Parents Clueless how college stuff works...

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
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Where do you look for merit scholarships? Are they school specific? Are coaches pointing you to them? We looked at and there aren't many that would be enough to make a dent on tuition, or they are so specific. This makes out-of-state walk on out of reach.

Yes, out of state walk on is difficult as most of the schools with gymnastics programs are state schools and generally private schools have more to offer for merit scholarships although there are some state schools that have significant academic scholarships. Also some states offer in state rates to nearby states or for students who meet academic criteria
private colleges will award merit scholarships (aside from the Ivies). Most public colleges offer very little in the way of financial assistance to out of state students. There are exceptions but in general, the money is earmarked for in state students so expect to pay for most of it yourself, unless your child is top of the top in something.

This. I played a sport at a small, D3, private, out-of-state school. In that case, the coaches worked with the admissions dept. to put together the best aid package they could. I ended up with about a half-scholarship (that was ambiguously named and merit based, I guess) and when I stopped playing the sport two years in, the scholarship remained through the end of undergrad. The scenario played out to different extents with three small private D3 schools before I chose.

I should add that my very large in-state school offered zero need-based financial aid (though I was not going to walk on or anything) and that it was actually less expensive to go private out-of-state than it would have been to go public in-state.
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