Merit Scholarships

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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 merit scholarships worth .

Delaware Nursing Incentive Program

This award is available for Delaware residents and state employees who are pursuing an RN or LPN program. All students must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher; high school seniors must also rank in the top half of their class.

Total: $20000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 04, 2021

Delaware Christa McAuliffe Teacher Incentive Program

This award is available for Delaware students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program leading to teacher certification who plan to teach in a public school in Delaware. High school senior applicants must rank in the top half of their class and have a combined SAT score of 1010 or higher; undergraduate applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $20000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 04, 2021

Ada Leigh Soles Memorial Professional Librarian and Archivist Incentive Program – Master’s Students

This award is available for Delaware residents who are enrolled in an ALA-accredited master’s degree program of library and information science.

Total: $3000

Awards: 3

Deadline: June 04, 2021

Delaware Speech-Language Pathologist Incentive Program

This award is available to Delaware students who are enrolled full time in a graduate program leading to a speech-language pathologist license. Recipients must seek employment as a licensed speech pathologist in a Delaware public school or a contracted provider of a Birth to 3 Early Intervention System program serving infants and toddlers for loan forgiveness.

Total: $5000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 04, 2021

Ada Leigh Soles Memorial Professional Librarian & Archivist Incentive Program-Bach./Doctoral Degree

This forgivable loan program is available to Delaware residents pursuing a bachelor’s or doctoral degree program. Students must have worked at least two years at a Delaware public library, county department library, public school library, or state agency library or archive.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 04, 2021

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: June 04, 2021

Warren L. and Florence W. Calvert Memorial Fund Scholarship

This award is for U.S. citizens studying earth science in a graduate program.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 15, 2021

Santa Fe College Automotive Service Association Auto Technology Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. high school seniors and college freshmen who are enrolled in the automotive A.S. program at Santa Fe College. Students must be residents of Alachua or Bradford counties in Florida, and must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher.

Total: $3200

Awards: 2

Deadline: June 15, 2021

GoFoodservice Scholarship

This scholarship is available for high school seniors and current undergraduate students who are majoring in or planning to major in culinary arts or hospitality. Applicants must submit a short essay describing his/her interest in the field.

Total: $500

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 15, 2021

Santa Fe College Evelyn L. Wenzel Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. high school seniors who are graduating from an Alachua or Bradford county (FL) high school and plan to attend Santa Fe College. Students must plan to major in education as a teacher, and must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $9600

Awards: 6

Deadline: June 15, 2021

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