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What is Merit-Based Financial Aid?

Explore what merit-based aid is and how it contributes to student academic success. Explore aid optimization options with EAB now.

What is Merit-Based Aid?

What is merit-based aid? This refers to financial aid that is awarded to students based on academic and extracurricular achievements. Unlike other forms of financial aid, merit-based aid does not consider a student’s economic need for financial assistance.

Merit-based aid can provide monetary leverage for students who have demonstrated success in multiple areas, not just academics. For example, a student can receive merit-based funding because of their:

  • Leadership involvement
  • Athletic accomplishments
  • Special-interest activities
  • Standardized test scores
  • Community work

Merit-Based Aid FAQs

What Are the Benefits of Merit-Based Aid?

The most obvious benefit is funding. Merit-based aid is awarded based on student excellence and accomplishments. For those who do not qualify for other forms of financial assistance, merit-based aid can bridge the gap between funding concerns and academic goals.

A U.S. News annual survey showed that full-time undergraduates received an average of $12,088 in merit-based aid for the 2022-2023 academic year.

How Do Students Apply for Merit-Based Aid?

Most institutions automatically consider students for academic-based merit aid. However, some schools or programs require a separate application, interview, or portfolio review.

Regardless, your students will need to complete an application with supporting documents, including transcripts, a personal statement, and proof of enrollment.

How Much Merit-Based Aid Can Students Receive?

How much merit-based aid students receive depends on the school you’re applying to. Award amounts vary but typically range from about $1,000 up to $35,000 per year or more, depending on the cost of the institution.

Improve Your School’s Financial Aid Offerings with EAB

If you need innovative solutions to improve your school’s policy strategy or award structure, check out Enroll360. We’ll help your team ensure that every dollar you commit to aiding is used to further your enrollment and net tuition revenue goals.

For more enrollment insights, listen to ourOffice Hours with EAB podcast.

Contact our team to discover how we can tailor financial aid solutions to meet your needs, supported by our specialized in-house experts.