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Which colleges in the West award the most merit-based financial aid?

January 16, 2019

If you are applying to colleges in the West, then you may be wondering which colleges and universities in the region award merit-based scholarships to the most students.  Merit-based scholarships, unlike need-based financial aid, are awarded to students based on academic or other merit rather than demonstrated financial need.  The percentage of students who receive merit-based financial aid can vary dramatically by school, but in general, private colleges award more merit-based aid than public institutions.  (Merit scholarships are also awarded by other entities such as churches and community organizations.) Only two schools in the entire country (neither of which is in the West) offer merit-based aid to 100 percent of students, while some colleges award merit scholarships to as little as one percent of the student population.  Especially if you do not qualify for substantial need-based financial aid, it is important to prioritize schools that offer the most merit-based assistance.

Here we present the colleges and universities in the West that offered merit-based financial aid to at least eighty percent of students for the 2017-18 school year:

Western Schools that Award the Most Merit Scholarships

Institution Name


Percent of Students Awarded Merit Scholarships

University of La Verne



Chaminade University of Honolulu



Linfield College



University of Portland



Mills College



Curious which colleges and universities in the West award the least number of merit scholarships?  Find out here.  We've also got the scoop on which colleges nationwide award the most merit scholarships, in addition to which public universities award the most merit scholarships and which private colleges award the most merit scholarships.  But you don't need to finalize your list of target schools before you start applying for merit-based aid!  As the old sayings go, “time is of the essence” and “may the best 'man' win.”