What is the difference between need-based and merit-based financial aid?

Question: What is the difference between need-based and merit-based financial aid?

Submitted by: Jessica from Charleston, WV

Answer:

When it comes to paying for college, there are many types of financial aid programs available to help students and families cover the cost.

Scholarship and grant program directors typically consider two factors in deciding who should receive the awards: merit and need.

Scholarships that are based on merit are given to students who have achieved something excellent. For example, scholarships might be awarded for good grades, excelling in sports, or writing a great essay.

Grants and scholarships that are based on need are given to students who have shown a financial need for help paying for college. These programs¬†are often based on your family’s income and the cost of the program you are planning to attend.

Some programs consider BOTH merit and need when deciding to whom to give their funds.

 

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