Many students assume that all financial aid is based on financial need. However, there is a variety of opportunities available based on their academic merits and special skills, as well as from the organizations they belong to.

To give your potential candidates a headstart,  you’ll want to understand the differences between each type of aid to help you decide.

When it comes to scholarships, there are two main types: merit and need-based financial aid.

The Basics on Need-Based Aid

The word “need” is key here. Need-based aid refers to the financial need a student has in regards to paying for college. Need-based aid programs focus entirely on that aspect. College is expensive, and so need-based aid is abundant.

Need-based aid is not affected by factors like academic achievement, leadership experience, GPA, test scores, or the like and is awarded based on a family’s financial need.

Eligibility is based solely on the assets and income of the prospective student and his or her family. Factors such as test scores or athletic ability have no bearing on need-based aid.

Need-based financial aid is primarily awarded to students in the form of grants and it should be the goal of every candidate to maximize this kind of aid before seeking other sources of help or quitting.

The Basics on Merit-Based Aid

Some money for college is awarded without regard for financial need. This type of college aid is usually awarded for a student’s academic achievements in high school, as well as for special talents and unique traits, such as musical or athletic skills. Awards and scholarships like this are usually awarded by states, colleges, and universities, private groups, or individuals. It’s generally intended to supplement need-based aid or help them cover their expected family contribution if they don’t have that money on hand.

Merit aid is as diverse as the people applying for it.

Need-Based vs. Merit-Based Aid

Candidates should keep in mind that though the two scholarships differ on the eligibility and popularity scale, however, it is extremely important to keep certain things in mind, common to both. Candidates seeking financial assistance should apply well before the prescribed time format to avoid any last-minute hassle. Hence, it is extremely important for candidates to pay attention to deadlines as colleges would require them to apply well before the regular admission timeline.

Candidates applying for scholarships would definitely have to go through a rigorous admission procedure, like any institution providing them an opportunity to study on their money would only want to select the best. Hence, candidates should be well prepared to appear for additional tests or provide supplementary documents to be considered for financial aid.  It is important for candidates to have their documents well in place and be willing to go through any additional procedures if required.

It’s important to note that many scholarships do not cover the entire cost of tuition. Rather, they are allocated for specific portions that the student must pay their school. Students are encouraged to apply for several different scholarships as needed. This may pose problems for organizations that have certain requirements that limit their resources to those that haven’t received funding from any additional sources.

How does scholarship software help?

Scholarship management software helps providers streamline their acceptance process and strengthen the important relationships they’ve established with donors. It also ensures policies are followed when it comes to allocating funds and distribution. Reports can be easily created with recorded data to demonstrate the effective power scholarships have on a community and its students.

Maximize your efficiency and organization’s impact with this robust, reliable, and powerful scholarship management solution from Scholars United:

Dynamic Form Builder

Create an online application with the dynamic drag-and-drop form builder. Select from over 30 different question types that also include conditional/branch logic, and more — no coding required.
Our intuitive, easy-to-use form builder comes fully configurable, so you can put your mission at the forefront from your applicant’s first visit.

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Comprehensive Admin Control

Put students’ success first and award the right candidates with Scholars United. Make your work easier, automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks, and focus on what matters – increasing your impact.

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  • 360 oversight of application lifecycle
  • Automate submissions, evaluations, and awards
  • Automatically match students to awards
  • Create flexible reports
  • Comprehensive funds management
  • Assign applications to your reviewers
  • Collaborate with admins & other reviewers
  • Score and rank applications

Whether you’re a startup organization or a leading corporation, CommunityForce provides fully customizable, all-in-one online scholarship management solutions to maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve collaboration so you can focus on increasing your impact. We’ve helped organizations streamline their entire process no matter the size and scope of their giving.