What’s Missing From The Merit-Aid Debate

"Merit aid has a bad reputation: Critics say that when colleges use it, they reduce the need-based aid available to low-income students. Jon Boeckenstedt disagrees," The Chronicle of Higher Education's Head Count reports.

"For many colleges, merit-based aid is a necessity, he said during a presentation here on Tuesday at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ annual meeting. What’s really hurting need-based aid is price increases and imprecise definitions of need, said Mr. Boeckenstedt, associate vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University.

Sure, some colleges design merit-aid strategies primarily to enhance their prestige, and colleges in a strong market position can shape their classes without it. But for a university like DePaul, he said, merit and need-based aid work together to support low-income and first-generation students while bringing in enough revenue to provide them with a quality college experience."

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