Losing a Full-Ride Scholarship

Today I want to share a cautionary tale of a student who lost her full-ride scholarship.
Her dad wrote and asked me for advice because the family can’t handle the out-of-state tuition at Louisiana State University. Frankly, this should never have been an issue for his daughter because she won a full-ride scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana University. I’ll let the dad explain the mess he’s in:
My daughter received a full academic scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana University upon graduation from high school. She graduated #1 in her class with a GPA 0f 4.2 and earned a 30 on her ACT. She was  offered a scholarship to many other universities. Her goal was to become a nurse practitioner, but after one semester she decided she would like to become a dentist.
She was accepted to LSU as a transferring freshman with a 4.0 GPA. She has now been at LSU for one semester and still has a 4.0 GPA. I am not asking for a free ride. My family lives in Mississippi (coastal) and I would like to get the out-of-state tuition waived for her. I also would like to know at what point do we stand up for the kids who have performed and have been model kids. She is not eligible for any grants because her family makes to much money. With the amount of income taxes we pay plus paying for out-of-state tuition it has put our family in a financial tail spin. Any advice would be appreciated.

Losing A Scholarship

Gosh, I don’t know where to begin. This smart girl won a full-ride scholarship, which is extremely rare. Only .3% of college students win a free ride, which pencils out to less than 20,000 students nationwide. The teenager was set to earn a degree without going into debt, which would have allowed her the freedom to move on to a graduate program in nursing. You have to wonder why some one would give up that opportunity, when she decided she wanted to become a dentist.
College students change their majors all the time, but that doesn’t mean they need to change universities. She could have chosen any number of majors at Southeastern Louisiana and still have gotten into dentistry school.
What also puzzles me is why she switched schools without researching what LSU would cost before she transferred. Attending an out-of-state university can be extremely expensive. State universities typically charge more for nonresidents as a way to generate more revenue. At the flagship LSU, Louisiana residents pay $5,764 for tuition versus $16,4549 for everyone else.
Many state universities provide scholarships for extremely bright students from beyond their borders, but those are usually going to be reserved for freshmen, not transfer students. The student, however, should ask about whether there are any scholarships she would qualify for at LSU.

Reciprocal Agreements

It is possible for nonresidents to shrink the cost of  out-of-state universities through one of four regional reciprocity compacts. Here’s where you can learn what these compacts are:

Cutting the Price of Out-of-State Universities

Louisiana and Mississippi are among the southern state participating in a regional reciprocity compact called the Academic Common Market. It would be worth exploring whether the young women would qualify for the cheaper tuition through this compact.

Bottom Line:

Don’t transfer to any school without thoroughly researching what the academic and financial consequences would be.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also write a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch and US News. Follow her on Twitter.

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