Top Ten Myths About Scholarships

Mark Kantrowitz

October 02, 2011

Top Ten Myths About Scholarships Top Ten Myths About Scholarships

Only the Poor Win Scholarships

Myth: Only poor students win scholarships.

Reality: Middle-income students are more likely to win private scholarships than low-income or upper-income students.

Of full-time students enrolled at 4-year colleges, 13.8% of middle-income students won scholarships, compared with 10.6% of low-income students and 10.8% of upper-income students.

(Low income is defined as having a family adjusted gross income (AGI) less than $50,000. Middle income is defined as having a family AGI of $50,000 to $100,000. Upper income is defined as having a family AGI of $100,000 or more.)

Middle-income students still come out ahead even if the data is restricted to just the students who apply for financial aid. Of full-time students enrolled at 4-year colleges who applied for financial aid, 15.6% of middle-income students won scholarships, compared with 11.3% of low-income students and 14.3% of upper-income students.

Low-income students outnumber middle and upper income students and are more likely to apply for financial aid, so the lower percentages for low-income students are not due to self-selection.

Most private scholarships are not based on financial need.

Next: Only High School Seniors Can Apply for Scholarships

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