4 Easy Steps to Find Colleges for Potential Merit Scholarships

Person crossing stepping stones representing steps to finding merit scholarshipsFor those looking for affordable colleges, I’m updating this post. Because I’ve updated the spreadsheet several times since I wrote this post, some of the numbers in the text won’t match the results in the graphics. You can see a video demonstration at the end of the post.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to use the DIY College Rankings Spreadsheet to find private colleges most likely to provide generous merit aid in just four easy steps. These are schools that students with high EFC’s should target for non-need based aid. This is in no way a guarantee. Rather, consider this a way to improve your chances for merit aid given the available information. Continue reading

50-50 Highlights: 54 Public Colleges for Merit Aid

Piggy bank on calculator representing best public colleges for merit aid(The following has been updated for 2019.) Merit scholarships from colleges aren’t simply a way for schools to reward students for accomplishments, it’s part of the supply and demand of paying for college. Colleges use merit aid as a way to increase the supply of “accomplished” students at their schools. This is why the most competitive colleges in the country such as Princeton and Harvard don’t offer merit scholarships–they have no problem attracting high achieving students to their schools. Continue reading

50-50 Highlights: Colleges with the Best Financial Aid

boy digging for buried treasure representing colleges with most generous financial aidThe list of 50-50 colleges and universities is designed to provide students and their families with options for good schools where students are likely to be admitted. What makes a 50-50 school even better is when it provides generous financial aid. This can come in the form of scholarships and need-based grants. And quite a few 50-50 colleges do and are worth looking into. Continue reading

7 Things You Need to Know When Looking for College Scholarships

A maze with money showing difficulty in finding college scholarshipsWith all of the college scholarship search websites available, it would seem that getting a scholarship to pay for school has never been easier. Unigo’s scholarship match offers to match students to 3.6 million college scholarships worth over $14 billion. And Scholarships.com tells you that there are over 3.7 million scholarships worth $19 billion just waiting for you. How hard can it be to get a scholarship?

Actually, the truth is that the internet has made it easy to find out about numerous college scholarships students might qualify for. The student still has to apply for the scholarship and is competing with all of the other students who used the same search websites to find the scholarship. Continue reading

7 Ways to Compare Colleges

couple sitting on sofa reading about the 7 ways to compare collegesIf you have kids old enough for you to be thinking about the college admissions process and how you’ll pay for it, you also need to be thinking about how you’re going to compare the colleges. Because the fact is that you’re going to be comparing lots of colleges, the sooner the better. You’re going to compare colleges when you decide which colleges to visit, which admissions reps to talk to at the college fair, which colleges to apply to, and which one to ultimately attend. So take this opportunity to consider the various ways you can actually compare colleges and their relative worth to your family’s situation. Continue reading

50-50 Highlights: College Awarding Most Financial Aid by State

file folder titled "grants" representing colleges providing the most financial aid by stateIf you knew that the average amount of financial aid a college awarded freshmen was $25,000, would you consider it? With the cost of four years of college ranging from $100,000 to over a quarter of a million dollars, why wouldn’t you? I’m not saying you have to apply to the college, I’m just saying give it a look over because chances are it’s one that wasn’t on your radar. The table below lists all 50-50 colleges that provide the most institutional aid in each state according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Since it is limited to 50-50 colleges, there are only 36 private colleges and 46 public institutions on the list. Continue reading

310 Colleges Where the Average Grant for Freshmen is Over $20,000

Opening treasure chest representing colleges where the average grant os over $20,000(Updated for 2019) For real. There are 310 colleges where the average institutional grant is over $20,000. So what’s the catch? There are only 195 schools where 90% or more of freshmen receive institutional grants. Surprisingly enough, there are only 32 schools where 50% or fewer of freshmen receive an institutional grant of $20,000 or more. Continue reading

3 Reasons Why Your Kid’s Good Grades Won’t Pay for College

apple and chalkboard representing good grades won't get you a great scholarshipMost people know that good grades will get you into college. And maybe if they’re good enough (along with an appropriate essay and the right extracurriculars and recommendations), they might get you into your dream or reach college. But while good grades may get you into college, chances are they won’t pay for it. This often comes as a surprise to students and their families but it really shouldn’t. There are 3 common situations where students aren’t going to qualify for enough academic scholarships to pay for college. Continue reading

50-50 Highlights: 29 Private Colleges to Target for Financial Aid Opportunities

Aiming arrow to represent targeting best colleges for financial aidI’ve talked about colleges most likely to provide merit aid before. In this post I’m going to focus just on 50-50 schools and consider all financial indicators. For example, in previous lists I didn’t take into consideration PLUS loans. I also limited schools by test scores which I don’t do in this list. Continue reading