Paying for College

Will Older Child's Merit Scholarship Hurt #2's Aid Award?

Question: We have two college-bound children and we will not qualify for need-based aid. The first one has very high scores and has a good chance at merit-aid. The second - not as much. We are debating if to focus the college search of the first around merit aid. My question: If our first gets a significant merit scholarship, would our EFC still drop to a half once the second go to college, or would we still pay our full EFC? (Full EFC for the second if the first has a full ride scholarship - just as an example). Thanks!

That's a really good question ... but, unfortunately, you won't get a really good answer from "The Dean" ... just a far flakier "It depends." I'm also a little confused. You said that you won't qualify for need-based aid. Well, if your EFC is above the cost of attendance for Child #1, this is true. So are you wondering if your EFC may be low enough, once #2 comes along, to allow you to apply for need-based aid? That's what I'm guessing. This is true for many families who can eke out a full-freight payment for a first child but are stretched beyond sanity if they have to cover college costs for two concurrently.

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