I looked in the FAQ and didn’t find an answer.
If my EFC is larger than the COA, does that mean I am not eligible for merit scholarships?

I understand merit scholarships are very competitive etc. I also understand I will not be eligible for any need based assistance.


You can be eligible for merit scholarships, where need is not a factor in the awarding of those scholarships. Each school’s website will have details on any merit scholarships that are available, but not all schools offer merit scholarships.

You would not be eligible for need-based aid, but would still be able to get merit scholarships that do not have a need component.

Thank you.
So, “not all schools”- If I were to look at the top 50 schools (for comp science, if it matters), would you say half of them offer it? Quarter? I am trying to set my expectations.

I realize, I could go to each school’s website and look it up. Just trying to piggyback off the community’s knowledge in case someone has more info…


Thank you.
So, I guess it would make sense to still go ahead and complete the FAFSA.

“A merit scholarship is a financial award that students receive based on their academic success in high school. ”

By definition, it is independent of financial need. Though check each school’s individual definition and qualifying criteria - every school doesn’t adhere to “standard” definitions.

The best and most current way is to look at each school’s website.

None of the Ivy’s give merit aid. In the top 20, Rice, NU, U Chicago, and Vandy give merit, but it’s highly competitive. Public schools with strong CS programs like UIUC, UCB, UCLA, U Mich, U Washington, and U Mass Amherst will give little to no merit money to OOS students. What state do you live in?

The schools that will give larger merit are generally not the most highly ranked(but that’s not important especially in CS)…look at Miami Ohio, U Alabama, Ole Miss. If you are interested in LACs look at Union, Skidmore, Grinnell. Also check out U Rochester and CWRU.

If you share your budget, stats and qualities you are looking for in a school posters can make some suggestions.

For some schools you do have to file FAFSA in order to qualify for merit aid, but not many schools do that anymore. Maybe Skidmore, maybe Drexel. But check websites. Make sure to also run each school’s net price calculator, although some might not include merit so you would have to factor that in separately.

Thanks. Good info. I will check out schools.
I live in VA. I still have some time to go- 2 years before I apply. The topic came up for discussion in the family and so I started to look around a bit. So, I don’t know what I want yet, I guess.
I think I will like a smaller college rather than a huge one.
Maybe if I could do some finance minor, that maybe interesting.
I think 45k or so would be ok.
I am around 4.34 now.

The EFC number is per year, right? Not for 4 years…?
What is LAC?

Yes, EFC is for one academic year.

LAC = liberal arts college.