How hurt is my application if I apply for financial aid (almost full) being an international student?Answered
I'm thinking about applying to universities like the University of Richmond, Connecticut College, Lafayette College, etc. which claim to offer full demonstrated financial aid for all admitted students. (Although stated that these universities are need-aware for international students). How hurt are my chances of getting into one of these colleges if I am in the top 25% of these colleges (in regards to SAT and GPA) and have lots of community service, a national recognition award, and a few regional/state awards or ECs?
Also, specifically, I'm planning to apply Early-Decision-I to either University of Richmond or Lafayette College.
Lafayette's top 25% GPA is 3.81 and UoR is 3.91 (I have a GPA of around 3.8)
Lafayette's top 25% SAT is 1450 and UoR is 1470 (I have an SAT score of 1500)
I have "strong" EC's in Lafayette College and "excellent" EC's in UoR (According to College Vine Predictor)
Both colleges are pretty suitable for me (I'm slightly leaned towards UoR).
UoR has almost double the endowment that Lafayette has and almost the same amount of students.
I prefer to major in CS.
I'm confused as to which one to apply ED-I to. Any suggestions?
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When people ask me what who the most generous colleges are in financial aid to Int'l student, Lafayette never comes up. You can check for yourself on their Common Data Set. Tuition, room and board is running about $74,000 and their average financial aid grant is like $35,000 so you'll have to come up with $39,000 per year.
One thing International students do not fully comprehend that just because a college/university states that the meet 100% of demonstrated need doesn't mean they are going to give you a full ride. What that means is that if your family can pay $5,000 (after they review your financial aid documentation), they are going to secure $69,000 in financial aid for you. At a Lafayette you are going to get a maximum of 1/2 of that in Grants, and the rest in Loans you have to repay and some work study where you have to keep a job on campus for 4 years. So the actual package might look like this. $35,000 grants, $3,000 work study jobs, $20,000 in private loans, and $11,000 in institution loans for each of the 4 years. So you might be on the hook for $124,000 in loans after you graduate.
Therefore, I would be prudent of you to take a step back and focus only on Need Blind colleges because you have already stated up front that you are looking for nearly a fully ride otherwise your family can not send you to college. Need aware colleges like Lafayette look at your family's ability to pay when considering you for admission. Therefore, there is a built in bias that Lafayette prefers US and Int'l students from wealthy background versus marginalized backgrounds because they do not have the operating budget to be super generous. Endowment is a trickly thing because Berea College in KY doesn't have a huge endowment but everyone gets free tuition. So look at that school. Also, where you go to Undergrad College doesn't define you so if you want to be a Doctor or Lawyer or Architect etc that requires Grad School, it doesn't matter. Just get the best grades you can and the highest LSAT, MCAT, GRE, GMAT etc test score when you apply to grad school. Seriously, you can even transfer from a tiny ranch school like Deep Springs College in middle of nowhere with 25 students per class, and get into an Ivy League school as a transfer. And Deep Springs is a full ride to everyone that gets accepted.
Look up the Common Data Sets for each of the colleges that you are interested in applying to and make your own spreasheet in MS Excel if you can to compare and constrast. Also run a NET Price Calculation for each of the schools. I'm not sure if they are calibrated to International Students or not. But if you run 50 NPC as an American Student, you will quickly see which school have bad financial aid even if their marketing material states otherwise.
I know you asked for an expert answer but there isn't much for me to add here after @CameronBameron gave you a great response. If you're going to be needing almost full aid as an international student at need-aware colleges it's going to hurt your chances. How much is tough to say because so many factors play into it but as @CameronBameron pointed out, both these schools will be biased towards students who have the ability to pay out of pocket.
I'm definitely not trying to be a downer but I think it's important you understand that your chances will be lower because you need more aid. It's not fair to you because so much is outside your control but, unfortunately, it's the reality. I would recommend taking a look at some additional schools as well like @CameronBameron mentioned. If you're dead set on applying ED to one of these schools I think you should apply to UoR because you're leaning that way already.
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