Need Based Scholarships for Private School Students

Wondering how other scholarship programs handle the issue of private high school student eligibility for their need-based scholarship opportunities. Currently, out of over 100 locally offered scholarships for graduating high school seniors, none have been created that specifically include private schools. Typically they are set up for one of 2, or both, of the local public high schools in our school district. Since either school has enough of an eligible class, this has not been a problem, so donors are able to choose their criteria accordingly. Note that area private schools probably do not have enough of an eligible class on their own, so I know of no local scholarships for graduating seniors offered to a private school only. It has recently been brought to our attention that we have a very high financial need, very worthy student who is on scholarship to a small, private school and that we are not equitably allowing access to our process by only allowing public high school students to apply. Informal polling of major, multi-year scholarship donors reveals some are willing to expand their criteria, but want safeguards for high financial need applicants only. We already require FAFSA EFC and other methods to determine financial need, but the universal application does not have that as a "gatekeeper" like the name of the high school attending because there are a few merit only scholarships that do not look at financial need. We want to be equitable but also not open the floodgates and have way more applications to review and way more students to turn down.


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    AudraClodfelterAudraClodfelter Posts: 17 ✭✭✭
    First Comment First Compass Anniversary Beer Expert U.S.A.
    edited February 2021

    @PhyllisMcConn - If your donors are willing to expand their criteria, I would open it up to the private schools. There may be more eligible students than it appears.

    You may be able to implement some internal checks to disqualify students who do not meet the very high financial need criteria. I don't know if that's the right way to go about this, but you may also be able to award points to a student with very high need. Meaning, make that a scorable question (Rank this student's need on a scale of 1 [low] to 10 [very high].) and make it an internal administrator question. You can give 10s to the highest-need students.

    I can understand not wanting to open up the flood gates because it may cause a large influx of ineligible students to apply, but it may be worth it if you're able to meet the needs of those students who might otherwise struggle with college expenses.

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