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Teen who sued parents for tuition chooses college, receives hefty scholarship

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Rachel Canning pictured in court on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WSHM) — The New Jersey teenager who made international headlines last month when she sued her mother and father for financial support and college tuition announced she will be attending Western New England University (WNEU) in Springfield next fall with the $56,000 scholarship she was awarded from the school.

“Decision made,” Rachel Canning said in a March 30 Facebook post, according to NJ.com. “WNE U class of 2018 BME Major w/ 56,000$ (sic) scholarship.”

CBS 3 reached out to WNEU officials for comment Wednesday.

“Federal privacy laws prohibit colleges and universities from discussing the status of prospective and/or current applicants for admission. Therefore, Western New England University cannot comment on the status of any prospective student,” said WNEU’s Assistant Vice President for Marketing Communications David Stawasz.

The Catholic high school senior eventually dropped the lawsuit and returned home and reunited with her parents in Lincoln Park, NJ.

The honor student and cheerleader filed the lawsuit against her parents in March, claiming they threw her out and were making her foot the bill for college.

Her father tells a different story, saying “I know Rachel is a) a good kid, and b) an incredibly rebellious teen, and she’s getting some terrible information.”

Sean Canning claims Rachel ran away in November because she didn’t want to follow house rules.

Tuition and mandatory fees are $33,466 for the coming academic year at WNEU. The total cost rises to $46,154 with room and board. The maximum merit scholarship at WNEU is $16,500 per year. The total can rise to $56,000 or higher over the course of four years, according to Stawasz.

“Western New England University routinely offers merit scholarships to incoming freshmen based on academic achievement. These scholarships range from $5,500 to $16,500 annually and are renewable for four years – as long as a student continually meets certain academic benchmarks,” Stawasz said. “Therefore, these merit scholarships can total between $22,000 and $66,000 over the course of four years. These scholarships are awarded to all incoming freshmen who meet the academic criteria, independent of financial need.”

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9 comments

  • not impressed with wneu

    So much for wanting the best students. I guess that means the best spoiled brat students. Does wneu really need this kind of negative press. Many work very hard to get into school that really need the financial assist this one hopefully will learn quietly, but i doubt it. Used to have respect for this place,not so much right now. Good luck to her classmates, be careful she seems to get her own way and does not care how she gets it.

  • Bryan

    $56K over 4 years is not hefty when the average cost of attendance is $181K for that school. Those are automatic scholarships based on scores/merit. Many private schools are doing this. They are desperate to stay afloat. The personal phone calls from the admissions offices get very annoying.

  • Kimmy M

    Since when are parents obligated to pay for higher education? After the costly expense of raising a child for 18 years, at what point does a child become responsible for their own future? Nothing in life is free. Having college paid for is not a given. Many earn it through hard work. What message is being sent here?

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