmomer

    soccmomer Member

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    My understanding of scholarship is that they are usually based on merit, and NOT financial need, as grants are. However, some scholarships do take need into account. You may want to take a look at the terms of the original scholarships. People talk all the time on here about using the AROTC scholarships for room and board if you have received merit scholarships from the college, so I can definitely see your point.
    The Perkins Loan is based on need, so once you accepted your AROTC scholarship for VME, you should have received an updated FA statement - this is what my son's school did. Good luck!
    Also, some schools will still accept students to their programs, just not sure about transferring the scholarship at this point, but is that what you really want to do?
     
  8. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Sorry VMI82, you're not the one who is suddenly looking at $15K in debt, when you worked so hard for the sole reason to not put that burden on your parents. I'm not entitled, I'm just discouraged that a school I put on so high a pedestal would do this.

    Soccmomer: That's just the thing, it's suddenly too late to do anything but attend VMI and pay up when they happen to tell me this.
     
  9. soccmomer

    soccmomer Member

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    There is no problem with writing another letter explaining the situation. Surely explain that one of the reasons for choosing VMI was the nice merit scholarships you received, so that you could use ROTC for room and board, and that now you are in a bind. You can also get your parents involved with the financial aid office. I have had to do that with two of my four children. Even though they were 18 at the time, I know our financial situation a whole lot better than they did, and ultimately, who is paying? The parents, so I felt I had a pretty big stake in the outcome.
     
  10. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Alright, thanks for the advice! I'm about to call financial aid now and hopefully figure something out.
     
  11. glen

    glen Member

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    Financial Aid Awards - or not

    This example is hardly whining. With today's cost of attending college in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, students and parents need to be extremely careful when reviewing financial aid awards. Read the front, back and tiny print - and then call the college or university and ask very specific questions. Any award - whether merit or financial need - should be questioned. I recall when my oldest daughter was offered financial merit based aid at a private college in Pennsylvania in March of 2000 - reading the fine print, it said in so many words "...this award may be withdrawn or amended prior to the effective award date," etc. When I called to ask what this meant - the answer (after several transfers to different managers in the Finance office) was that the "award" was not final until the date when payments were actually due in July! Obviously, by that time, my daughter had little choice but to attend. Fortunately, no changes were made in my case. But the learning is - ask and keep asking - and let the buyer beware.

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, most colleges whether VMI or otherwise, act like businesses today and do this all the time - one might allege it is nearly a "bait and switch" on accepted students - who have very little time to make decisions. Also, a lot of students and parents want to believe in the best - and may be intimidated to call officials and ask hard questions for fear it will affect their acceptance. Students and their parents deserve better - and if this were in the business world, the institution would be subject to law suits if their award letters were deamed to be misleading. But especially public or state colleges like VMI have in many states immunity from suits unless acting outside their charters. Hard to say if this type of possible misinformation qualifies.
     
  12. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    This is the norm

    For those who may read this and are not yet enrolling in college I wanted to make you aware that this policy is the rule and not the exception. In other words anytime you receive any scholarship, ROTC or otherwise, expect your financial aid awards to change from what was initially awarded. There are Federal, State and school specific policies that regulate this situation and require the changes to be made. The school specific awards have the most latitude thus it never hurts to inquire if any other aid is available.
     
  13. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 Member

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    S&H, VMI82 is providing some good advice for an incoming rat. The fact is that your original aid letter said that aid would be adjusted if you received additional assistance. You did in the form of your ROTC Scholarship. VMI Financial Aid then realized they could even the pie so to speak among some of your other Brother Rats who didn't get the ROTC Scholarship (FA is need based not merit). So in order to allocate equal amounts to all of your co-matriculants they re-divvied the pie. The key to surviving the Ratline is going to be those Brother Rats so keep that in mind. Also, keep in mind the help you admitted you received from VMI admissions in learning your application status when you were waiting ED and up against that ROTC scholarship deadline. Good luck and make sure you are conducting daily PT. Cadre week will beat the life out of you if you aren't in good shape.
     
  14. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Thanks for the advice! :thumb: Looking forward to getting to Lexington.
     
  15. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Considering that financial aid is a LOAN and not a SCHOLARSHIP why do they call these things "scholarships"? For that matter, why do they use financial aid "AWARD"? It's not an "award" if you have to pay it back. It's a loan.

    For that matter, since ROTC scholarships require time in the Army after school, those shouldn't be called scholarships either. It's a LOAN you have to PAY BACK in terms of time.

