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ERIC Number: ED525088
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Merit Aid for Undergraduates: Trends from 1995-96 to 2007-08. Stats in Brief. NCES 2012-160
Woo, Jennie H.; Choy, Susan P.
National Center for Education Statistics
This Statistics in Brief first examines merit aid and other non-need-based aid from all sources and then focuses on two sources of merit aid widely cited in empirical and policy-oriented literature--postsecondary institutions and states--examining how much merit aid students received and the characteristics of students who received it. It tracks changes in institutional and state merit aid from 1995-96, around the time when many state merit-based programs began, through 2007-08, the latest year for which national data are available. The report draws on four administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), a survey of a nationally representative sample of undergraduates enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions that participate in federal student aid programs. It is limited to undergraduates who qualify for state and federal financial aid (i.e., U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens), who make up 99 percent of undergraduates. Findings reveal that: (1) The proportion of undergraduates receiving merit aid was larger in 2007-08 (14 percent) than in 1995-96 (6 percent); the average amount received was also larger in 2007-08 ($4,700) than in 1995-96 ($4,000) in constant 2007 dollars (figures 1 and 2). The proportion receiving need-based aid was larger in 2007-08 (37 percent) than in 1995-96 (32 percent), and the average amount differed by $400 between 2007-08 ($4,000) and 1995-96 ($3,600) in constant 2007 dollars; (2) The proportion of dependent undergraduates receiving any grant aid who were in the high-income group was larger in 2007-08 (18 percent) than in 1995-96 (13 percent) (figure 3); (3) In 1995-96, need-based institutional grants were more common than merit-based grants in both private nonprofit (43 percent vs. 24 percent) and public 4-year institutions (13 percent vs. 8 percent) (figure 4). In 2007-08, the proportion of merit aid recipients exceeded that of need-based grant recipients at public institutions (18 percent vs. 16 percent) and was not measurably different at private nonprofit 4-year institutions (42 percent vs. 44 percent). The prevalence of merit aid was higher at private nonprofit 4-year institutions than at public 4-year institutions in both years (24 percent vs. 8 percent in 1995-96 and 44 percent vs. 18 percent in 2007-08); (4) Among students at private nonprofit 4-year institutions in 2007-08, those at moderately selective institutions received merit aid more often (56 percent) than their counterparts at both more and less selective ones (35 percent and 28 percent) (figure 6). At public 4-year institutions in 2007-08, the percentage of students receiving merit aid at very selective institutions was lower (13 percent) than that at moderately, minimally, or nonselective institutions (19 percent, 20 percent, and 18 percent, respectively); and (5) The Southeast had the highest proportion of state merit scholarship recipients (24 percent) of any region in the United States, while the nationwide total was 10 percent (table 2). (Contains 6 figures, 6 tables and 13 footnotes.)
National Center for Education Statistics. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Education Statistics (ED)
Identifiers - Location: Georgia; United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act Title IV; Pell Grant Program
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A