Merit Scholarships

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What is a Merit Scholarship?

Merit scholarships are a type of gift aid that help pay for college by rewarding talent. Most merit based scholarships go to students who stand out with strong academics.

Recipients of a merit scholarship may be high academic achievers or have strong athletic, artistic or other skills and values. Eligible students must also show a desire to serve the community or leadership skills.

Some merit scholarships also may look at financial need. But most of the time accomplishments and academic excellence are the primary factors to win a merit scholarship.

How Do You Get a Merit Scholarship?

Merit awards are different from needs based scholarships. A need-based scholarship uses family income to make decisions. Instead, the merit scholarship sponsors usually start out with a goal or reason why they offer it. This might be to develop their industry with smart minds or invest in the future of their community and college.

There are various criteria to qualify for a merit scholarship. Sometimes you need to be a member of a specific association or enrolled in the university. Other scholarship providers may specifically offer it to minority students, female students or for certain majors like STEM.

Either way, you’ll need to see if you qualify. One example is the Women Techmakers Scholarship. It is an academic merit scholarship. In order to be eligible, eligible students must show strong academic performance, leadership, and impact on the community of women in tech. You may fit the bill as an upstanding male student, but this one is for girls.

What is Merit?

That stated, what ‘merit’ means generally depends on the organization granting the scholarship. Some merit scholarships look at academic performance, test scores, and your recommendations. Others may only look at your SAT/ACT test scores.

Still others focus on your dedication to and performance in a specific field of study. This can be anything from music to math and others.

Many private companies, groups and nonprofits fund merit scholarships. There are no federal funds for merit-based scholarships.

Some merit scholarship providers are from local communities such as churches and cultural groups. Companies such as Google, Gates Foundation or Coca Cola also offer merit scholarships.

Most colleges also award merit scholarships. Often alumni endow funds to use for these awards. Merit based awards may thus carry the name of a person so that their legacy continues. You’ll also find charitable foundations offering merit aid which sometimes look at financial need.

What GPA do You Need to Get a Merit Scholarship?

An academic merit scholarship often requires a strong GPA. But the actual grade point average you need to get a merit scholarship varies.

For instance, you need a cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale to qualify for the SHRM Foundation’s Graduate Scholarships. This awards $5,000 to a graduate student pursuing an HR degree related program.

The Voice of Democracy Scholarship awards $30,000 to one national first place winner. Most high school students as well as military students may apply.

How Much is a Merit Scholarship?

The U.S. Department of Education tracks the aid schools award to undergraduates. According to the NCES study, they looked at the amount of money high-merit students received. It found that those in selective schools got about 58% of their tuition. Those in less selective schools received about 46% of their tuition amounts.

What Qualifies You to be a National Merit Scholar?

National Merit Scholars have the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores. About 1.6 million enter to compete. But about 50,000 qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program.

Each September, the sponsor colleges notify the recipients. They let them know if they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist. Then about 15,000 semifinalists move to finalist standing.

About 7,600 winners of Merit Scholarship® awards (Merit Scholar® designees) may be notified. Part of the decision making process looks at students’ abilities, skills, and accomplishments.

How Do You Get the Most Money for Merit Scholarships?

Many scholarship providers factor in both need and merit. There are at least six things that may help you get the most merit aid for college.

  1. Don’t forget to fill out the FAFSA. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for federal aid too. This might be useful if the amount of your merit scholarship is not enough to pay tuition, fees, housing etc.
  2. Apply to schools where your grades put you ahead. Many college admissions look at the entire pool of applicants. You may be ahead of the student body in some colleges and not in others.
  3. Check whether the merit scholarship is renewable. If so, abiding by the terms may help pay your entire four years at college.
  4. Make sure you understand the net cost of attending each school you apply to. Then assess the amount of merit aid you can get and see what makes the most sense to you.
  5. Figure out where your talents lie and use them when you search for scholarships. It doesn’t have to be high marks. The Doodle for Google Scholarship rewards creativity.
  6. When applying to a college or university, look at their financial aid section and scan for merit scholarships to see if you qualify.

List of Merit Scholarships

Check out our list of merit scholarships below.

Ohio GFOA Traditional Student College Scholarship

Ohio students who are enrolled full time and entering their junior year of undergraduate study at an Ohio college or university are eligible for this award. Students must major in a field of study related to accounting, finance, budgeting, or other similar area.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 11, 2022

Ohio GFOA Member Continuing Education Scholarship

Ohio GFOA members who have been employed in a government position for two or more years and are working toward a bachelors degree or higher in accounting, finance, budgeting, or related field at an Ohio college or university are eligible for this award.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 11, 2022

Alpha Delta Phi Seward Scholarship

This scholarship is available for currently enrolled undergradute students who are members of the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity or the Alpha Delta Phi Society. Students must attend a college with a chapter of one of the eligible organizations.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 11, 2022

University of Bridgeport Presidential Scholarship for International Students

First-time international applicants to the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut with a grade point average of 3.8 or higher are eligible for this award. There is not a separate application for this award; All international students who meet the initial criteria for admission to the university will be automatically considered.

Total: $60000

Awards: 15

Deadline: July 15, 2022

ITSA Graduate Student Scholarship

International and U.S. graduate students with one or more years of school remaining are eligible for this award. Students must be majoring in thermal spray processes (plasma, flame, arc, HVOF) or materials at an accredited university.

Total: $6000

Awards: 3

Deadline: July 15, 2022

Naval Postgraduate School CISR ‘Scholarship for Service’ Program

This scholarship is available for students who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and are pursuing a master’s degree in computer science with an emphasis in information assurance at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.

Total: $75000

Awards: 10

Deadline: July 15, 2022

Platinum EMS, Nursing, and Allied Health Scholarship Program

This scholarship is available for U.S. undergraduate students who are pursuing an education related to a career in emergency medical services, nursing, or allied health. Selection is based on academic achievement and quality of essay responses.

Total: $3000

Awards: 3

Deadline: July 29, 2022

$2,000 Minecraft Scholarship

The Apex Hosting Minecraft Scholarship is available for U.S. high school and undergraduate students who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. To apply, applicants must submit an original essay of 500 words or more describing how Minecraft can assist with educational and career development.

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 31, 2022

HIE Help Center Scholarship

The HIE Help Center will award one annual scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to an undergraduate or graduate student who plans to pursue a career in physical, occupational, or speech therapy. . Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 31, 2022

Law Office of John J. Sheehan Overcoming Injuries Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. students who are enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program in the United States. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and must submit an essay about overcoming serious injury.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 31, 2022