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Important Information About Scholarship Stacking
What is “Scholarship Stacking,” and why is it important to understand for college financial aid?
For example, suppose a student is awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the university (merit or need-based) and earns $4000 from outside scholarships (local awards, national scholarships, etc.). In that case, the school might reduce the original $10,000 award to $6000. Some schools first reduce federal loans and/or work-study before reducing grants or scholarships.
Not all colleges do this, but it is essential to be aware of the scholarship stacking policies of the schools that your student is considering.
What you need to do is check college websites for their policies regarding outside scholarship money and if they are not found, call the financial aid office of each school.
If they do NOT allow scholarship stacking, do not lose heart. I have been there with two of my boys. When it happened with my oldest son, I was thoroughly confused because I had no idea what was happening.
In my How to Win College Scholarships ebooks for Parents and Students, I share my experience with scholarship stacking with my boys and how to fight it.
This is vital information that all scholarship-seeking parents and their students need to know to keep any scholarship money that their students win.
Learn what I did and find strategies you can use if the schools your students are considering do not allow scholarship stacking by downloading my ebooks:
Becoming familiar with the terms associated with college, scholarships, and financial aid is also an important part of the whole process.
Read through this list and save it for future reference.
Abbreviations in the College and Scholarship Process
SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test
ACT – American College Test
PSAT/NMSQT – Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
NMF – National Merit Finalist
CLEP – College Level Examination Program
FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid
DRT or IRS DRT – Data Retrieval Tool, Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval tool (Used with FAFSA)
FSA – Federal Student Aid
EFC – Expected Family Contribution – The number used to determine federal student financial aid eligibility. (Note: Beginning with the 2024/2025 school year, the EFC will be replaced by the SAI, Student Aid Index.)
SAR – Student Aid Report – Students receive a Student Aid Report after submitting the FAFSA form. The SAR provides basic information about the family’s eligibility for federal student aid.
COA – Cost of Attendance – The total/comprehensive cost to attend college per year, including books, transportation/travel, room and board, etc.
CSS Profile – College Scholarship Service, an online application used by some colleges and scholarship programs to award non-federal institutional aid. (https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/about)
PPL – Parent Plus Loan – Parent loan taken out for undergraduate students.
NPC – Net Price Calculator – Net price calculators are found on college or university websites and allow prospective students to enter their information in order to find out an estimated cost to attend the institution, after taking grants and scholarship aid into account. (https://collegecost.ed.gov/net-price)
OOS – Out of State
LOR – Letter of Recommendation
DOI – Demonstration of Interest (in a particular college -tour, email communication, etc.)
IB – International Baccalaureate (https://www.ibo.org/)
Applying to College:
EA – Early Action
REA – Restricted Early Action
ED – Early Decision
RD – Regular DecisionScholarship Stacking Policies – Get the Facts Early Click To Tweet
RA – Resident Advisor
RD – Resident Director
ROTC – Reserve Officer Training Core
TA – Teaching Assistant
FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (I had no idea how important this was until my son was injured and taken by ambulance to the hospital in his freshman year of college. Read this now.)
Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.