Which Colleges Require Fafsa For Merit Scholarships

Which Colleges Require Fafsa For Merit Scholarships

Many universities indeed require the FAFSA to provide merit-based scholarships. The rationale for this policy is that need-based aid may be included in some merit scholarships, or the school may want to retain all student financial records in case a student becomes eligible for more need-based help. Join us to find out which colleges require FAFSA for merit scholarships, Checking the financial assistance website of each school is the best place to start.

Additionally, if you have a list of institutions to which you want to apply, it is quite acceptable to contact the financial aid offices directly to obtain this information by phone or email. As part of their duties, they guide prospective students through these types of inquiries.

Which Colleges Require FAFSA For Merit Scholarships

Perhaps your affluent grandparents agreed to cover your tuition, or maybe you and your family saved a lot of money for college or you were awarded a full scholarship. In any case, federal financial help is not necessary for you. You have enough cash on hand to cover your educational expenses. Is it still necessary to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid?

The quick answer is usually no, but the long answer is a little more complex. In this article, we’ll go over which colleges utilize the FAFSA, what it’s used for, and why you should file one each year.

Financial aid eligibility is contingent on completing the FAFSA

For most non-federal and all federal financial aid, the FAFSA is necessary. 68% of college students finish it because of this. To be honest, that figure ought to be higher given that completing the FAFSA is free and doesn’t take too long. Therefore, regardless of whether you believe you’ll qualify, you should nonetheless fill it out. If so, you may be eligible for the following types of assistance:

Federal student loans

Federal student loans are the most popular form of aid. Over 43 million student debtors with low-interest rates, these loans don’t take into account your credit score, in contrast to private student loans. Therefore, obtaining them won’t require a cosigner. They also provide forgiveness, deferral, and forbearance programs. Federal loans are divided into three categories:

  • Directly subsidized: These don’t need repayment or charge interest until six months after you graduate or leave the institution. You have time to look for work during this grace period so you may earn enough money to pay back the loan.

  • Direct unsubsidized: These have interest while enrolled in classes, but they are not due until the six-month grace period expires.

  • Parent PLUS loans: These need to have a credit check and are intended for parents and graduate students.

Federal grants

Another form of federal student aid is a grant, which provides unrestricted funds. It’s not refundable unless certain conditions are met. Additionally, it is need-based, so receiving it doesn’t require you to produce essays or outdo other students. Instead, to determine your eligibility, the government compares your capacity to pay for education against the cost of attendance. In most years, that amount fluctuates in line with inflation. Students who meet the requirements can apply for three additional government grants:

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs)

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants


A government program called work-study places you in employment. Normally, this position is in college, however it occasionally comes with off-campus civic or charity groups. A portion of your tuition is deducted from your wages. Try to get a job related to your major while on work-study; this will help your CV stand out. Furthermore, firms who offer work-study programs are usually quite accommodating; they will arrange your shifts around your classes and

Certain state-based aid programs

Students attending schools in a certain state are eligible for government aid programs offered by that state. However, the FAFSA is necessary for several state-based aid programs. For instance, the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (NY TAP) provides funding to deserving students who are residents of New York and demonstrate financial need; however, to be considered for the program, you must submit an FAFSA.

Some merit-based aid

Filling out the FAFSA may be required for some merit-based aid, including scholarships. Schools may, for instance, award merit scholarships yet need you to complete the FAFSA to be considered. Additionally, if you are applying for an award, a private group may request to see that you completed the FAFSA.

Colleges and Universities That Offer Merit Aid

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list. To ascertain whether a school provides merit assistance in addition to need-based help, you will need to conduct your research. The best colleges and universities in the nation that provide merit assistance are listed below:

  • American University
  • Brandeis
  • Bucknell
  • Carleton
  • Carnegie Mellon
  • Clark University
  • Davidson
  • Denison
  • Duke
  • Elon
  • Emerson
  • Emory
  • Fordham
  • Gettysburg
  • Grinnell
  • Harvey Mudd
  • Muhlenberg
  • New York University
  • Rice
  • St. Olaf
  • Scripps
  • Swarthmore
  • University of Chicago
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Vanderbilt

Types of aid you can get without the FAFSA

The FAFSA typically doesn’t cover everything. So let’s look at some non-federal, non-FAFSA aid you can snag to help you pay for school.


Many scholarships don’t care that you completed the FAFSA, while others might. After all, most scholarships are awarded based on merit. Alternatively, they may be extremely difficult, requiring many essays, or quite simple, with a short application procedure. Nevertheless, you may look for these scholarships online, via your school’s financial aid office, or by using a matching service like Moss, which finds you scholarships for which you may qualify.

Private grants

The majority of private awards also do not require the FAFSA. But occasionally, they will, so it’s still worthwhile to complete the FAFSA. Generally speaking, private grants will require documentation of your family’s income, assets, and other details as evidence of their financial need.

Tuition reimbursement

Currently, several companies provide tuition reimbursement as a perk of employment. Not only do large corporations like Chipotle and Starbucks provide their employees with financial aid for their education, but they also provide full-time office positions. Typically, you pay for the lessons in advance. Your money from your job is only released if you meet the required grades in your classes. If you work full-time have a degree and are returning to school, your employer may have restrictions on the kinds of classes they will cover.


Finally, remember that completing the FAFSA is usually a good idea, even if it’s not necessary for merit-based scholarships. The kinds of financial assistance for which you qualify may surprise you, and some colleges may even consider filing the FAFSA to be an indication of a serious and proactive attitude to college planning. Good luck with your applications, and I hope this is helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. To attend college, do I have to submit the FAFSA?

The majority of states currently do not need high school seniors to complete the FAFSA in any form to graduate or enrol in college, but this is gradually beginning to change. Several states have also mandated that high school students complete the FAFSA in light of these findings. There are presently more people thinking about it or have measures pending in state legislatures.

2. How many times must I fill out the FAFSA?

You must fill out the FAFSA for every year you want to qualify for federal financial aid. However, you don’t have to start a new FAFSA if you did one last year. You only have to renew it, which takes less time than starting from scratch.

3. Why do I fill out the FAFSA if my family earns too much?

There are no actual income limitations for the FAFSA. Because of this, very few, if any, “make too much money” to need financial assistance. Rather, the Expected Family Contribution—which will eventually be replaced by the Student Aid Index—is determined by the government. This assesses your family’s financial standing and capacity to pay for your education.

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