Merit Scholarships

Millions of Scholarships, personalized results

 and get matched to scholarships that are personalized for you.

What is a Merit based 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 scholarship.

How Do You Get a Merit Scholarship?

Merit awards are different from needs based ones. To get a merit scholarship you need to have a good GPA, SAT/ACT test scores, and strong academics. On the contrary, a need-based scholarship uses family income to make decisions. Instead, the 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 Scholars Program. 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.

Who Awards Merit Scholarships?

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

Some 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 based Scholarship?

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

The U.S. Department of Education tracks the aid schools award to undergraduates. In one 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.

But as you might expect, merit scholarships come from a wide range of grantors. As such, the size and scope of a scholarship varies. Some are for smaller amounts while others may be full-ride scholarships.

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 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 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 scholarships to see if you qualify.

List of Merit Based Scholarships

Check out our list of 688,843 merit scholarships worth $3B.

Laurels Fund Scholarship

This scholarship is available for U.S. women who are pursuing a Ph.D. in accounting. Applicants must have completed comprehensive exams prior to the previous fall semester; financial need and academic achievement will be considered. The fund provides awards of $1,000- $5,000. Click here to learn more and apply today!

Total: $5000

Awards: 4

Deadline: May 15, 2021

St. Stanislaus Knights of Columbus Scholarship

This scholarship is available for high school seniors in Pleasant Valley, NY who are active and contributing members of St. Stanislaus Parish or St. Stanislaus Knights of Columbus. Applicants must submit a transcript, essay of no more than 500 words and a recommendation letter with their applications.

Total: $500

Awards: 1

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Alfred State College International Merit Scholarship

This award is for international students who meet two of the following four criteria: a 3.0 grade point average or higher; a combined SAT score of 1100 or higher; a TOEFL score of 195 or higher; a member of Phi Theta Kappa in good standing. The student must plan to attend Alfred State College in New York.

Total: $6000

Awards: 2

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Achieving the Dream Scholarship

This award is available for Hispanic undergraduate students who are legal residents of Duval, St. Johns, Clay, Baker or Nassau counties, Florida for three years or more. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher at time of application.

Total: $20000

Awards: 10

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Clay County Gator Club Scholarship

This award is available for current high school seniors who are planning to attend the University of Florida on a full-time basis. The applicant must have a parent or grandparent who is a member of the Clay County Gator Club to be eligible.

Total: $7000

Awards: 7

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Hsiao Memorial Social Sciences Scholarship

The mission of the Asian Pacific Fund is to strengthen the Asian and Pacific Islander community in the Bay Area by increasing philanthropy and supporting the organizations that serve their most vulnerable community members. Ten scholarships are given to help undergraduate and graduate students achieve their education goals.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: May 17, 2021

1-800-Wheelchair Scholarship Fund

International and U.S. undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher are eligible for this award. Students must be 16 years of age or older. One to two $500 awards are offered each year. Preference will be given to students with a mobility disability. Click here to learn more and apply today!

Total: $1000

Awards: 2

Deadline: May 20, 2021

Ford College Community Challenge

This award is available for Hispanic students who have attended a high school in or around San Antonio, TX. Applicants must have a grade point average of 2.75 or higher and plan on majoring in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.)

Total: $4250

Awards: 2

Deadline: May 28, 2021

David Knapp Scholarship

This scholarship is available for LGBT students and straight allies who reside in or are looking for need-based support. Click to learn more and apply today!

Total: $3000

Awards: 3

Deadline: May 30, 2021

Mark Beaumont Scholarship

U.S. undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any major with a grade point average of 3.3 or higher are eligible for this award. Students must have the intention to enter the game industry as a developer of interactive entertainment. Click here to learn more and apply today!

Total: $2500

Awards: 2

Deadline: May 31, 2021

Save time. Let us search for you.

Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.

Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!

START YOUR SEARCH