Like Brother, Like Sister, Like Brother

Two Out of Three Triplets Discuss Life on Campus with Their Siblings

College is supposed to be the time when young adolescents branch out, find their independence, learn to do their own laundry and create a healthy distance between themselves and their families. This was not the case with triplets Danielle, Anthony and Michael Branco.

All three juniors study at the University, though that was not the initial plan. Danielle and Anthony explain how they ended up at the same institution.

“I was actually torn between The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and Monmouth University, and my one brother, Michael, attended Montclair University his first year,” said Danielle. “Knowing that my other brother was going to Monmouth University was a small safety net, but I do not think it truly influenced my decision because Monmouth was a lot closer to my house and it saved me the most money.”

“I did not plan on attending the same school as both my siblings,” remarked Anthony. “I knew Danielle was interested, but I always thought I would go somewhere far. My brother started at Montclair and transferred here, so I had no idea we would be at the same school together.”

Although the Branco siblings attend the same University, they all major in areas of their own, independent interests. Danielle is majoring in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and Journalism, while Anthony majors in Business Marketing and Michael in Computer Science. “We all have different majors and different interests, which is pretty cool because it sets each of us apart,” said Anthony.

Due to their very different areas of study, the Branco siblings say it is not like living at home with each other. In fact, they rarely see each other. Danielle said, “I haven’t seen Michael at all since school started, though I see Anthony at track practice almost every day.”

For Anthony, track is one of the reasons he chose to attend the University. “I decided to come here because I was interested in their business school and there was a good Cross Country and Track and Field program,” he said.

Danielle’s reasons for her choice in universities are a little different. “I decided to go to MU because it is a gorgeous campus that is so close to my house, which allowed me for the first year to work from home,” she said. “It was the best decision for me financially, being that I’m a triplet, and I could commute for a few years. Now, I can appreciate the education I receive here since I declared my communication major.”

As for tuition, many people may be curious as to what kind of financial break siblings may receive if they come in as a package deal. “We don’t get a ‘discount,’ as everyone asks us, but because I commuted for two years and so did my one brother, it worked out better financially, as opposed to other schools where we’d have to dorm all four years,” said Danielle.

Claire Alasio, Director of Financial Aid at the University provides the facts on multiple- students- per-household assistance. “The number of students in a household who attend college – regardless of whether or not it is the same college – is considered on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),” Alasio said. “The FAFSA is the application and basis for all federal and state need-based aid. So, if there is more than one student in college at a time and they attend different colleges, it will increase each student’s need and may impact the student’s eligibility for funding – the effect would be the same for two or more students attending the same college. Some institutions award their institutional aid based on need, so if the need goes up then the need-based aid may go up.”

Alasio adds that some institutions do provide discounts for siblings attending the same school, though our University does not. “In those cases where a sibling discount is offered, then it would be less expensive for both students to attend the same school; without the discount, then it doesn’t matter whether or not both students attend the same institution. MU awards the majority of its scholarships and grants on the basis of academic merit, not financial need, so the number of students in school at the same time – whether at Monmouth University or at different schools – does not factor into a student’s scholarship or grant award.”

Despite not receiving a discount, the Branco triplets believe they made the right choice in schools and are enjoying their time at the University, where they can know their siblings are near without having to live with them. “It’s nice knowing that they’re nearby, but I don’t spend much time with them anyway,” Danielle said. “I’m not a bad sister, I swear!”