Do you know how generous colleges are with their financial aid and merit scholarships?
By the time students get to high school, hopefully their parents have saved whatever they can for college, but most likely that won’t be enough. At this point, the most impactful steps families can take is to make sure students do as well as possible on the ACT/SAT, keep up their GPA, and most importantly, be strategic about the colleges their student applies to.
As part of the college search process, families need to research the financial aid giving history of schools. What this means is families need to understand basic information about how colleges award money. For example:
- Does the college award merit scholarships? Not all colleges do. So if you’re a family that will not qualify for needs based financial aid, but still need money, you’ll want to make sure the colleges your student applies to offers merit scholarships.
- What percent of financial need does the college meet? If you’re a family that qualifies for needs based financial aid, you’ll want to make sure your student is applying to colleges that meet a high percentage of your financial need.
- What’s the average dollar amount the college offers for institutional grants? A college may offer financial aid, but if the average amount is a small fraction of the total cost, the financial aid won’t help pay to go to that college.
- What percent of students not eligible for financial aid receive money? This information is helpful for families looking for merit scholarships. It gives a sense of how many students that don’t receive financial aid are given money, which is usually in the form of merit scholarships. The higher the percentage, the better off you are applying to that school for merit scholarship money, as long as your student’s test scores and GPA fall in the top percentage of what the school normally admits.
By knowing the answers to the above questions, you’ll be making better decisions about where your student should apply to college and receive money along the way.
To get started, tell us 3 colleges your student is interested in and we’ll tell you how generous those schools are with their financial aid and merit scholarships.