Archive for February 25th, 2013

February 25, 2013

Carnegie Mellon University – an example of transparency in financial aid policies

by Grace

Carnegie Mellon University is unusually transparent in sharing information on how financial aid is awarded.  First, it is clear that awards always incorporate a financial need component.

Carnegie Mellon provides qualified students with need-based institutional grants and scholarships to help fund the expenses of college. Grants and scholarships are considered to be ‘gift aid,’ meaning that neither amount has to be paid back.

Additional details

… Grants are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need….

Carnegie Mellon offers the Carnegie Scholarship which is a joint need- and merit-based scholarship….

Basic principles

Carnegie Mellon’s financial assistance program is designed to meet our dual goal of helping prospective students who have demonstrated financial need afford the cost of education and rewarding those students who have outstanding talents and abilities. Need-based financial assistance is used to enroll high-quality students. Highest quality students will receive the most favorable financial assistance packages.

CMU is open about their policy of reviewing offers from competing schools and their use of statistical modeling.

We have been open about our willingness to review financial aid awards to compete with certain private institutions for students admitted under the regular decision plan. Unlike most institutions, the university states these principles openly to those offered first-year admission under the regular decision plan. While early decision students are not eligible to participate in this aid review process, we will meet their full demonstrated need as calculated by the university.

We use statistical modeling as an aid in the distribution of limited financial aid dollars. It is a strategic tool that helps us pursue our goal of increasing the quality of the student body while using our resources as effectively as possible. This modeling takes into account a student’s intended college major, academic and artistic talents, non-academic talents and abilities, as well as financial need. This approach to awarding financial aid is unique to Carnegie Mellon and has not been developed with the aid of any outside consultants.

Here are some of frequently asked questions about financial aid.

The answer to the last question makes it clear that students are allowed to “stack” outside scholarships on top of financial aid awarded by CMU.

Related:  Maximizing college revenue through financial aid allocation (Cost of College)

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