Derek V. Price


This study examines the distribution of merit-based and need-based financial aid packages among a nationally representative sample of baccalaureate degree recipients. The results show that students from underrepresented race and class backgrounds are less likely to receive merit aid and that students with minimal financial need are more likely to receive merit aid. Because the majority of financial aid flows through student loan programs, shifting financial aid resources toward merit-based scholarships may increase the costs of higher education for students with high financial need. Thus, awarding financial aid regardless of student need is counterproductive to the goal of equal opportunity in postsecondary education.