May 25, 2005 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Okay, this is probably going to come off as kinda pretentious, but has anyone ever dealt with winning TOO much scholarship money?

I'm...pleased to have this problem, but it's stressing me out. I won two major Canadian undergrad scholarships. One of them has a strict (?) requirement that I receive only $17 000 TOTAL a year in scholarship funds. I'm a few hundred over that limit.

My question is: should I fudge the numbers a bit, and lie? Will they do indepth research? Should I admit to everything, and risk losing the scholarship? Why on earth do they DO this?

I should add that I'm over because my tuition is high. My tuition is completely waived by a different scholarship, so the higher my tuition, the higher the amount of money I'm "receiving". If that makes any sense.
posted by stray to Education (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A tuition waiver and a scholarship are not necessarily the same thing. Check carefully how the program defines receipt of scholarship funds.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:51 PM on May 25, 2005

I tried far as they're concerned, it's the same thing. Still, I'm willing to tell myself that the two things are completely different, and then lie through my teeth. But I suppose that's not really a solution.

What I could've done earlier in the year is tried to pay back some of the money to one of 'em. But I'm an idiot, and I left it until now 'cause I didn't want to think about it.
posted by stray at 4:04 PM on May 25, 2005

Bluff. They'll never catch you. I know for a fact that at UBC the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, and I imagine it's a similar situation in other Vancouver schools (SFU, Emily Carr, or wherever it is you're attending). Congrats, too.
posted by ori at 4:19 PM on May 25, 2005

One year I had too much money, from the combination of a state scholarship and a city scholarship. The bursar asked "How would you like to handle this?" I thought for a second and said "Can I get the excess in the form of a check?" They said "Sure, no problem" and I left very happy.
posted by fixedgear at 4:20 PM on May 25, 2005

My university had a regular line set up the beginning of each semester for people with excess scholarship money that they just gave you in a check and that was the end of it. I loved that. Didn't have any restrictions to total amounts, though. Looking back, I'm not sure that everything I did was entirely what I was supposed to but I had enough justification to make it work...
posted by dagnyscott at 5:02 PM on May 25, 2005

To be pefectly frank, it's kind of hard for an awarding body to take back money that's already spent and I highly doubt that--even if they knew you violated the terms of your scholarship--they'd persue the matter (said without knowing the exact terms of your scholarships). I'd bluff, especially as it doesn't seem that you're violating the intent of the scholarship terms (which, as far as I can tell, include a maximum amount of total funding as a condition to ensure that scholarship money is spread equitably and fairly). Also, congratulations!
posted by lumiere at 5:50 PM on May 25, 2005

I disagree with those who have suggested you bluff or find some way to keep the extra money. When you won the scholarships, you entered into an agreement with the donors to abide by the established rules. I think your question was motivated more by the desire to do the right thing rather than fear of being caught, so you understand what I'm driving at. Talk to the people who awarded you the scholarships and negotiate a solution.

OTOH, if you do keep the extra money, you won't have to wrestle with the question of the price of your integrity later in life since you've established it early. You could go into politics as soon as you graduate.
posted by forrest at 8:11 PM on May 25, 2005

As for all of the people saying that the awarding body will be unwilling or unable to pursue the already distributed and/or spent funds, this is wishful thinking.

I received a tuition waiver and stipend for all expenses from my university. Included in this stipend was a few hundred dollars each year for mandatory health insurance. If you had your own insurance, however, you could receive a refund of that cost by presenting proof. So, for the first two years, I just went in and showed my insurance card, and my account was credited a few hundred dollars. My junior year, after doing so, I received an angry phone call from the bursar's office demanding the money be returned. We went around and around on this, as I felt that the stipend was mine, regardless of my choice of insurer. In the end, my choice was either to pay it back or have a hold on my transcripts and registration. Now, their scholarship letters explicitly state that this paltry sum for insurance must be refunded to the university if a student shows proof of insurance.

That said, if the scholarship with the limit is distributed by a private organization, they may be more lenient. However, I think there is a key issue here that is not addressed. Does the limiting scholarship completely disappear if you receive more than the limit, or does it simply reduce its payout to reach the limit? If it disappears, I'd say fudge it, and play dumb if caught. If it simply reduces its payout, then do the honorable thing and inform them.
posted by MrZero at 9:00 PM on May 25, 2005

I had the same problem when I was an undergraduate. I assume that the distributors of your first scholarship (the tuition waiving one), whether they are the university or a private organization, will be more than happy to keep a few hundred dollars. Just explain the situation and ask that they keep a little of their money. Chances are that they will understand.
posted by Alison at 9:31 PM on May 25, 2005

I would make sure I confirmed with Canadian students or officials. The funding situation overall here is so different than it is in the US that it might not bear comparison.

I have never had that problem and my instinct would be to find some expert advice in the form of someone who works with the actual funding bodies every day. I would seek this advice right away, because the nightmare scenario is that they remove the money at some later date - and you suddenly owe them the whole sum, in one shot, some of which you may have spent.
posted by mikel at 9:43 PM on May 25, 2005

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