Citing Hamilton's "reputation for being a school of opportunity," Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer has announced a plan that will end merit scholarships beginning with the Class of 2012. Those funds -- about $1 million each year, or 5 percent of the College's $21 financial aid budget -- will be reallocated for additional need-based aid.
While officials believe the new policy makes Hamilton the first college in the nation to discontinue merit scholarships, they point out that the change is not a radical departure, but the continuation of a process that recognizes growing financial need on the part of students. "We have been and plan to continue being a college that meets the full demonstrated need of each student we accept," Inzer says. "Our intent is to grow our financial resources over time, and this is another step toward accomplishing that objective."
More than half of Hamilton's students now receive need-based aid, with the average aid package (grant, work-study, loan) exceeding $26,000. The College's ongoing capital campaign seeks to raise $35 million for additional scholarship endowment.
By comparison, 15 to 20 students in each class year currently receive merit scholarships of up to half their tuition. Current students and those through the Class of 2011 who receive merit-based aid will continue to have those commitments honored.
"A larger percentage of Hamilton students receive need-based aid than nearly all of our peer colleges," Inzer notes. "This change in policy will help us sustain that legacy."