Con: Reducing merit scholarships would deter high-achieving prospective students

Daniel Horowitz, Staff Writer

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The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

When it comes to offering students financial aid, Tulane works to make sure students receive help paying for their education.

Nick Anderson of The Washington Post reported that Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania began giving students only need-based scholarships, thereby eliminating merit-based scholarships. This decision was made so the school could offer aid to students who require financial assistance to be able to attend F&M.

With the various scholarships Tulane offers, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions does not need to take this course of action.

Faye Tydlaska, director of undergraduate admission at Tulane, said the university already offers approximately $100 million in scholarships, which are given to about 80 percent of undergraduate students. This money is divided almost evenly into merit-based and need-based scholarships. Since students receive merit scholarships before even hearing about need-based aid, the amount of merit aid provided slightly outweighs the amount of need-based aid provided. 

Tydlaska said Tulane also provides additional scholarships to students based on leadership and community service experience. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions also assists students with its No-Loan Assistance Program. This program helps freshmen with family incomes below a certain level pay for various costs with a combination of Tulane scholarships. 

With all of this in mind, it seems drastic for Tulane to take measures as extreme as those F&M has taken. Eliminating almost all merit-based aid for students would actually be detrimental because some students elect not to apply for need-based aid when they see how much Tulane offers them in merit awards. Many students also make their decision to attend Tulane based on the amount of merit-based aid they receive. In terms of having a more diverse class, the various scholarships offered by Tulane allows the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to attract a variety of students that add to a more diverse student body.

Tulane’s admissions officers consistently do their best to make sure students get the financial assistance they need. In addition, President Michael Fitts has said he plans to use the money gained from his yet to be announced fundraising campaign in part to improve financial aid.

Tulane’s scholarship system is effective. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions cannot eliminate all merit awards like F&M did. By doing so, our admissions officers would be driving away a large group of top-notch students who use merit aid to help pay for their education. It is the job of our admissions office to do what they can to bring prospective students into the Tulane community, and they should do everything they can to do so.

Daniel Horowitz is a freshman in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]