Over the course of your high school education, you have very likely heard that you should keep your grades up. Certainly, you’ve been trying as hard as you can to do well in your classes, you have found a good high school GPA calculator to keep track of your progress and have already pegged some potential colleges as places you could end up.
But how does your GPA impact your chances at getting much-needed financial aid? Continue reading to find out.
In all, there are two major ways that people come by financial aid. The first is merit-based aid, the second is need-based aid.
Merit-based aid stems entirely from your achievements in either school, athletics or other skills such as music or art. This type of aid is common referred to as scholarships and can be available for all types of different students who are interested in going to all types of different schools.
This type of aid is where your GPA and test scores can absolutely come into play. That paired with the difficulty of your transcript and other personal and scholastic achievements will have a large impact on your being offered financial aid. Merit scholarships are used to try to convince students who have enjoyed great achievements to specific colleges or universities.
That being said, some of the more prestigious schools in the United States do not offer merit-based aid. For example, the Ivy League schools only offer need-based aid.
Need-based aid is meant to cover the difference between EFC – or expected family contribution – and the cost of attending a college or university. As colleges and universities continue to only become more expensive, need-based aid has become incredibly common amongst undergraduate and graduate school students. One of the reasons why is become most colleges are more committed to meeting financial need than thy are awarding merit scholarships.
That being said, the two types of financial aid are not mutually exclusive. Simply because you receive one merit scholarship to help you cover some of the price of getting the education of your dreams, that does not mean you cannot apply for need-based aid.
One important thing to keep in mind when it comes to the differences between these two forms of aid is that merit-based scholarships never take the form of student loans, whereas need-based aid often does. Beyond that, merit-based aid often comes with many strings attached in terms of the way you perform in college. They typically have requirements that last throughout your education, such as keeping your grade point average above a certain number. Need-based aid typically do not come with such requirements. If they do, they are set rather low compared to merit-based aid.
Hopefully, this quick breakdown of how your GPA can impact your access to financial aid has helped you better understand what you need to do to meet your education goals. Now it’s up to you to keep your grades up so you can get into the school of your dreams!