Significance of merit aid for families with need

<p>Is there a significance? From my schools for EA, my merit aid awards range from 3k/year to 15,500k/year......but does it really mean anything if my family has need? For one school in particular that I've been looking at, the award package would be the same whether I had gotten merit aid or not because grants would cover most of the need.....make sense?</p>

<p>Some schools don't offer merit aid at all......but they cover the need with money, much like financial assistance and merit aid at other schools.....</p>

<p>So, does merit aid even have a significance if a family has need, assuming that the amount normally given in merit would be covered in financial scholarships?</p>

<p>For one school in particular that I've been looking at, the award package would be the same whether I had gotten merit aid or not because grants would cover most of the need.....make</p>

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<p>Are you sure that this school (or the others) will cover all of your need with 100% of grants? Often there is work-study and/or student loans in the FA pkgs. Even the schools that don't put loans in the FA pkgs do put in work-study. </p>

<p>Also, many schools require a "student summer work contribution" of $2k-3k per year. Maybe that can be covered with a merit scholarship.</p>

<p>Some schools combine merit and FA, or merit may have a need component. It just depends.</p>

<p>Usually merit - which is all grants - not loans or work - will replace some part of the designated need based aid. Ideally it would replace any loans first. It is rarely or never just used to meet the EFC, but if your need is small you could get merit that would pay more than your need would have been.</p>

<p>If your package looks something like this....
COA 20,000
School award/aid 10000
Self help 5000 (loans and work study)
uncovered EFC 5000</p>

<p>You receive a merit award of 7000, your package will probably look like this (varies from school to school however)
COA 20000
School award 8000 (reduced 2000)
Self help 0 (covered by merit award)
uncovered EFC 5000</p>

<p>So, you still owe 5000 out of pocket, but don't have to take a loan or do work study.</p>

<p>If your package looks something like this....
COA 20,000
School award/aid 10000
Self help 5000 (loans and work study)
uncovered EFC 5000</p>

<p>You receive a merit award of 7000, your package will probably look like this (varies from school to school however)
COA 20000
School award 8000 (reduced 2000)
Self help 0 (covered by merit award)
uncovered EFC 5000</p>

<p>So, you still owe 5000 out of pocket, but don't have to take a loan or do work study.</p>

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<p>Yes, you still owe $5,000 out of pocket (EFC), but now that your FA loans have been replaced with merit, you could still take out the $5000 loan to cover your EFC.</p>