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A Rise in Students Receiving Merit Awards -

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Consider this run-through of the federal financial-aid form: a family making $75,000 a year might have to pay about $10,000 a year toward the cost of college before qualifying for need-based aid. With income of $150,000, the expected family contribution is $35,000 to $40,000. Student loans loom.

“We certainly have found that with the recession in recent years, many middle-income families and even some higher-income families are looking for more aid,” says Earl D. Retif, vice president for enrollment management at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Rather than lose bright students to less-expensive public colleges, universities like Tulane offer sizable amounts of aid based mainly on academic promise.

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