Life the Universe and Everything asks: Appropriate question??What percentage of your applicants receive scholarship offers. I'm curious here because at the school I'll be visiting, you have to be in the top 25% to retain your scholarship. Top 26% gets you bupkiss. So if say 50% of applicants walk in with $$$, that tells me they're trying to attract students with higher numbers, and plan on screwing them once they're in the door. Obviously in that scenario, half the folks would lose their scholarships. Is this an appropriate/hot button question to ask? I would also want to know how the sections are allocated. I've heard of school stacking a particular section with scholarship students to make it next to impossible to be in the top percent of the class.
This started as a comment in the last post, but got long. See the comments of that post for Useless Dicta's take.
The first question is absolutely a question you should be asking. You may not get the whole truth on the answer but how they handle it might tell you a lot. My school screwed so many people that was it wasn't even funny. I emerged unscathed with my scholarship in tact, but I was one of the few.
Also, if your numbers are *much* better than the school average and you have other reasons for choosing the school besides scholarship money, I would absolutely negotiate, though not at admitted students weekend of course. Applications are down across the board this year. Leverage that knowledge if you can.
Example, you're offerred full tuition if you maintain top 25%. Ask for that if you maintain top 50% instead, or 3/4 tuition for top 50%. A friend of mine really did that -- she said "thanks, but I can do better at the the cheaper higher ranked state school" and talked her way to a better deal. Took balls and a good back up plan -- she had a good BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement), acceptance at a higher ranked cheaper school that she would be happy enough going to. It was worth it for her. Might work for you if you've got the #'s, a good back up plan, and good reasons why the lower ranked school is otherwise attractive.
I would NOT ask about the section stacking -- they won't own up to that and anything you get from the students will be based on hearsay and conjecture.
I would ask about the curve. Is it a B- median? Or a B- mean? The latter could mean wider distribution and greater chance that if you do land below the curve in one class, it will kill your chance at keeping a scholarship.
Also at my school, 26%-50% still get money, but much much less. Make sure you really get "bupkiss."
But I *would* ask how many people receive scholarships in relation to the rank they have to achieve. And what is the NUMBER of people that you're ranked typically against . . . if there are only 75 full time students, #19 in the class is out of luck.