Merit-based financial aid is awarded based on a student’s academic accomplishments, which would include their grades and ACT & SAT scores. Students are also considered for merit-based aid if they can offer a special talent to the university like athletics or music. Studies have shown that merit-based aid makes up close to half the financial aid being awarded. If you are not looking to take out student loans, (which must be repaid), students should be encouraged to boost those grades now and start preparing for the ACT & SAT. Proper preparation can help boost scores which could potentially help to cut the college costs. It is recommended that students take these tests multiple times to get the score they desire. The higher the score, the more money your son or daughter could be awarded.