About Outside Aid

Two Types of Outside Aid

Outside resources fall into two main categories: merit scholarships and entitlements. The two different types impact a financial aid award in very different ways, so it is important to understand the difference. Always contact SFS if you have questions about how your outside resources will be classified.

Differences in the Two Types

Merit scholarships and entitlements are awarded on different criterion. Merit scholarships are awarded to students by agencies that are not affiliated with Yale. The criterion for receiving a merit scholarship is directly linked to the student’s performance in academics, sports, music, or another field of special interest. Entitlements are awarded by the federal government, state agencies, or other agencies not affiliated with Yale. The criterion for receiving an entitlement is based on the federal family contribution (FC), city or state of residence, or affiliation with an employer. Because the criteria are different, the financial aid award is adjusted in different ways for each type of outside resource.

Merit Scholarships

Merit scholarships may replace the Student Effort component of an award, as allowed by the federal family contribution. Self Help and the Student Income Contribution may be reduced or replaced by merit scholarships. Some scholarships, such as the Gates Millennium Scholarship and NCAA Grant, may also cover the cost of the Yale Health Plan. If allowed by the awarding agency, a merit scholarship may also cover the cost of a computer, up to $2500 and with proof of purchase, for incoming students.

Yale scholarship is reduced if the total amount of merit scholarships exceeds the amount of Student Effort that can be replaced. The parent contribution cannot be replaced by outside resources as Yale meets need 100%: if the total of merit scholarships exceeds the Student Effort component, the need for Yale scholarship is decreased. Students may contact agencies to see if their merit scholarships may be distributed over several years or reserved for graduate studies. SFS will do everything possible, within the guidelines of Yale policy and federal rules and regulations, to make sure students benefit as fully as possible from their merit scholarships.


Some examples of entitlements are the Pell Grant, Federal SEOGs, state grants, and tuition benefits. Entitlements reduce Yale Scholarship dollar for dollar. An entitlement may have a merit component, but if the student would not receive the resource without need, the resource is considered an entitlement. Entitlements may be awarded by agencies outside of Yale but administered by the University. Students must be sure to meet all of the filing deadlines and paperwork requirements for these resources.