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Updated [Veterans PSA]: No scholarship because we assumed you had full GI Bill coverage.

LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
edited December 2018 in Law School Admissions 4850 karma

See my post on 17 Dec below for update:

After submitting my apps to schools that I am seriously considering, I opened up my data to the LSAC CRS program, thereby eliciting the typical volume of fee waivers and marketing emails one gets from this service. Based on school solicitations, I have done a deep dive on a few, including Boston College. Up front, I don't feel that I would be a competitive applicant for Boston College, either for admission or for any significant amount of scholarship. However, one part of their application's fine print made a statement, to wit: Any scholarship offer will be reduced based on any veteran's benefits you receive so that the two combined will not exceed the cost of tuition.

As a veteran, I took serious offense at this statement. What I earned as a benefit in my 25 years of military service has absolutely zero to do with and should be totally independent of any scholarship consideration a school should give me.

No other school that I've applied to or looked at has made any statement remotely similar to this one. Has anyone else seen anything like it?

Comments

  • eRetakereRetaker Free Trial Member
    2043 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    After submitting my apps to schools that I am seriously considering, I opened up my data to the LSAC CRS program, thereby eliciting the typical volume of fee waivers and marketing emails one gets from this service. Based on school solicitations, I have done a deep dive on a few, including Boston College. Up front, I don't feel that I would be a competitive applicant for Boston College, either for admission or for any significant amount of scholarship. However, one part of their application's fine print made a statement, to wit: Any scholarship offer will be reduced based on any veteran's benefits you receive so that the two combined will not exceed the cost of tuition.

    As a veteran, I took serious offense at this statement. What I earned as a benefit in my 25 years of military service has absolutely zero to do with and should be totally independent of any scholarship consideration a school should give me.

    No other school that I've applied to or looked at has made any statement remotely similar to this one. Has anyone else seen anything like it?

    I've seen similar things in undergrad for need-based scholarships. For instance when a student wins an outside scholarship and uses it for his or her tuition, the undergrad will reduce the need-based scholarship by the same amount lol. For law schools, if you think about it, the higher the salary you earn and the more savings you make, the lower your need-based scholarships are. The obvious issue is that people are punished for making smart financial decisions or for winning scholarships. On the other hand, the schools may think that the money is better spent on a more "needy" admit if you come in with savings or in your case veteran's funding. Though it's kind of weird that BC is saying that regarding a Merit scholarship.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    @eRetaker I had not thought of the distinction between merit and need-based. I understand if it is only for need-based. I think I’m going to call their admissions office and see. Thanks!

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    edited October 2018 3652 karma

    Some schools (ie Harvard, from what I’ve heard), even lower your scholarship by the amount of money you make during law school. ie you work an internship at a big law firm and make a few grand over the summer, then your scholarship gets lowered by a few grand.
    Why are you bothered by BC? It just says they take into consideration things like your GI bill, so that your merit + need based scholarship + GI bill doesn’t end up exceeding the cost of tuition.
    There’s a lot of fine print when it comes to scholarships.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    edited October 2018 4850 karma

    @oshun1 said:

    Why are you bothered by BC? It just says they take into consideration things like your GI bill, so that your merit + need based scholarship + GI bill doesn’t end up exceeding the cost of tuition.
    There’s a lot of fine print when it comes to scholarships.

    My source of frustration is that benefits I earned as a service member should have no impact on any merit based scholarship I receive. Why should a school get to measure me by a different metric based my veteran status? I also get a retirement check. Should I get offered less merit scholarship because I faithfully served my country for 25+ years? I sacrificed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, missed literally years of my children's life because I was vacationing in middle eastern desert countries. And I'll just lightly breeze over 4 separate combat deployments as an infantryman and other sea time I have traipsing around as a guest of the US Navy. Should I now miss out on scholarship consideration as well?

  • eRetakereRetaker Free Trial Member
    2043 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    @oshun1 said:

    Why are you bothered by BC? It just says they take into consideration things like your GI bill, so that your merit + need based scholarship + GI bill doesn’t end up exceeding the cost of tuition.
    There’s a lot of fine print when it comes to scholarships.

    My source of frustration is that benefits I earned as a service member should have no impact on any merit based scholarship I receive. Why should a school get to measure me by a different metric based my veteran status? I also get a retirement check. Should I get offered less merit scholarship because I faithly served my country for 25+ years? I sacrificed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, missed literally years of my children's life because I was vacationing in middle eastern desert countries. And I'll just lightly breeze over 4 separate combat deployments as an infantryman. Should I now miss out on any scholarship consideration as well?

    Tuition is by no means the only cost of attending school, especially for an older applicant.

