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 merit scholarships worth .

Boren Fellowship Awards For International Study

This award is available to U.S students who are either matriculated in or applying to a graduate degree program at a U.S. college or university and planning to pursue a study abroad program. Scholarships are awarded with preference for countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security.

Total: $60000

Awards: 2

Deadline: January 27, 2021

Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship

This award is available for U.S. undergraduate students who are employees, immediate family members of an employee, or immediate family members of a NRCA-contractor member who has a minimum of one year of employment with the company as of the application deadline date.

Total: $50000

Awards: 10

Deadline: January 28, 2021

VSGC Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program

This scholarship is available for U.S. college juniors or seniors who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and are enrolled in a field of study that includes coursework related to an understanding of or interest in aerospace. Students must be enrolled at one of the five Virginia Space Grant Consortium universities.

Total: $25500

Awards: 3

Deadline: January 29, 2021

CTA Scholarship For Dependent Children

This award is available for U.S. students who have at least one parent that is a teacher in a California school. The CTA Scholarship for Dependent Children offers a maximum of 35 scholarships of up to $5,000 each. Click here to learn more and apply today!

Total: $175000

Awards: 35

Deadline: January 29, 2021

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

This award is for U.S. sophomores or juniors in college who are majoring in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. The applicant must have a 3.0 grade point average or higher to be eligible.

Total: $15000

Awards: 2

Deadline: January 29, 2021

VSGC Graduate STEM Research Fellowship Program

This scholarship is available for U.S. graduate students who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and are enrolled in a field of study that includes coursework related to an understanding of or interest in aerospace. Students must enroll or plan to enroll at one of the five Virginia Space Grant Consortium universities.

Total: $18000

Awards: 3

Deadline: January 29, 2021

Missouri State University Inclusive Excellence Leadership Scholarship & Recognition Award

This scholarship is open to U.S. students who plan to enroll at Missouri State University as incoming freshmen. Students must: rank in the top 50 percent of their class or have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher; and have demonstrated leadership in multicultural school or community activities or organizations. Students with disabilities and/or historically underrepresented populations are encouraged to apply.

Total: $21000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 30, 2021

Irene B. Kirbo Memorial Scholarship

This award is available for full-time undergraduate students attending Florida State College at Jacksonville. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate unmet financial need. Selection will be based on character, initiative, and ability.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 30, 2021

Buena Vista University President’s Scholarship

U.S. high school seniors planning to enroll full time at Buena Vista University are eligible for this award. Students must meet two of the following requirements: a 3.85 grade point average, 29 ACT or rank in the top 5 percent of their class.

Total: $125272

Awards: 5

Deadline: January 30, 2021

Missouri State University Hutchens/SGA Centennial Leaders Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. students who plan to enroll at Missouri State University as freshmen. Students must have a class rank in the top 50 percent or a grade point average of 3.0 or higher AND an ACT score of 20 or higher or an SAT score of 1030 or higher. Students must also excel in three of the following areas: leadership; volunteerism; performing arts; athletics.

Total: $10000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 30, 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!