Use Both Merit and Need in Awarding Student Aid

Should student aid be based on merit or need? The debate has gone on for years, but it has intensified recently with the rapid growth of merit-based aid programs.

Almost half of the states now offer some form of scholarship based on high-school performance, yet many have cut back on need-based aid, which declined from 89 percent to 79 percent of total state aid during the 1990s, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Between 1991 and 2001, state