    Yeah, the Harvard example isn't necessarily applicable since HYS is pure need-based, which is why summer earnings decrease the aid received. Living costs in Boston is also not cheap so definitely check in with them regarding the merit scholarship condition.

  • 1000001910000019 Alum Member
    edited October 2018 3279 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    @oshun1 said:

    Why are you bothered by BC? It just says they take into consideration things like your GI bill, so that your merit + need based scholarship + GI bill doesn’t end up exceeding the cost of tuition.
    There’s a lot of fine print when it comes to scholarships.

    My source of frustration is that benefits I earned as a service member should have no impact on any merit based scholarship I receive. Why should a school get to measure me by a different metric based my veteran status? I also get a retirement check. Should I get offered less merit scholarship because I faithfully served my country for 25+ years? I sacrificed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, missed literally years of my children's life because I was vacationing in middle eastern desert countries. And I'll just lightly breeze over 4 separate combat deployments as an infantryman and other sea time I have traipsing around as a guest of the US Navy. Should I now miss out on scholarship consideration as well?

    I assume they are only considering benefits that would go towards tuition. The end result for you is the same: you get tuition covered. It's either going to be the government or the school paying for your tuition. The government has more money and that would allow the school to direct that money elsewhere (presumably towards giving another student a scholarship).

    In case I misunderstood your frustration and you still agree with your quoted post, let me give you an analogy:
    - John has worked for twenty years before starting law school. John has accumulated a significant amount of money from working.
    - Jill is entering school at the age of 25 and has never worked a day in her life. Jill's parents don't earn much money either.

    The result is going to be that Jill qualifies for need based aid and John won't. Does it upset you that John is effectively punished for working? I personally don't think it makes much sense, but it doesn't bother me.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    @10000019 I have absolutely no issue with need-based calculations for schools. Full transparency and openness for available assets helps ensure those most in need get available assistance. My issue is that the school application referenced “all scholarships” and veterans benefits only. A less controversial statement would have been “all sources of income will be taken into consideration for need-based scholarships.” Why are veteran benefits the only thing specifically mentioned on the application?

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    Yeah. I've read fine print at various places that say things like this. Got a scholarship and you get an outside scholarship for a set amount? They'll use that one first and reduce their scholarship by the amount. Even merit based. It's the worst idea ever. Like no one could possibly use the excess for fees or books or other things not covered.
    http://time.com/money/collection-post/4248174/scholarship-award-displacement-college-financial-aid/

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    @AudaciousRed said:
    Like no one could possibly use the excess for fees or books or other things not covered.

    This x100000

  • 1000001910000019 Alum Member
    edited October 2018 3279 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    @10000019 I have absolutely no issue with need-based calculations for schools. Full transparency and openness for available assets helps ensure those most in need get available assistance. My issue is that the school application referenced “all scholarships” and veterans benefits only. A less controversial statement would have been “all sources of income will be taken into consideration for need-based scholarships.” Why are veteran benefits the only thing specifically mentioned on the application?

    Have you confirmed that they include all veteran benefits and not just the benefits that can only go towards tuition? The latter makes perfect sense to me. The former doesn't.

    Clarification: I've also been assuming that it would only apply to those receiving a full scholarship.

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    Yeah, I've seen this disclaimer elsewhere but it usually just says "outside scholarships", which I didn't think about in relations to veteran's benefits, but makes sense that it would be included. They're basically just saying that scholarships that are meant to go toward tuition can't add up to more than the tuition amount; they aren't refundable, because they only apply to tuition. If money is allocated for tuition, it's not allowed to go toward living costs, books, etc. Frustrating, but makes sense. I see it as someone mentioned above - it's kind of nice if the government can afford to pay your whole tuition, then the school's money can be put toward a different student. You'll still have your tuition covered.

    So they're saying if tuition is $60k, and veteran's benefits would put $50k toward that, and you were eligible for a $20k merit scholarship, they'd reduce your merit scholarship to $10k just so the additional $10k overage isn't refundable. But if veteran's benefits were to cover $40k or less in this scenario, they would give you the full $20k.

    It's generally the same regardless of where that outside tuition money came from. I've seen that caveat to refer to any outside scholarship. They're just saying the merit award is for tuition use, not stipend. And if the veteran's benefit is only allowed to go toward tuition, it can't be refundable for living expense use either.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    I'm on hold with the VA education benefits line right now. I'm on the Montgomery GI Bill, which cuts a check directly to me not a school. I had always assumed that if I got one of those sweet Cooley full rides I would be able to use my GI Bill to cover housing and books. More to follow...

