Scholarship Data Every Parent Needs to Know

By Huntington Learning Center

There are lots of reasons parents encourage their teens to work hard in high school and earn good grades, and with college around the corner, increasing a teen’s potential for earning scholarships is certainly appealing. But how prevalent are scholarships? How do most students receive scholarships? Is it worth the time and effort to apply? Let’s take a look at some data on scholarships that might motivate your teen:

  • The average amount of grant and scholarship aid for all four-year institutions in the 2016-2017 school year was $12,250, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Grant and scholarship aid consists of federal Title IV grants, as well as other grant or scholarship aid from the federal government, state or local governments, or institutional sources.
  • Average grant and scholarship aid was significantly higher for private vs. public institutions: $21,800 for nonprofit private institutions as compared to $7,370 for public institutions.
  • The average amount of grant and scholarship aid for all two-year institutions in the 2016-2017 school year was $5,090.
  • Again, that average was higher for private vs. public institutions: $6,490 for nonprofit private institutions as compared to $5,140 for public institutions.
  • According to College Board, postsecondary students received a total of $123.8 billion in scholarships and grants in 2014-15.
  • According to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” 2019 national study, families reported that 31% of the total cost of college was covered by grants and scholarships (the second-largest share of college costs to family income and savings, which covered 43%).
  • In the same study, 65% of families used scholarships to fund college. The overlap of scholarships and grants meant that 82% of families utilized free financial aid to pay for college.
  • That 31% equates to $8,177, and was made up of scholarships (3/5 of these funds) and grants (2/5 of these funds).
  • Per the Sallie Mae study, most scholarship money is awarded as a result of a financial aid process defined by the college and by state/local governments.
  • The Sallie Mae report shared that:
    • 61% of students who used scholarships received one from the college, with an average amount of $10,006.
    • 21% of students received scholarships from their state, with an average amount of $2,805.
    • 31% of scholarship recipients reported obtaining one from a community-based source, with an average amount of $2,882.
    • Among students who didn’t use scholarships to pay for college, most (two-thirds) did not apply for any.

As far as how to earn scholarships, your teen absolutely must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is the “screener” for federal and many state scholarships, as well as other types of aid. But you might not realize that many merit-based scholarships are offered to students automatically, simply because they have strong SAT/ACT scores and GPAs. The University of Arizona, for example, offers incoming merit tuition awards to both residents and non-residents based on their test scores and GPAs. 

Here’s the bottom line: there are many scholarships out there available for all kinds of students. Scholarship funds primarily come from federal sources and colleges and universities themselves, but they also come from private sources and states. 

SAT/ACT scores, coupled with your teen’s GPA could qualify them for many different types of scholarships. That’s why it’s important that your teen work hard in school and seek help when needed. If your teen is struggling in a subject, or just wants to earn the best possible SAT/ACT score, call Huntington. We’ll help your teen increase their grades, motivation, and chances of earning college scholarships. 1-800 CAN LEARN


Stay in touch and sign up for our newsletter