I called Merit and it's very important that you call them this
afternoon or Monday, because you only have until next Wednesday or
Thursday to fax in required information in order for your son to
possibly get a scholarship.
I talked to a representative in Merit's Educational Services dept.
There were 15,000 finalists and not all of them got the $2,500
scholarship because there weren't enough to go around. Only about 15%
of finalists receive that one-time grant.
It's important that you or your son call Merit -- call 847- 866-5100
and ask for Educational Services -- and discuss this with a staffer at
Merit. You need to tell them that you didn't receive the $2,500
scholarship, and tell them about your son opting to attend RPI, so
they can advise you on which scholarship your son can apply for and
just what kinds of documents you'll have to fax into Merit. (You may
have to ask RPI to fax a document into Merit attesting to the fact
that your son has been accepted.)
The representative told me this information is in the leaflets that
your son should have received. No matter, you or your son need to call
Merit ASAP and they will tell you just what kinds of documents and
information they need. Next Thursday is the absolute latest that you
can fax those items in.
Merit's Web site is:
National Merit Corporation:
Phone: (847) 866-5100
Fax: (847) 866-5113
I also heard back from RPI. They ask that you contact them directly,
so that they can discuss the possibility of additional grants or
RPI's Financial Aid office phone: (518)-276-6813
Or contact them via Web mail:
RPI's financial aid page is:
At top left see such links as "How To Apply For Aid" and
At that latter page:
See "When you use your FAFSA form to apply for aid, you are
automatically considered for aid from all available sources, including
scholarships and grants. So you don't have to worry about filling out
dozens of separate forms. . .at Rensselaer, one form does it all!"
There's also a link for financial resources outside of RPI:
Read the Merit students discussion group, "College Confidential":
See what other Merit students and parents have to say:
"You should know that only about half of the finalists end up with any
"But also be aware that there are some schools that will automatically
give you full scholarship (or excellent school) if you are a finalist.
So unless you have very definite and narrow preferences for where you
hope to attend, there will be school's for you if you are a finalist.
There's another thread here somewhere about which schools give good
NMF schools . . ." [I couldn't find that thread.]
Feel free to post re: your situation and you may get some very
instructive feedback from other parents who are veterans of the battle
for student aid.
Many scholarship programs for current high school seniors had a deadline of
December 2003 -- April 15, 2004.
So, with regard to some of these following programs, your son may not
be awarded the grant or scholarship until Jan. 2005. As you probably
know, it's a bit too late now to apply for most scholarships in time
to qualify for fall semester 2004.
GRANTS/SCHOLARSHIPS FOR ENGINEERING STUDENTS:
The National Society of Professional Engineers:
You're way too late for the high school seniors program, but check out
the one for students in engineering programs:
"Current Engineering Undergraduate Students":
"The Professional Engineers in Industry (PEI) Scholarship ($2,500)
(Female or Male, $2,500 for one year)
Applicants must be sponsored by a NSPE/PEI member."
"The Paul H. Robbins, P.E., Honorary Scholarship ($10,000) . . . is
awarded annually to a current engineering undergraduate student
enrolled as a sophomore in 1) an ABET-accredited engineering program,
and 2) attending a
college/university that participates in the NSPE Professional
Engineers in Education(PEE)Sustaining University Program(SUP)."
So, that's one you'd have to file away until your son is in his
sophomore year. If he qualifies, he'll receive two separate payments
of $5,000: one for his junior year, then another $5,000 for his senior
FastWeb's directory of scholarships for engineering students:
Here's Michigan State's guide to scholarships and grants for engineering students:
These programs include:
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
Engineering Information Foundation
Michigan State University's guide to grants recommends this book:
" 'RSP [ Reference Service Press] Funding for Engineering Students,
2000-2002' by Gail A. Schlachter and R. David Weber. El Dorado Hills,
Ca. : Reference Service Press, 2000. 1st edition, 218pp. Main Library
East) Funding Center T73 .R77 ed. 1 . . . . Covers more than 650
funding programs in all areas of engineering set aside specifically to
support study, research, creative activities, past accomplishments,
future projects, and travel for both undergraduate and graduate
I found that edition of the book at RSP's site:
"This is the most comprehensive listing of scholarships, fellowships,
forgivable loans, loan repayment programs, awards, prizes, and
internships available to undergraduate and graduate students majoring
in engineering. In all, 700 funding opportunities are covered here . .
. . Completely up to date, each of the program descriptions is
prepared from current material supplied by the sponsoring
organization. All areas of engineering are covered . . . ."
I also found the 2001 edition of the book, for $30, at Barnes & Noble Online:
GENERAL GRANT/SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS:
is an extremely helpful site that delineates various programs and
application criterion in an easy-to-understand (well, as easy as it's
ever going to get) style.
FinAid recommends the aforementioned FastWeb for scholarship/grant
searches, along with these services listed at:
All of the following are clickable links:
"College Board's FUND FINDER
Wintergreen/Orchard House Database"
I tried the College Board's Scholarship Search:
At top left on that page click on "Scholarships & Aid" to bring up:
See the sub-headers:
"Learn How to Find College Scholarships
The Steps in Applying for Financial Aid
The Family Share: Your EFC [Expected Family Contribution]"
Under "How To Apply"
See "How Scholarships Affect Your Financial Aid Package: Private
scholarships can actually reduce parts of your financial aid package.
How? Colleges must consider outside scholarships as a student's
financial resource, available to pay for education costs. . . ."
"What should matter to you is which types of your aid are reduced or
eliminated -- self-help aid (loans or work-study) or need-based
grants. Colleges, following federal regulations, can adjust your aid
package in a variety of ways . . . ."
That's a key point because some schools have programs that grant
National Merit winners some money for Merit (as RPI has done), but as
I *understand* it, some schools require Merit winners to forego the
$2,500 National Merit Scholarship in order to qualify for that
school's program. In some cases, giving up the $2,500 is hardly a
problem as the alternative scholarship is worth more.
So, when you call RPI *be sure to ask them* if your son does manage to
get a scholarship from Merit, would that hurt or help his ability to
get additional financial aid from RPI?
I also tried the link for Major-Specific:
You'll see three programs listed there, but one is for post-doctoral
students and another is for minorities. There's also a scholarship for
*mechanical* engineering students.
More scholarships for engineering students:
Also see scholarships by state, major, etc.
Here's the single most valuable general resource I found: Michigan
State University's mammoth guide to financial aid for undergraduates:
Many of those resources are weighted toward Michigan residents;
however, you'll find tons of programs applicable to students across
the U.S. They include:
Alger Association Scholarships (Horatio)
Adventures in Education
For some good, general background on the current financial aid
situation, my colleague and friend, omnivorous-ga, suggests you read
this April 22, 2004 New York Times article, "As Wealthy Fill Top
Colleges, New Efforts to Level the Field," written by David Leonhardt:
scholarships AND "Merit finalists"
financial aid college
college AND scholarships OR grants AND engineering
I hope my research is of help to you.
Please post a "Request For Clarification," if you need help navigating
any of the above links, or if you require clarification on any of the
above points, prior to rating my answer.