  • 1000001910000019 Alum Member
    3279 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    I'm on hold with the VA education benefits line right now. I'm on the Montgomery GI Bill, which cuts a check directly to me not a school. I had always assumed that if I got one of those sweet Cooley full rides I would be able to use my GI Bill to cover housing and books. More to follow...

    If the school expects you to put that towards the tuition, that would be pretty lame. That would be no different than expecting someone working a part time job to count that towards merit scholarships.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    edited October 2018 4850 karma

    Just got off the phone with VA educational benefits. For me, as a Montgomery GI Bill recipient, the VA (government) does not care or even know about my tuition at school or who pays it. Once they verify that I'm attending full time, they cut me a check for the current level of eligibility and send it to my bank to use however I want (tuition, books, housing, dancing pandas, Pabst Blue Ribbon, WWE tickets). So that's why the language about veteran's benefits chafes. I will definitely pay particular attention to the language used if any school offers me a scholarship.

    ETA: I also found out that once my Montgomery GI Bill is used up (which will happen after my 1L year, I am eligible for 12 months of Post 9-11 GI Bill. Something good did come out of the annoying BC language.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    @10000019 said:

    If the school expects you to put that towards the tuition, that would be pretty lame. That would be no different than expecting someone working a part time job to count that towards merit scholarships.

    That gets to the point of my frustration. Again, I totally understand need-based calculations. But to reduce any merit based scholy because of benefits I earned through my military service rubs me the wrong way.

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    @"Leah M B" said:

    So they're saying if tuition is $60k, and veteran's benefits would put $50k toward that, and you were eligible for a $20k merit scholarship, they'd reduce your merit scholarship to $10k just so the additional $10k overage isn't refundable. But if veteran's benefits were to cover $40k or less in this scenario, they would give you the full $20k.

    That's the rub of it... They're taking money that you earned, in order to not give you money that you earned. In that scenario, they'd be taking money to offset their merit scholarship. (Merit, not need based adjustment). Who cares if you busted ass and got scholarships galore? More power to you. No one should indirectly take those from you by taking their own, already-granted scholarships away like that. It's ridiculous.
    And in his case, if they do reduce it.. it's even worse, because that money wouldn't even go to the school, but to him, with the stipulation that he can use it as he pleases. A school trying to take or use that money against him is absolutely wrong. Did he earn the merit scholarship the school freely offered? Then that's all that should matter. Outside merit based aid is between him and those that grant it to him. The only time this should matter is when it is need based aid, and he doesn't have a need.
    I hate the games they play. It's nonsense.

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    3652 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    Just got off the phone with VA educational benefits. For me, as a Montgomery GI Bill recipient, the VA (government) does not care or even know about my tuition at school or who pays it. Once they verify that I'm attending full time, they cut me a check for the current level of eligibility and send it to my bank to use however I want (tuition, books, housing, dancing pandas, Pabst Blue Ribbon, WWE tickets). So that's why the language about veteran's benefits chafes. I will definitely pay particular attention to the language used if any school offers me a scholarship.

    ETA: I also found out that once my Montgomery GI Bill is used up (which will happen after my 1L year, I am eligible for 12 months of Post 9-11 GI Bill. Something good did come out of the annoying BC language.

    Nice. Reading through this thread I do see why you were frustrated, they shouldn’t essentially take away $ from you by lowering your well deserved scholarship in the amount of your also well deserved military benefits. Also wtf I didn’t realize the GI bill only covered a year (or 2 years with the post 9-11)

  • loosekanenloosekanen Alum Member
    edited October 2018 138 karma

    So you're making a few assumptions here. You're assuming that this language is inclusive of all possible chapter GI Bill bennies when it's likely geared toward chapter 33 users. Montgomery is probably such a rare bird with law schools, simply because it doesn't make a lot of sense to use it against chapter 33 for almost all applicants, that it DOES make some sense from their point. They're just considering post 9/11. The stipulation essentially covers the school's right to assert their own right to maximize the GI Bill payments they get since chapter 33 is exclusively "last-payer". If they offered you 40k and post 9/11 covered 11k then they're in the same boat if they offer 30k and post 9/11 offers 21. In each scenario the student gets zero money on the back end unless some of that scholarship is converted to living stipends. Some schools do that. No school is required to.

    And anyway, BC should have a bad taste in your mouth anyway because of its paltry yellow-ribbon contributions. Not that it's relevant to a Montgomery user but that should tell you all you need to know about BC's desire, or lack thereof, for veterans.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    @oshun1 If I remember correctly, the Montgomery GI Bill covers 36 months (or whatever 4 years without summer months is). I used it to get my undergraduate degree which is why I only have 13 months eligibility left (I graduated in just under 3 years).

