Whether you’re a recent or soon-to-be high school graduate or you’re already enrolled in college, you know just how expensive college can be.
In order to reduce your reliance on federal and private student loans, it’s important to maximize your other forms of financial aid as much as possible. Merit scholarships are one great way that you can get more money for college and reduce the number of student loans that you ultimately need to borrow.
But where do you find merit scholarships to apply to? There are many different websites that you can use for this purpose, but a great new addition to the list is MeritMore.
Below, we take a look at what MeritMore is, how it works, and how you can use it to find more merit aid to help you pay for college.
What is MeritMore?
MeritMore is a merit aid search tool that allows students and families to quickly find colleges that are likely to award them merit aid, and to then see data about that aid. This can be especially helpful early on, when students are still considering which colleges they will ultimately apply to and attend.
From a financial perspective, attending the college that offers you the most merit aid can help you graduate with fewer student loans, though you will of course need to weigh this against other factors such as the cost of tuition, room and board, and the school’s academic reputation.
How does MeritMore work?
Currently MeritMore consists of two key tools: The Merit Aid Search, and the Application Task Manager.
MeritMore’s Merit Aid Search
MeritMore uses a student’s stats (SAT/ACT/GPA or GPA alone) to match students to different colleges. The result is a personalized list of which schools they best match in terms of academic performance. The higher the correlation, the higher the likelihood that students will qualify for merit aid based on their performance.
This search takes less than 30 seconds to complete, giving students immediate insight into the colleges and universities that might offer them the most financial aid.
Are you only looking for colleges in certain geographic regions? You can easily refine your search by location.
For each college, students can view:
- The percent of merit aid received
- The average merit aid amounts
- Aid amounts awarded to previous accepted students
- Compare colleges based on this information
MeritMore’s Application Task Manager
The Application Task Manager lets applicants stay on top of all tasks and deadlines related to admissions, including:
- Tracking demonstrated interest
- Recommendation letters
- Financial aid applications
- And more
Progress bars track the status of completion, and users can add their own tasks or deadlines. The goal of the tool is to streamline the application process in order to enable students to complete their college applications as early as possible and receive more aid.
What are the benefits of using MeritMore?
The primary benefit of using MeritMore lies in the fact that it is a completely free tool that you can use to find colleges that will pay you more merit aid. This helps you reduce the number of student loans that you need to borrow, helping you achieve financial wellness.
Below are a few specific benefits of using both the merit search as well as the task manager.
Benefits of the Merit Aid Search and Data
- Fastest and most comprehensive way to identify colleges that are likely to give you merit aid.
- Search across all schools that provide merit aid data
- Conduct a merit aid search for test optional schools
- Actual offer information from over 2000 families via our crowdsourced offer data (this information is shared on college detail pages)
- “Comps” or comparable college graphs for similar college with different variables, much like a real estate site
- Crime and safety stats
- Data like ‘self-reporting’ of scores available so families can save money in the application process
Benefits of the Task Manager
- Single screen management of all tasks and deadlines for admissions
- Progress bar for each college on the list
- Calendar view of deadlines
- Fully customizable—users can add their own tasks or deadlines and remove any default settings
Other benefits of using MeritMore include:
- Compare Colleges feature lets you view your own set of colleges in a table format where you can sort each column by the following criteria: Cost of Attendance,% of Freshman Receiving Merit Aid, Avg Merit Aid Amount, Avg GPA, Avg SAT, Avg ACT,
- Links to honors programs at over 400 colleges
- Links to over 300 virtual campus tours
- Updated test and AP policy information from NACAC
- ED Acceptance Rate and Yield Rate calculated
- Information about super scoring and self reporting of tests for over 300 colleges
Opening a MeritMore Account
You only need to set up an account if you want to save information. Setting up an account only requires username and password. You can use email, or use Google or Facebook to create an account. It takes about 15 seconds. MeritMore does not sell or share personal data.
Who is MeritMore for?
MeritMore can be used by anyone looking for information on merit aid and scholarships. The average user’s age (per the company) is currently 45 years old, which implies that parents and families currently use the tool more than students themselves. That being said, high school students and college students are encouraged to take matters of their education into their own hands; using MeritMore is one way to do just that.
Why was MeritMore created?
I spoke with MeritMore’s founder, Neeta Vallab, who below explains why she decided to create MeritMore:
“I’m a NYC public school parent who went through the admissions process with my daughter 2 years ago. We make too much to qualify for need-based financial aid and not enough to comfortably pay sticker price. After sitting in on countless hours of workshops to try and find a way to pay for college, I realized that colleges annually give away about $8B-$10B in merit aid (a sizable category of ‘tuition discounting’) that they use to recruit kids to their schools.
I used my background in software development to create MeritMore so families like mine could efficiently find merit aid matches for their students. I’ve spent the past year and a half improving the search and adding features to the platform”
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a parent, high school student, or college student, it pays to select the college or university that offers you as much merit aid as possible. Using a tool like MeritMore is an excellent way of doing just that!