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YesSheCanCampaign

Help students who were victims of scholarship award displacement

Help students who were penalized for earning outside scholarships understand their legal options

Posted April 3, 2023

Background & Context

Scholarship award displacement is one of the root causes contributing to the student loan debt crisis. Need-based recipients cannot use their private scholarship funds to fund their gap after federal, state, and institutional aid, as intended by private scholarship donors, causing many students to borrow more or drop out of college. Scholarship displacement occurs when colleges and universities reduce a student's financial aid package after the student receives an outside scholarship. In many cases, the amount of the outside scholarship is subtracted from the student's financial aid award, resulting in no net gain for the student. Scholarship displacement can have implications for student loan debt, as reducing a student's financial aid award after they have received a private scholarship can leave them with a larger unmet need, which may lead to increased borrowing of student loans.

For example, if a student's financial aid award was reduced by the same amount as the private scholarship they received, they would still have the same amount of tuition and fees to pay, but less aid to cover those costs. This could lead to the student taking out more student loans to make up the difference. Additionally, if the student is unable to cover the full cost of attendance, they may have to take out private student loans, which often have higher interest rates and less favorable terms than federal student loans. This can result in the student accumulating more debt and facing greater financial hardship after graduation.

Immediate Problem

We want to dismantle scholarship award displacement.

Work & Deliverables

Our organization has been doing research on scholarship award displacement for about three years. We recently found out that scholarship award displacement is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. We would like help understanding our legal options.

Scholarship award displacement is one of the root causes contributing to the student loan debt crisis. Need-based recipients cannot use their private scholarship funds to fund their gap after federal, state, and institutional aid, as intended by private scholarship donors, causing many students to borrow more or drop out of college.

Project Plan

Preparation Phase

  • Sign volunteer agreement
  • Schedule a background call

Collaboration Phase

  • Meet about legal options

Wrap Up

  • Wrap Up

This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

Additional Information

  • Time Commitment: 1-5 hours
  • Training Provided: No
  • Site-Preference: Remote
  • Open to Law Students: No
  • Bar License(s) required: Any Bar License
  • Required Languages: None
  • Required Legal Expertise: Civil Rights, Consumer Protection, Education Law, Veterans
  • Mentoring Provided: No
  • Supervision Provided: No
YesSheCanCampaign

YesSheCanCampaign™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that inspires young people to be extraordinary and change the world. YesSheCanCampaign has reached 4,000+ students, volunteered 25,000+ hours, and won six national awards and one international award. YesSheCanCampaign has helped students win over $1 million in educational funding. In 2019, the YesSheCanCampaign started a national campaign to dismantle scholarship award displacement. In 2021, YesSheCanCampaign launched DISSCHOLARED™, an award-winning ed-technology program, and platform that spreads awareness about scholarship award displacement.

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