Approximately 90% of colleges award merit scholarships.
And according to the 2016 Tuition Discounting Study from the National Association of College and University Business Officers, 60% of school awarded grants and scholarships were awarded without regard to family financial need.
Some colleges award scholarships based on academic merit, extracurricular talent and other factors such as intended major. Some simply discount tuition (with school-awarded grants & scholarships) in mysterious ways to increase the number of students who enroll.
The most important takeaway is that school awarded merit discounting is on the rise, so when estimating net price for target schools, you must review the school merit aid data as well as any information they disclose about how they award their merit scholarships.
Unfortunately, the process by which many colleges award merit scholarships is not very transparent. But, if you take it a step at a time, you will learn enough to help you make informed decisions about which colleges are more like to be affordable for your family.
Visit each school’s financial aid website and read about how they award financial aid. Most schools differentiate between their need-based grants and their merit-based scholarships.
Review these pages for more information about merit scholarships.
What are your chances of receiving a merit scholarship at your target schools?
How hard is it to earn an athletic scholarship?
Many schools award large merit scholarships or have honors programs that include large scholarships.