Do Financial Aid and Scholarships Impede Your College Admission?
Whether studying in the United States or staying in a Canadian university, paying university tuition can burden a family. While most schools offer financial aid, students wonder if any of these loans, scholarships, or bursaries hinder their university admission. In this blog, we will discuss the financial aid available for university applicants and its impact on the chance of getting in.
Let’s look at Canadian universities first. And we will take UBC as an example. The University of British Columbia offers a range of financial support to reward students’ achievements, both academically and non-academically, and to meet students’ financial needs.
Merit-based awards (often called scholarships) can be automatic or require specific applications. Automatic awards are usually given to excellent students along with the admission offer. These awards are generally small in value and will not jeopardize the student’s chance of acceptance.
Other scholarships such as The UBC Centennial Scholars Entrance Award, and The UBC Outstanding International Student Award request dedicated applications and are very competitive. Some of these awards can be generous but they are rarely enough to cover all your costs. In general, while applying for such scholarships won’t impede one’s admission, there is a small possibility that your university admission letter delays since extra materials were reviewed by the admission officer.
Another significant category of financial aid is called bursary. Bursaries are non-merit based and are assessed based on the unmet financial needs of those who are enrolled in government student loans. Therefore, just like applying for government student loans, applying for bursaries will not impede your university admission. However, these bursaries or loans are unavailable to international students.
We will not go over each Canadian university since financial aid and scholarships are always case-by-case. The rule of thumb is, if you are staying in Canada and are looking for financial aid, go ahead to get them. Such qualifications will be evaluated separately from your university admission and won’t reduce your chance of getting into your dream school. Just keep in mind that merit-based awards are highly competitive and often have eligibility requirements, while bursaries require you to demonstrate your family’s financial circumstances.
Applicants aiming for U.S. colleges should be aware of the difference among schools. The hard truth is that some universities consider an applicant’s ability to pay tuition without financial aid as a factor in the admissions process. Nevertheless, don’t be scared. Need-aware doesn’t mean your socioeconomic status is primarily vital to the application, and the majority of students are admitted or rejected without regard to their financial situation. It is usually only borderline students whose need for financial aid reduces their chance of admission.
Additionally, many schools adopt need-blind admission policies, which remove financial status as an admission criterion. Therefore, if you need financial aid, go ahead and apply without worrying about such action will impede your admission. However, depending on the specific schools and their financial packages, be aware that financial aid is not guaranteed even for low-income students. Also, be aware that being need-blind doesn’t mean loan free.
In contrast to need-based financial aid, merit-based scholarships assess a student’s achievement and almost never impede the chance of admission. However, elite schools that offer generous need-based aid, often don’t offer merit scholarships. Take Harvard as an example, if you applied to Harvard and asked for financial aid, Harvard will offer you a financial aid package to cover 100% of your needs as long as they admit you. However, if you don’t meet the low-income requirement but want to get a scholarship based on extraordinary achievements, Harvard won’t give your a dollar.
All in all, as a university applicant, it’s your job to check the school’s policies to see what financial support is available. With the social trend that schools aim for social equality, and have the tendency to recruit more low-income students, we suggest students apply for financial aid and merit-based scholarships whenever possible without worrying about the (rarely existing) negative impact on admission.