RP Insights: A Primer on Different Types of Financial Aid/Scholarships
Some important terms to understand regarding financial aid (for domestic and international students).
There are different types of aid given to incoming students, such as need-based, merit-based, athletic scholarships, and music scholarships, to name a few. Among these types, “need-based” is of particular interest since many leading US colleges only offer need-based aid. This is the type of financial aid that is given based on one’s family financial circumstances. It all depends on one’s financial need; if one needs more money, one would be given more to cover his/her expenses (of course after official proof of one’s family’s finances are submitted).
There is however important distinction to be made between “need-based” and “need-blind”. If a school claims itself to be “need-based”, this means your ability to pay does affect their decision to admit you. In other words, if you cannot pay for school, you would be at disadvantage compared to another student with same academic credentials as your but can pay for the school. But that does not mean you have zero chance to get admitted as even need-based schools admit a lot of bright students with financial needs into their institution. On the other hand, if a school claims itself as “need-blind”, this means your ability to pay or not does not affect your chances of admittance. There are very few schools that are need-blind for international students (see our list for international students here).