Students with high financial need–those whose families have limited income or assets–and who also are accomplished students, may find that they can win excellent financial packages at some private colleges. Students who also have something interesting or unique, who help expand a college’s diversity, who have characteristics that the college seeks, will be those that the college is willing to subsidize with attractive financial aid packages.
If you’re interested in how merit-based financial aid works, have a look at this post.
If you’d prefer to read my comments from the video, you can read below.
I’m here on the campus of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and in an earlier video I talked a lot about merit based aid at Dickinson and similar places. I want to take a minute to talk about need based financial aid and how that might work at a place like Dickinson.
As I said earlier, if you want merit based aid you have to be in the top 13% of its applicant pool to pull down some merit based aid. But if you’re looking for need based aid, if you come from a background that is going to bring some diversity to Dickinson, it’s very possible that you could pull down a very generous financial aid package.
To look at some of the statistics here at Dickinson, it’s a pretty homogenous place. Only 3% of students here are African American and 10-12% of America is African American. Hispanics are only 6% and even Asian Americans are underrepresented here. 4% of the American population is Asian American, only 3% of the Dickinson population is Asian American.
So, diversity is-I’m guessing-a very important goal here at Dickinson and if you have a very high academic profile, if you fall into that top 10-25% here at Dickinson and you have a different background-maybe you’re a first generation student and you want to attend a small Liberal Arts college like this, and have the kinds of facilities, and kinds of opportunities that are generally available only to the very wealthy, they’re willing to pay. They’re willing to pay a very good price to get you to come to this campus. So, it’s very important for a student of modest means to not close off the possibility of coming to a place like Dickinson.
Now, you need to understand that Dickinson is relatively homogenous. It’s a pretty white place. But if you are willing to put yourself in that environment, if your priority is on getting a great education at a low price, then a place like Dickinson that has money, that has wealthy people that are subsidizing your education because they want to bring people of diverse backgrounds to their campus, well you may very well win the jackpot here.
Again, if you’re looking for merit aid you need to be at the very top of their pool no matter what your income. But if you have a relatively low income and few assets in order to pay for your college education, but you are a very good student then it is likely that you would get an excellent financial aid package at a place like Dickinson.
So, don’t rule it out. Don’t rule out the private colleges if you’re a good student and come from modest means. So, throw your hat in the ring and see what happens. You never know when you’re going to get a great bargain.