Increases in merit-based aid observed across U.S.

With more seniors than ever choosing to pursue postsecondary degrees, universities are becoming more likely to award scholarships and other performance-based aid initiatives to students based on academic achievement. Although costs of attending college are rising, so are the number of schools making scholarships, grants and other merit-based aid accessible to students.

One school that recently increased its funding to make scholarships more attainable is Eastern Michigan University. According to an article published by AnnArbor.com, the college has increased the amount of dedicated funding available for scholarships by $2.3 million.

"This continues the trend we began four years ago as the state’s economic climate became increasingly challenging for students and their families," said Susan Martin, president of the university, as quoted by the news outlet.

Increases in merit-based aid have been especially evident at four-year colleges. According to a report published by the National Center for Educational Statistics, there has been a 24 percent increase in the amount of scholarships and grants dispersed to students on the basis on academic achievement between 1995-1996 and 2007-2008.

Ask your college admissions office how many scholarships they offer and how to apply for them. Apply for as many scholarships as you can – it won't affect your eligibility for need-based financial aid if you're applying, and it may make the cost of going to college much more manageable.

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