What is need-based aid?
Need-based aid is determined solely on a student's financial need. Factors such as test scores or athletic ability have no bearing on any aid designated need-based. Most sources of financial aid that are provided by the government are need-based.
You can calculate how much financial aid you may qualify for using the Net Price Calculator.
What is merit-based aid?
Merit-based aid is based on a variety of talents and interests: academic, artistic, athletic, etc. Scholarships are the most common type of merit–based aid, which may come from SUU or from outside sources. A student with extensive assets and income is just as entitled to a merit-based award as a student with limited assets and income.
Find the version of this article in Spanish here: Ayuda basada en la necesidad vs Ayuda basada en el mérito.