Scholarship funding is on many applicants’ minds around this time of year, for good reason. I’ve written recently about the importance of working on a broad-based financial plan, and most applicants hope that scholarship funding will make up as large a part of that plan as possible. Each year the release of admissions decisions triggers a deluge of requests for scholarship reconsideration and increased funding, and I figured a bit of detail on how our process works (and more specifically, why it works the way it does) could be helpful.
A good place to start is the reality that we’ve basically allocated all available scholarship funds to admitted candidates. I use the “basically” qualifier here as the level of scholarship funds is a bit of a moving target. We sometimes jokingly refer to “Monopoly money,” since a significant part of the total scholarship funding we’ve offered to admitted candidates isn’t actually real; in fact, we’ve put at least twice as much money “on the street” as our scholarship budget contains. Sounds a bit nutty, right? Admissions work is both art and science, and the science bit is important here. Offers of admission and corresponding scholarship awards are made each year in the context of many past years’ worth of enrollment data, so while it’s true that we offer far more money than actually exists, we can do so confident that we won’t get out over our skis. A certain portion of admitted candidates will decide not to accept their admissions offer, and we know quite precisely what we’re able to offer beyond what we really have – in terms of spots in the class as well as scholarship awards – and still remain within budgetary and class capacity bounds.
A common request we receive is to redistribute funds vacated by candidates who decline their admissions offers. As per the above, though, declined awards don’t represent real dollars, at least not on a one-to-one basis. The ebb and flow of the admitted candidate pool during the enrollment process does indeed sometimes result in real additional funds becoming available (although when this happens, it tends to be in pretty modest amounts), and you can be confident that we will always redistribute such funds. This is typically only possible toward the end of the enrollment process, though, when we have a much clearer sense of where we stand.
We’re well aware of the hard work and sacrifices admitted candidates put in to their financial plans, and we will be sure to distribute every available scholarship dollar in support of those efforts!