College Merit Aid Scholarships Now Total a Staggering $11.4 Billion

Even with Endowments Shrinking, Colleges Come Through

Highland Park, IL, April 15, 2009 – A new study about how students and their families pay for college shows that merit scholarships offered to undergraduates by colleges have increased 50 percent since 2004.

The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) is conducted every four years by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

“This is a very sharp increase in available merit aid scholarships,” said Chris Long, president of, a Web site focused on merit scholarships. “Merit aid has been steadily increasing since the 1990s, but a 50 percent increase during this most recent period is substantial.”

Merit scholarships can typically help reduce the cost of college tuition from 25 percent to 50 percent and sometimes up to full tuition. The average merit scholarship of $5,360 is up 30 percent over the previous study.

“The increase in available merit aid is outstanding news for college students in a tough economy, and we are glad to provide a Web portal such as to help students identify merit scholarships that fit them,” Long said. “There are now over 78,000 merit scholarship programs available from more than 1,800 colleges, and is dedicated to giving students and parents easy access to information about them.”

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