    @loosekanen Yeah, old fogies like me still using the Montgomery are rare. Since I already used ~2 years of it and did not switch to 9-11 prior to retiring, its what I have. It was the only thing going at the time when I got my undergraduate degree (mid 1990’s). I just think its a bonus that I can use 12 additional months of Post 9-11 (Chapter 33) after I exhaust my Chapter 30. I had no idea that was an option. As far as Yellow Ribbon, I don’t feel like universities “owe” veterans any addition consideration under this program. Props to those that do, but I don’t see it as a negative to those that don’t. Now that I know I am eligible for 9-11, Yellow Ribbon will factor into my financial calculations, but I don’t hold any negative impression of schools that don’t participate. TBH, I’m still basking in my happiness of new found eligibility.

  • LivingThatLSATdreamLivingThatLSATdream Alum Member
    500 karma

    The way around this... at least for some schools is having the school label the "scholarship" as a stipend. All scholarships must be reported to the schools financial aid office, including veterans benefits. It does get a little complicated. I've heard some people negotiate at schools for instance, they have a scholarship for 20k per year. Schools COA is 60k/year. They have full scholarship through VA benefits, but it only last two years. So they ask the school to award the 20k per year scholarship in the final year for 60k. Others I've heard about is they ask them to reclassify the scholarship as a stipend. I'm sure some schools are more flexible. This will definitely be part of your negotiation process once scholarship and acceptances come through. Good luck!

  • loosekanenloosekanen Alum Member
    138 karma

    Since it's now relevant with your 33 bennies here's an awesome spreadsheet that gives you school-specific info: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TZWCZ79yFzrv2J6bdyzqtS_uZFb8-mQ-9pXkALxEtw8/edit#gid=1439159944

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    edited October 2018 4850 karma

    The more I dig, the more I think this is a thing (schools reducing scholarship offers due to veteran benefits). 2 separate examples in the below linked thread. For those that it applies to, its definitely something to watch as we play the admissions game.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/LawSchool/comments/9nc55m/for_my_fellow_law_school_veterans/

  • Beast ModeBeast Mode Live Member
    844 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker Thank you for your service and best of luck with the admission process :smile:

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    Update on this issue for the Veterans in the house. I've had 2 schools offer me admission without any scholarship (I'm over LSAT 75th %'s at both schools). Both have told me they did not offer scholarships because they assumed I had full coverage by the GI Bill.

    Which I don't. So yeah, that's a thing.

  • mjmonte17mjmonte17 Alum Member
    757 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker Wow, that's unfortunate. Thanks for giving us the heads up! How irresponsible of the schools to assume that. Hopefully you can convince them to reconsider in light of their mistaken assumption.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    edited December 2018 4850 karma

    @mjmonte17 Admission people at both have told me to send an addendum. I am also sending an addendum to each of the other schools at which I have already been accepted or am still waiting for a decision from. Yikes!

  • mjmonte17mjmonte17 Alum Member
    757 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker That sounds like the right move, hope it works out for you!

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    Update on this issue for the Veterans in the house. I've had 2 schools offer me admission without any scholarship (I'm over LSAT 75th %'s at both schools). Both have told me they did not offer scholarships because they assumed I had full coverage by the GI Bill.

    Which I don't. So yeah, that's a thing.

    Wow. That is ridiculous to assume. Especially by law school, I imagine many are tapped out. My spouse is a veteran, but his benefits are long gone.

  • cqas190517cqas190517 Alum Member 🍌
    535 karma

    Fellow Marine here. It’s quite a regional thing, it seems, since here in SoCal I’m not really seeing this issue. Maybe you should look to nicer weather here in sunny California because the schools seem more military-friendly :)

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    @cqas190517 said:
    Fellow Marine here. It’s quite a regional thing, it seems, since here in SoCal I’m not really seeing this issue. Maybe you should look to nicer weather here in sunny California because the schools seem more military-friendly :)

    Semper Fi! One of the schools noted is a California school, one of the UC's. The very first thing in my acceptance package from that school was a statement about how they love supporting the military, which I now find totally ironic.

    FWIW, I sent the updated addendum to all of the school I'm interested, whether accepted or still pending. Most of them responded as one would hope, that no assumptions played into their consideration. One said that he found the practice borderline unethical. This is really putting a sour taste in my mouth about this whole process.

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    image

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    Lol, thanks @AudaciousRed

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    Hope they extend the scholarships to you.

  • TYFYS2021TYFYS2021 Alum Member
    9 karma

    Definitely interested in how this plays out as I’ll be applying next year just before retirement. Keep the updates coming.

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