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Ivy League Scholarships: What Students Need to Know
The Ivy League is a college athletics 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 League colleges and universities.
Let’s start by going over the actual institutions that make up the Ivy League.
Related: What are Public Ivy League schools?
What colleges are in the Ivy League?
The Ivy League includes the following colleges and universities:
- Brown University (Providence, RI)
- Columbia University (New York, NY)
- Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
- Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)
- Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
- University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
- Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
- Yale University (New Haven, CT)
You might be wondering, “what about Stanford?” or “what about MIT?”
They are both, like many other colleges around the world, stellar institutions, but there are only eight schools in the Ivy League athletics conference.
Applying for financial aid at ivy league schools
In order to qualify for financial aid at an Ivy League school, you need to be admitted to the college and also apply for financial aid.
The good news is that all of the Ivy League schools are need-blind for students from the United States. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are even need-blind for international students. Need blind admissions means that the ability to pay is not a factor in the admissions process. Nonetheless, students will need very strong credentials to be admitted to an Ivy League school because admission is extremely competitive.
This 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, like Harvard and Princeton, 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.
Do Ivy League schools give merit scholarships?
No, the Ivy League as a group does not award merit, talent, or athletic scholarships to prospective students. Instead, Ivy League colleges 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. Some of the institutions, such as Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton, do not award loans as part of their financial aid packages. All of their aid packages are composed of need-based grants that do not need to be repaid.
Remember, there are a number of other top colleges and university that do award merit-based scholarships. As with other colleges, students will 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.
Ivy League scholarships checklist
- 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 students’ demonstrated financial need. So, if you have 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 if your need is high enough, this will be a drop in the bucket compared to the aid package they gave you.
You can also oftentimes supplement your need-based aid with an external scholarship. If you managed to get into Harvard, you are probably a shoe-in for many scholarships! It’s just a matter of going out and finding them. 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 Ivy League for you will depend on how each one calculates your financial need. This will vary on a school-by-school basis. Princeton University has a reputation for offering generous need-based financial aid, so for many students, this ends up being the cheapest Ivy League.
Do Ivy Leagues offer athletic scholarships?
Ivy Leagues do not offer athletic scholarships to their students. 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 10% admissions rate in 2021. 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.