Office of Financial Aid

Scholarships and Merit Aid

Merit aid at Oberlin College is awarded by the admissions offices for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music. The Office of Financial Aid is not involved in the decision process for merit-based scholarships. All questions should be directed to either the Arts and Sciences or Conservatory admissions.

How to Apply

There is no special application for merit-based scholarships in the College of Arts and Sciences. All College of Arts and Sciences applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships during the admission process. Conservatory of Music applicants interested in merit-based scholarships are strongly encouraged to complete the College Board CSS Profile form and must complete a performance audition.

Types of Oberlin College Merit Aid

  1. Arts and Sciences Scholarships: Oberlin offers merit-based scholarships for admitted students based on academic achievements. Students selected to receive merit-based scholarships will be notified by the Office of Admissions at the time of admission.
  2. Conservatory Dean's Scholarships: These awards are made by the Conservatory Office of Admissions and are based on audition ratings and ensemble needs. The College Scholarship Service PROFILE is recommended for students wishing to be considered for this scholarship. Students selected to receive a Conservatory Dean's Scholarship will be notified by the Conservatory Office of Admissions at the time of admission.

Merit Aid Guidelines 

  1. All merit-based scholarships are renewable for a total of 8 semesters, or 10 semesters for students enrolled in the double-degree program.
  2. Students who are academically dismissed may lose their eligibility for merit-based scholarships for future semesters.
  3. Merit-based scholarships do NOT transfer to non-affiliated study-abroad programs.
  4. Students must be enrolled full time to receive merit-based scholarships. The only exception to this rule is that a senior in his or her final semester may receive a prorated amount of scholarship.
  5. Merit-based scholarships do not transfer from one division to the other. For example, if a Conservatory student decides to switch to an Arts and Sciences major, his or her Conservatory Dean's Scholarship will not transfer to the College of Arts and Sciences.
  6. Double degree students who are offered merit-based scholarships from both the Conservatory and Arts & Sciences who attend their first year but then decide to drop either the Conservatory or the College will maintain their full merit amount. They will not lose any merit-based scholarship as a result of dropping one degree.

National Merit Scholarships and National Achievement Scholarships

Oberlin College sponsors a number of National Merit Scholarships in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship program competition are eligible for consideration for Oberlin-sponsored National Merit Scholarships if they

  1. Declare Oberlin as their first-choice college;
  2. Have filed an application for admission to Oberlin College; and
  3. Have not been selected as winners of other National Merit or Corporate National Merit Scholarships and
  4. Are registered as a full time student each semester of school.

Outside Scholarships

In most cases, receipt of merit-based scholarships from non-Oberlin sources will not affect the amount of grant and scholarship assistance that a student receives from Oberlin College.

Scholarships based totally or in part on merit will not affect aid received from Oberlin sources, provided that the total amount of grants and scholarships does not exceed billed costs. (Billed costs include tuition, room, dining, and fees.) Examples of these types of scholarships are the Gates Millennium Scholarship, scholarships from local civic organizations, and National Merit Scholarships. These scholarships will replace self-help (student loans and student employment) offered in the original financial aid package. For example, a $1,000 outside scholarship might replace a $1,000 student loan in the financial aid package.

Oberlin sometimes receives information and applications for outside scholarships, which we then post on our web site.

Go to Outside Scholarships

Need-based grants, entitlements, and benefits from federal, state, or other sources (including tuition benefits from student/parent employers) will replace Oberlin College grants and/or scholarships dollar for dollar (e.g., a $1,000 state grant will replace a $1,000 Oberlin College grant).

Financial aid from federal, state, and other sources will be adjusted in response to receipt of outside scholarships and awards in accordance with eligibility rules established by the Department of Education or other program-administering body. For instance, scholarships from outside sources may affect subsidy eligibility for Federal Stafford Loan purposes.

Students are required to report receipt of all scholarships and awards from outside sources to the Office of Financial Aid by submitting the Outside Scholarship Form.

Go to Financial Aid Forms