    I don't think S&H's post had a whiney tone, and "sucking up" $15k when he thought that was going to be covered by "scholarships" is plenty of reason to be unnerved where I come from. (Where I come from $15k is a LOT of money. If he were my son, he'd probably be enlisting right now because there is no bank that would loan my family that much money.) I imagine that in his mind at the time of his OP, he was not thinking about how the SCHOLARSHIP money outlined in his financial aid letter affected any of the other rats. How would any of us who are not entrenched in the college financial aid world know that? To call S&H out as if he's going to get punished by the other rats for not being "brotherly" — seriously? For THIS? That is messed up on so many levels.

    ALL SCHOOLS should be editing those financial aid letters to take out the words "award" and "scholarship" unless the money being offered has no repayment terms.
     
  16. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    award
    verb \ə-ˈwȯrd\

    : to give (a reward or prize) to someone or something

    : to officially decide that someone should get (something)

    Full Definition of AWARD

    transitive verb
    : to confer or bestow as being deserved or merited or needed <award scholarships to disadvantaged students>

    schol·ar·ship
    noun \-ˌship\

    : an amount of money that is given by a school, an organization, etc., to a student to help pay for the student's education

    loan
    noun \ˈlōn\

    : an amount of money that is given to someone for a period of time with a promise that it will be paid back : an amount of money that is borrowed

    : permission to use something for a period of time

    Just say'in....:rolleyes:
     
  17. soccmomer

    soccmomer Member

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    Many schools have scholarships that are totally based on merit, not need. For a few of DS's schools he applied for, and was offered 4 year AROTC scholarships to, this was the case. At those schools he would definitely have been able to keep the merit money in place for tuition and use the AROTC scholarship for room and board. However, at one of those he qualified for a Perkins Loan, which is need based. This particular loan would have been taken away. All FA award letters that I have seen state that FA will be adjusted if you are awarded other scholarships....however, scholarships that are totally MERIT based are not adjusted as those are even given to millionaire's kids if they met the terms of the merit award.
    So caution to next years applicants: if you apply to a college and receive a merit award before you are awarded an ROTC scholarship, call the FA office and find out for sure if that award is totally based on merit and not need and IF it will remain the same if you get the ROTC scholarship.
     
  18. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    It's even more complicated than this example

    Again for those who come after:
    Scholarships that are totally based on merit can disappear with ROTC money, depends on the school; they can also disappear if you move off campus, depends on the school

    Perkins loan can still be awarded even with a ROTC scholarship as it depends on the school because ROTC funds should be "blind" to federal funds (Pell, Perkins and subsidized loan are still possible), this changed about 5 years ago to allow the student to still receive these funds

    Some pieces of aid may have both a merit and need component, depends on the school and the state

    So call EVERY school you are considering because it's highly possible something will change whenever you get ANY award.
     
  19. VMI82

    VMI82 Room 131

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    example

    okay … I will give an example of what NOT whining looks like

    on Oct 21 1978 my Virginia War Orphans Scholarship was rescinded while I was a Rat.

    The letter stated "We have determined your Father was NOT killed in the Vietnam War because he was killed before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution"

    I.e., my entire means of paying for school - from my Father's ultimate sacrifice on March 15, 1964 was taken away.

    (he is 122nd name on the Wall - Panel 1E, Line 47)

    THAT was unjust.

    What did I do?

    I 'sucked it up'

    My education was my responsibility. I did not feel entitled … even though I 'was'

    It was MY education.

    'If it was going to be - it was up to me' was my attitude.

    So, after my Rat year I worked 16 hour shifts at Mead paper plant summer of '79 while taking a college class at Lynchburg College.

    I worked while at VMI from then on. (Lifeguard, Student center Host, etc.)

    And I graduated without any debt.

    Furthermore, I did not run my yap before I matriculated and act like I knew the place inside and out.

    There are many paths to VMI but only one way out successfully.

    That way out is what you'll have to future out once you are there … hint: do not a BRF be.

    VMI has a way of beating the crap out of you if you think you have it licked or know it all.

    And it will never ever let up.

    There is only one thing you must have to make it: … not strength, not smarts, not looks, not cool, not wit, not tough.

    That one thing is - Desire.

    You. Must. Want. It. More. Than. It. Sucks.

    And it sucks. And it looks like the suck has already begun. Welcome to VMI.
     
  20. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    I am so sorry about your father, and your scholarship being rescinded. <----- I agree. Definition of "suck" right there.
     

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