WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2014/2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/410492

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Page 171 of 227

Why Do Institutions Offer Merit Money? "Colleges and universities that grant merit-based scholarships do so to achieve their institutional priorities," explains Michael Denning, Interim Head of Upper School at Nobles who previously headed the College Admissions effort at Noble and Greenough School for over fifteen years. Many schools use merit scholarships, or tuition discounting, to attract and enroll strong students who might otherwise choose a dif- ferent college. Using sophisticated predictive models, colleges build estimates of what it might take to lure an attractive applicant away from another school. College X, for example, may offer a $25,000 merit scholarship to a strong applicant who also applied to College Y, a school that does not offer students merit money. College X bets that reducing the cost of tuition by $100,000 over four years will capture the attention of the student applicant and his or her parents and eventually tip their decision in its favor. Does tuition discounting work? A 2012 study by the National Association of Colleges and Business Offices found that those schools that offered the largest awards had the highest yield. Colleges and universities also use merit funds to enhance their community by attracting students who will bring particular talents, interests, or types of diversity to the school. Texas A&M's Regents Scholarships, for example, are earmarked for students who are the first in their family to attend college. University of Virginia offers legacy scholarships to encourage a family tradition of attending the same 170 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 4 / 2 0 1 5 education "leaders in academics and in service to others" M E D I A B A K E R Y What Does It Really Cost to Attend College? Given the availability of scholarships and other financial assistance, the true cost of attending a given college is the net price, or the cost of attendance after all scholarships and grants have been applied. Schools often have a net price calculator on their websites to help families estimate their likely out-of-pocket cost. To compare the tuition and net prices of colleges and universities, see the US Department of Education's College and Affordability Center (www.collegecost.ed.gov), which publishes this data across sectors (private and public, two- and four-year programs), as well as lists of schools with the highest increases in tuition and fees and net prices.

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