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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How do I decide between need-based and merit-based financial aid?

Hi everyone, I'm a junior and I'm starting to research financial aid options. What's the difference between need-based and merit-based aid? How do I know which one is right for me? Thanks for any guidance!

10 months ago

Hi there! It's great that you're looking into financial aid options early on. Need-based and merit-based financial aid serve different purposes and are awarded based on different factors. Let me break down the differences for you.

Need-based financial aid is determined by your family's financial situation and is intended to help make college more affordable for those who might not be able to pay for it otherwise. To apply for need-based aid, you'll typically need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and/or the CSS Profile, which will help colleges assess your family's financial need.

Merit-based financial aid, on the other hand, is awarded based on your academic, athletic, artistic, or other achievements. It can be offered by colleges themselves or by outside organizations. Merit-based aid is usually competitive and requires you to maintain a certain level of performance to keep receiving the aid.

As for which one is right for you, it often depends on your family's financial situation and your individual achievements. Many students apply for both types of financial aid to maximize their chances of receiving assistance. I'd recommend researching specific scholarships and grants that align with your interests and abilities, as well as completing the FAFSA to see what need-based aid you may qualify for. Good luck!

10 months ago

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