Abigail Lee


Yousuf Mohammad


OU Financial Aid

The University of Oklahoma’s tuition has gone up significantly in the previous years, but financial aid may not be pulling its weight, especially in need-based aid.


Between the academic years of 2011 and 2016, the total amount of financial aid given by the University of Oklahoma increased by 13.41%, while the cost of resident tuition increased by 17.45%, and non-resident tuition increased by a larger 21.24%, according to the University of Oklahoma Fact Book 2017. No data is available regarding what proportion of this is need-based.


When Matt Hamilton, the Registrar and Vice President for Enrollment and Student Financial Aid Services was asked about the breakdown between merit and need-based aid, he said, “the areas we control (both merit and need-based institutional aid) increased dramatically,” but did not address the percent of each.


However, one specific merit-based scholarship awarded to over 900 current OU students makes up a large portion of this total.


The University of Oklahoma currently has more National Merit students enrolled than any other private or public university in the nation. All National Merit students receive full tuition waivers as well as stipends at OU.


To qualify as a National Merit Scholar, you must take the PSAT and score in the top one-half percent and fulfill certain academic and extracurricular requirements.


National Merit recipients can receive up to $20,000 dollars every year in tuition waivers. Over the course of the five-year scholarship, one non-resident student can receive $117,000 of OU financial aid.


However, none of this is based on financial need. Need-based scholarships through the University of Oklahoma are not as widely available.


Brianna Ford, a freshman at the University of Oklahoma is receiving the National Merit Non-Resident package. Ford stated, “It wouldn’t be possible for me to attend OU without National Merit aid, and even with that additional support, it is difficult for me to be here.”


Costs for out-of-state students are high, with an estimated yearly cost of $24,443.50, according to the 2017 OU Fact Book. The graph below demonstrates the rapid increase of non-resident tuition.


The number of National Merit students per class is increasing while the total number of students per class is decreasing, meaning the proportion of total financial aid, especially in waivers, is largely allocated to National Merit students. This graph shows the proportion of waiver funds compared to total financial aid awarded since the 2011-2012 academic year.



Madeline Myers, a sophomore that attends the University of Oklahoma, does not receive the National Merit package.


Myers stated, “If financial aid doesn’t have enough to give to students who aren’t National Merit students, I don’t think it’s fair to give it all away to just National Merit students.”


Tuition and financial aid are not increasing proportionately, especially in regard to need-based aid.




OU Fact Books 2018, OU Fact Books 2017





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