Do You Earn Too Much for Merit Scholarships?
There’s a lot of misinformation about merit-based scholarships. But the biggest myth is that you earn too much for your student to win merit aid.
Parents don’t just believe they earn too much for merit-based scholarships. They know they earn too much or have too much or have too much in 529 plans.
And that misconception keeps well-deserving students from using their achievements to win money for college and families from being able to reduce the cost of college, sometimes quite dramatically.
Let me be really clear: You don’t earn too much (or have too much) for your student to win merit-based scholarships.
Quite the opposite.
Merit scholarships provide money for college based on your student’s achievements. Your finances have nothing to do with it!
Colleges reward academic success (predominately using grades and SAT/ACT scores) with institutional merit scholarships. Meanwhile, private sources offer merit-based scholarships for a seemingly endless variety of achievements – leadership, community service, passion, challenge, ethnicity, religion, and so much more.
Merit scholarships require students to use their efforts and uniqueness. We parents can’t earn merit-based scholarships for our kids. And that’s great news. Winning merit-based scholarships empowers students with “skin in the game” and life skills that come from working hard to reach their goals.
Studies show that students who contribute to the cost of college do better in college. Winning merit-based scholarships definitely counts!
You don’t earn too much to win merit scholarships.
As a volunteer judge for UCLA’s Alumni Scholarship for three years, I can tell you that we don’t even know your financial circumstances when we are reading your student’s scholarship essays or conducting the interviews or observing them in group exercises.
Each time I speak to a group or lead a training, at least one parent raises his or her hand and asks a question that revolves around earning too much to qualify for merit-based scholarships. And that’s after I’ve explained that merit scholarships are based on achievement – not finances!
It’s not that parents aren’t listening. Rather, the problem is all the widespread misinformation about merit aid and how to use it to combat skyrocketing college costs.
In fact, there’s so much misinformation about merit-based scholarships that I wrote a bestselling book about it. Get The Little Book About Scholarships HERE.
Here’s the truth: Your student CAN win merit-based scholarships (money for college based on achievement) starting in middle school…regardless of your finances. And the more merit aid they win, the more options you’ll have for where they go to college and how much you spend.
Sure, you’ll need to follow strategies that match your student’s achievements and your family’s goals.
There’s no “one size fits all” strategy to lower the cost of college. However, merit scholarships are a great solution to rising college costs.