What is

Scholarship Award Displacement? 

"Scholarship displacement, sometimes called “over-award” by colleges, can impact need-based financial aid awards in the package from their school, even if the scholarship (or scholarships) don’t cover all of their expenses."

- The Scholarship System

Scholarship Award Displacement Victims

Real Stories 

Zaniya L.

Last year, I won an outside scholarship and became a victim of scholarship displacement. My university eliminated my work-study and most of my need-based aid, including my university need-based scholarship. Their response, “private scholarships offset the need-based financial aid, not the family contribution.” My university insisted that I not even bother applying to outside scholarships because it will not be beneficial. I was forced to either take out a private loan or drop out of college. 

Gabrielle B. 

My university increased my family contribution from $1,000 to $40,000. My university said applying to scholarships will not benefit me.

They insisted I take out additional loans.

What is wrong with this practice?

Scholarship award displacement penalizes students who seek additional funding. This practice is unfair for students who have applied and won scholarships to get additional funding to make their college affordable. This practice is discriminatory to many students who are not able to afford their college education.

How have universities gotten away with this practice?

Universities have used this practice to eliminate a student's "unmet" need first. This means a university may reduce the loans or work-study portion of the financial aid package. After that, a university will then decrease the university's need-based scholarship aid. Not all universities use this strategy. 20% of universities reduce grants first. Many universities believe scholarship displacement allows them to "redistribute aid" to other students who need it more. Tip: Please make sure to research your university's or future university outside scholarship policy before applying to outside scholarships.


It is important that every student has the opportunities, resources, and funding to achieve a higher education. 

Since November 2019, the YesSheCanCampaign has been addressing scholarship award displacement in a number of ways. 

1. Local Advocacy 

- Inspired by our Founder/CEO and Executive Director story, Senator Troy Singleton introduced S985, legislation that will outlaw scholarship award displacement at all public universities in the state of New Jersey. The bill is now waiting for a full vote by the New Jersey Assembly. 

2. Workshops 

-YesSheCanCampaign has facilitated a number of workshops about scholarship award displacement to students, parents/guardians, scholarship providers, and nonprofit organizations. 

3. Federal Advocacy 

- Inspired by our Founder/CEO and Executive Director story, Congressman Andy Kim has drafted federal legislation to address scholarship award displacement.


4. Scholarship Providers + Nonprofit Organizations  

- YesSheCanCampaign has worked with scholarship providers and nonprofit organizations to spread awareness about scholarship award displacement. 

5. Website 

- YesSheCanCampaign launched this website to help students, parents/guardians, college counselors, and scholarship providers understand the impacts of scholarship award displacement. 



Phone: (609) 284-9871

YesSheCanCampaign Website


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