NCES Report: Merit Aid Increases for High-Income Students

Merit aid rose among undergraduates from 6 to 14 percent from 1995-96 to 2007-08, a new report by the National Center for Education shows.

The report called “Merit Aid for Undergraduates: Trends from 1995-96 to 2007-08” examines the reception of merit aid by undergraduates, describing who receives how much merit and other non-need-based grant aid. Analyzing student and institutional characteristics in comparison to need-based grant aid.

The findings include:

The proportion of dependent students receiving any grant aid who were from high-income backgrounds rose from 13 percent in 1995-96 to 18 percent in 2007-08.

In 1995-96, a higher proportion of students at 4-year institutions received need-based institutional grants than merit aid. By 2007-08, the proportion of merit aid recipients exceeded that of need-based grant recipients at public 4-year institutions and was the same at private nonprofit 4-year institutions.

In 2007–08, students at moderately selective 4-year institutions received merit aid more often than those at very selective institutions.

The Southeast had the highest proportion of state merit scholarships (24 percent) of any region in the United States, while the nationwide total was 10 percent in 2007–08.

The National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education published the report, which can be found in full here.