Are There More Scholarship Opportunities at Small Colleges?

Size may not always matter, but many students are speculating that there are more small college scholarship opportunities than there are at larger public schools. If you are trying to select a school or focus on schools where the most financial aid is available, it is important that you look at both financial aid package offerings and at the types of scholarships that you may have access to through the actual school. Here is what you need to know about the various types of scholarships that you will have access to when attending a smaller college:

Do Smaller Private Schools Give More Scholarships than Large Public Schools?

If you were to look at the trends in financial aid, you would notice that many of the larger public schools have been cutting their merit-based aid. The reason for this is because of state and federal budget cuts that force the public schools to choose between needs-based students with a low income and students who have performed well and deserve a monetary award.

Luckily, smaller private colleges that do not rely as much on public funding are still offering both needs-based and merit-based financial aid. Some of the aid is in the form of loans and some is in the form of scholarships. In fact, about 36 percent of private schools hand out scholarships based on merit that do not have to be paid back. According to a study conducted by National Association of College and University Business Officers, private schools gave away 41% of their scholarship money to students with merit who were not necessarily classified as low income. This has gone up over a span of a decade and is projected to continue going up so that private colleges are able to compete and lure students to enroll.

How Does Offering Scholarships Benefit Small Schools?

You might wonder how giving out free money could benefit a school. This is a reasonable question for anyone who is interested in learning how colleges market themselves. Offering scholarships to students who have performed either athletically or academically has many benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • To attract students who perform academically and are committed to school
  • To award and encourage current students to keep up the good work
  • To execute the requests of philanthropists associated with the school
  • To compete for admissions with lower priced public schools
  • To help reduce the sticker shock when a student sees the full cost of tuition
  • To recognize a generation who needs recognition

Resource: 50 Best Deals on Competitive Small Colleges

Other Types of Aid to Look For

While it is easiest to apply for school scholarships, you can still find aid elsewhere. Do not forget to search for opportunities offered by professional associations, your city of residence, and national companies. While some channels are more competitive than others, if you apply to many there is a good chance you will win one or more awards.

Attending school can be expensive. Before you look at price consider what type of learning environment you will flourish in. Once you know what atmosphere you prefer, you can focus on whether to go to a public or private school. There may be several small college scholarship opportunities but that does not mean there is not aid at larger colleges too.