By the Numbers: Student Scholarship Chances

Though movies and television make it seem like a full-ride scholarship will be readily available for nearly every student, reality is starkly different.

Check out your scholarship chances by the numbers. All data is from the 2015-2016 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), the most recent study available:

  • Only 0.2 percent of students get $25,000 or more in scholarships per year.
  • During the 2015-2016 school year, $6.1 billion in scholarships was awarded to 1.58 million students. If you limit the data to students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs, it works out to be one in eight students who received an average of $4,202.
  • Just 1.5 percent of students in bachelor’s degree programs received enough scholarships and grants to cover 100 percent of the cost of attendance. Another 2.7 percent got enough to cover 90 percent of the cost of attendance, and 5.9 percent got enough to cover 75 percent of the cost of attendance.
  • Only 2.3 percent of students in bachelor’s degree programs receive athletic scholarships, averaging $11,914 each.

More than half of all students attending college in the United States receive some form of financial assistance, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Planning how to finance a college degree is an essential part of the college admission process.

Learn more about financing college and check out our list of trusted sources on this topic.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

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