State Need-Based and Merit-Based Grant Aid: Structural Intersections and Recent Trends
State need-based and merit-based financial aid grants to students are often discussed in opposition as part of an ongoing debate. However, in many states, these programs exist alongside each other; in addition, state-level grant programs exist that combine need and merit, further complicating the issue. This policy brief explores the three basic types of state financial aid grants, emphasizing intersections, program contexts and core structures. Recent state-level finance trends are also discussed. The paper concludes with observations on recent structural and financial trends in need- and merit-based programs.