What is a merit scholarship?
- Merit scholarships are generally based on outstanding academic achievement, such as a high GPA.
- Schools will provide merit aid to encourage top performing students to follow their programs.
- Private organizations can also offer scholarships to students who meet certain conditions.
- Learn more about Insider’s student loan coverage here.
Scholarships can reduce or eliminate the need for college loans, which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. You don’t have to pay back any scholarships you receive, which makes it one of the best forms of financial aid you can get.
However, before looking for merit scholarships from private companies, check with your college to see if they will allow you to stack scholarships and private grants in addition to the help offered by the college. Sometimes a college will deduct any assistance you receive from a private source from the amount of grant or scholarship assistance it offers you.
What is a merit scholarship?
Merit aid is not based on financial need. Merit scholarships are generally awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement. This may be determined by a high grade point average, excellent ACT or SAT score, or other notable academic achievement.
Some merit scholarships are designed for people with specific academic specializations. You may also receive a merit scholarship if you demonstrate significant artistic or leadership skills, such as playing an instrument or leading a particular club.
You can get a few hundred dollars up to the full cost of attending, depending on the amount of funds your college has and your particular qualifications. You may need to maintain a certain GPA to keep your merit scholarship.
Merit aid may recur throughout your stay at university or may be a one-time reward.
How to get a merit scholarship?
Many schools offer merit aid, and you can often get it just by applying to the school itself. Schools often advertise merit aid they give to get top-performing students into their programs.
You may have a better chance of receiving a merit scholarship at a school where your grades or test scores are higher than the standard candidate accepted by the college.
Private organizations also offer merit scholarships – some of the largest and most popular include the Gates Scholarship and the Coca-Cola Scholarship Program Scholarship. You can apply for private scholarships through their websites, and some may require essays or letters of recommendation.
Some merit scholarships may target members of specific groups or students of particular fields.
Merit scholarships compared to other types of scholarships
Look around at different schools and private scholarship sources for as much help as possible. You may qualify for more aid than you think, and some schools may become more attractive options based on their merit-based aid programs.