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    Ivy League Scholarships: What Students Need to Know

    By Will Geiger

    Will Geiger is the co-founder of Scholarships360 and has a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. He is a former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Kenyon College where he personally reviewed 10,000 admissions applications and essays. Will also managed the Kenyon College merit scholarship program and served on the financial aid appeals committee. He has also worked as an Associate Director of College Counseling at a high school in New Haven, Connecticut. Will earned his master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania and received his undergraduate degree in history from Wake Forest University.

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    and Varonika Ware

    Varonika Ware is a content writer at Scholarships360. Varonika earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she worked with the Center of Academic Success to create the weekly Success Sunday newsletter. Varonika also interned at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Public Affairs office with some of her graphics appearing in local news articles.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: May 1st, 2024
    Ivy League Scholarships: What Students Need to Know

    The Ivy League is a college athletic conference that includes eight colleges. These colleges are on the East Coast and most are among the oldest colleges in the country. Despite being an athletic conference, the Ivy League has a reputation as the most selective and prestigious group of colleges in the world.

    However, does the Ivy League offer scholarships? In this post, we’ll discuss the financial aid and scholarship opportunities that are (and aren’t available) at Ivy Leagues.

    Related: What are Public Ivy League schools?

    What colleges are in the Ivy League?

    The Ivy League includes the following colleges and universities:

    You might be wondering, “what about Stanford?” or “what about MIT?” They are both, like many other colleges around the world, stellar institutions, but they’re not an Ivy League school.

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    Applying for financial aid at Ivy Leagues

    In order to qualify for financial aid at an Ivy League school, you need to be admitted to the college and complete financial aid applications annually, such as the FAFSA or CSS Profile

    Need-blind admissions

    The good news is that all of the Ivy Leagues are need-blind for students from the United States. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are even need-blind for international students. This means that the ability to pay is not a factor in the admissions process. 

    Need-based aid

    Nonetheless, students will need very strong credentials to be admitted to an Ivy League school because admission is extremely competitive. Even if a student is accepted, there is no guarantee that they will receive need-based aid.

    Need-based financial aid includes grants that don’t need to be repaid, work study, and in some cases, federal student loans. In the case of some Ivy League schools, students won’t be packaged with any student loans so you can graduate debt-free.

    If you are interested in an estimated financial aid package, you can use the Net Price Calculator.

    See also: How to respond to Harvard supplemental essay prompts

    Do Ivy League schools give merit scholarships?

    No, Ivy Leagues do not award merit, talent, or athletic scholarships to prospective students. Instead, they offer some of the strongest need-based financial aid programs in the world.

    For instance, all of the Ivy League schools are committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need for prospective students. Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton don’t award loans as part of their financial aid offerings since all aid packages are composed of need-based grants.

    Remember, there are a number of other top colleges and university that do award merit-based scholarships. As with other colleges, students will still need to submit the FAFSA (and in some cases the CSS Profile) to qualify for need-based financial aid.

    Does the Ivy League award athletics scholarships?

    Even though the Ivy League is a NCAA Division 1 Athletics Conference, student-athletes are not eligible for athletics scholarships per Ivy League policy. Instead, student-athletes can receive the same need-based financial aid opportunities as other students.

    See also: How to get recruited for college sports

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • The Ivy League includes eight schools across the United States
    • All of these schools are need-blind, so your financial need will not affect your admissions chances
    • The Ivy League schools do not offer merit-based financial aid, but they will meet 100% of demonstrated financial need
    • If you are accepted to an Ivy League but your need-based financial aid package is not feasible, try writing a financial aid appeal letter
    • Student athletes at Ivy League schools are not eligible for scholarships based on their athletics
    • Although Ivy League schools don’t offer merit scholarships, students can apply for external merit scholarships. Check out our scholarship search tool to find scholarship opportunities that you can use at any university

    Frequently asked questions about Ivy League scholarships

    Which Ivy League gives the best financial aid?

    Several ranking sites put Princeton at the top of the list for the most generous need-based financial aid. None of the Ivy Leagues offer merit scholarships, but each school meets 100% of your demonstrated need. So, Princeton typically has the most generous assessments of financial need among students.

    Can you get a full scholarship to Harvard?

    Harvard does not offer any merit-based aid, and no full-ride scholarships. However, they do meet 100% of demonstrated financial need. So, if you have a high need, such as an auto-zero EFC on the FAFSA, you might qualify for almost a full ride. 

    They will typically require that students make some contribution, oftentimes through loans, but this can be a drop in the bucket compared to the aid package they provide. You can also supplement your need-based aid with an external scholarship. Check out our free scholarship search tool as a first step to finding some.

    What's the cheapest Ivy League school?

    The Ivy League schools all have a relatively comparable cost of attendance, falling somewhere between $76,000 and $80,000 per year. But, since they meet 100% of demonstrated need, the cheapest school will depend on how your financial need is calculated. This will vary on a school-by-school basis.

    Do Ivy Leagues offer athletic scholarships?

    No, Ivy Leagues don’t offer athletic scholarships. They only offer need-based scholarships to admitted students. 

    However, athletics are important in the admissions process. Students with strong athletic histories are more likely to gain admission to the schools, and once they do, they are eligible for financial aid equaling 100% of their demonstrated financial need.

    What is the easiest Ivy League to get into?

    Cornell University is typically the easiest Ivy League to get into, with a 9% admissions rate. That being said, a lot of it comes down to whoever is reviewing your application. A student rejected by Cornell might get into Columbia or Harvard if their essays and records stood out to a specific admissions officer.

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