Parents of school-bound children considering expensive private non-profit colleges often wonder how to qualify for institutional merit scholarships. These scholarships may or may not actually be based on merit, but rather act as a discount on the cost of attendance.
Students who wish to increase their chances of receiving an institutional merit scholarship to a private non-profit 4-year university should apply to moderately selective colleges (especially more expensive colleges), have excellent grades and test scores, choose wealthy parents, no one take a gap year and study full-time.
We look at all the stats from which students get institutional merit scholarships.
Average Institutional Scholarships
Based on data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) 2015-16, 80% of students at private nonprofit 4-year colleges receive scholarships, an average of $15,820 per recipient. But this includes grants from sources other than the college itself, such as Federal Pell Grants.
More than half of students (57%) receive institutional grants, averaging $16,027. This includes merit-only institutional grants (36%, $12,060), needs-based institutional grants (31%, $12,354), and no-needed institutional grants (13.3%, $6,289). Combining the merit-only and non-essential scholarships, 44% will receive no-and-merit-only institutional scholarships, an average of $12,008.
The needless institutional scholarships include institutional scholarships that are not based on need or merit, such as tuition and fee waivers for faculty and staff.
The merit-only institutional scholarships are theoretically based on some type of merit, such as academic or athletic talent, but may also include other criteria, such as the student’s status as a fully paid student.
So more than a third (36%) of students at private non-profit 4-year colleges receive institutional merit-only scholarships, an average of $12,060 per recipient. The median is $11,000. A quarter of students who receive institutional merit scholarships receive $16,000 or more and 10% cents receive $21,600 or more.
Which colleges award institutional merits?
The most selective colleges, such as Harvard, Princeton, and MIT, do not award institutional merit scholarships. All of their financial aid is awarded on the basis of financial need, not merit.
However, the next layer confers some institutional merits. They use the grants as a recruitment tool to attract wealthy students and talented students.
Of the students receiving institutional scholarships to private non-profit 4-year colleges, 22% are enrolled in highly selective colleges, 69% at moderately selective colleges, 6% at minimally selective colleges, and 3% at open admission colleges.
The odds of receiving an institutional merit scholarship to a private non-profit 4-year college are 30% at highly selective colleges, 52% at moderately selective colleges, 19% at minimally selective colleges, and 9% at open admission colleges. These figures are global averages. The probability of receiving merit varies by university within each category.
The average merit scholarship also varies by type of college, from $13,853 at highly selective colleges to $7,730 at open admission colleges, likely related to the cost of attendance.
Private nonprofit 4-year colleges that offer online classes are less likely to offer institutional merit scholarships (45% vs. 21%). This is especially true for colleges that offer their entire program online (44% vs. 4%).
Grants based on academic merit
This table shows that more than half of students with an average of 3.5 to 4.0 high school grade point average (GPA) receive institutional merit scholarships. But it also shows that even students with a GPA of less than 2.0 can receive institutional scholarships.
Of the students who receive institutional grants, more than half (58%) have a GPA of 3.5 to 4.0, a quarter (27%) a GPA of 3.0 to 3.4, 9% a GPA of 2. 5 to 2.9, 5% have a GPA of 2.0 to 2.4 GPA, and 1% have less than a 2.0 GPA.
This table shows similar statistics but limited to moderately selective private non-profit 4-year colleges. The percentages receiving institutional benefits are higher, although the average earnings are comparable.
This table shows that SAT test scores do not correlate well with the probability of receiving institutional merit scholarships at private non-profit 4-year colleges. The average scholarship does increase with higher test scores, perhaps because students enroll at more expensive colleges.
Of the students receiving institutional merit scholarships, a third (33%) have below average SAT test scores, 40% have SAT test scores from 1000 to 1199, 22% have SAT test scores from 1200 to 1399, and 5% have SAT test scores from 1400 up to 1600.
The lower percentage of students with a 1400 to 1600 SAT test score who receive institutional merit scholarships may be due to the fact that these students are more likely to enroll at more selective colleges.
This table limits the data to moderately selective colleges, showing that students with better test scores are more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships.
Thus, students with better SAT test scores are more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships unless they enroll in highly selective colleges.
These tables show that high school students taking AP classes or college levels are slightly more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships.
This table shows that students who take more advanced math classes in high school are more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships. They also receive larger grants.
This table shows that students whose parents are higher educated are more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships and larger scholarships.
Grants based on income
Students from wealthier families are more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships at private nonprofit 4-year colleges, as shown in this table.
Of institutional grant recipients, a third (32%) are low-income, a quarter (27%) middle-income and 41% high-income.
Subsidies based on participation costs
This table shows how the percentage receiving institutional grants and the average grant increases as the cost of attendance increases. Wealthier colleges have more money available to provide institutional scholarships. However, a parent will still pay more at an expensive university that gives an institutional merit grant of $10,000 or more than at a cheaper public university in the state.
The percentage that receives institutional grants does drop at the most expensive colleges, including some of the most selective colleges that don’t award institutional grants, causing the percentage to drop.
This table shows the same data limited to moderately selective colleges. At the most expensive colleges, the percentage receiving institutional grants is still declining, but not by much.
Subsidies based on gender and race
Men and women are equally likely to receive merit-only institutional grants, and the average award amount is about the same.
This table shows that white students are more likely to receive institutional scholarships than minority students. They also receive larger grants.
Scholarships based on enrollment status
This table shows that students who enroll full-time receive an institutional grant much more often than students who enroll part-time.
Students taking a gap year are much less likely to receive an institutional merit scholarship, and the scholarships are lower.
Grants based on dependency status
This table shows that dependent students are more likely to receive merit-only institutional scholarships than independent students. They also receive larger grants.
At moderately selective colleges, 66.8% of dependent students and 18.9% of independent students receive merit-only institutional scholarships.
This table shows a similar result when the data is based on the age of the student. Students aged 24 and older are automatically independent.
This table shows that veterans are less likely to receive institutional earnings. Veterans are automatically independent. They are also less likely to register for bachelor’s degree programmes.
Related: Guide to VA and Military Education Benefits
The following two tables show that married students are less likely to receive an institutional merit scholarship. Married students and students with dependents are automatically independent.
This table shows that homeless students are less likely to receive an institutional merit scholarship. Homeless students are automatically independent.
Grants based on financial need
This table shows that students filing the FAFSA are more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships.
This table shows that students whose financial support exceeds their financial need are more likely to receive institutional merit scholarships.
This post Who Gets Institutional Earnings at Private Colleges?
was original published at “https://thecollegeinvestor.com/39473/institutional-merit-grants-at-private-colleges/”