Merit Based Scholarships

College education in USA is very costly. Cost of attending college education includes cost of tuition fees, room and board, other fees, insurance, books etc which is a big concern for the Parents and students. However, these universities offer many scholarships to the high achieving and talented students based on the merits and profile of the students.

What are the merit scholarships and how students can get these merit-based scholarships? This we will discuss in this article. Also, we will discuss about how to find out these scholarships and how to apply to these scholarships.

Merit Based Scholarships:

Colleges want to attract talented and high achieving students to their colleges for that reason colleges give scholarships by way of funding free money to smart, high achieving students and this money is students are not required to pay back to colleges in future. So, its free money. Also, these scholarships are purely based on merits and not based on the need of the students.

All merit scholarships are very competitive as many students apply for these scholarships. These scholarships are very prestigious. Usually, these scholarships are awarded to students who are demonstrated outstanding performance and achievements in academics, sports, arts, community services, leaderships, high impact social works, national awards etc.

Benefits of Merit based scholarships:

Usually with merit-based scholarships full to partial tuition fees is waiver are given. Even colleges have merit-based scholarships up to the full cost of attendance which included full cost of tuition fees, room and board and other costs as well.

Also, for these prestigious scholarship achievers colleges give many other benefits and access to many resources in the colleges.

How many merit-based scholarships are there?

There are limited number of full tuition fee scholarships are available but the number of partial tuition fees merit-based scholarships are many in most of the college.

For how many years these scholarships are awarded?

Once the merit-based scholarships are awarded then usually these amounts are made available to the students for the entire duration of the course. The students are expected to complete the undergraduation degree in 8 consecutive semesters. So, once the scholarship is awarded in first year admission then these scholarships are for four years.

However, there are very few merit scholarships which are only for one-time scholarships in first year. Hence, students need to consider this important factor before taking any decision.

What is criteria to maintain these scholarships?

Usually, to maintain these scholarships students are required to maintain a good academic standing in the class. Colleges want these students to maintain certain GPA every semester and the overall GPA as well. This GPA limits varies college by colleges. Some colleges want merit scholarships students should maintain at least 2.0 GPA, some wants 2.5 GPA or even some colleges expect 3.0 GPA.

And the second condition is students need to be a full-time student. For that students need to enrol for at least 12 credits courses for every semester.

Sometimes these students are expected to participate and give their time for certain activities like college events, volunteering work, community service etc as suggested by the colleges during each semester.

Those students who fulfil above criteria will be continued scholarships for further years.

Why merit Scholarships?

  • To recruit talented and brightest students.
  • Maintain diversity in the class
  • Attract high achieving athletes

Two merit scholarships:

There are many scholarships available for students. Then can a student apply and get two different scholarships in one college?

Yes, students can apply to more than one scholarship in many colleges.  The colleges have limited funds and grants available to give merit scholarships to students each year. Hence, in some colleges students can combine the scholarships amounts of different scholarships but in many colleges this type of combining of scholarships is limited. Colleges wants to give these scholarships amounts to as many students as possible. Hence, even if some students are qualified for more than one scholarships then that student will be awarded the one of highest amount  scholarship and the other scholarship is given to other students.

Merit Based Scholarship search:

University website is the best place to find out the scholarships offered by the universities. Hence, visit the university website and search for the merit scholarships available for the students. The detailed and reliable information about each of the scholarships is given on the college website. The qualification, requirements, how to apply, deadline, selection criteria etc all information given on the website.

Top college or other colleges:

Many top colleges offer merit-based scholarships however since most of the high achieving students apply for merit scholarships these merit scholarships are very competitive. However, there are many other colleges who offer good amounts of scholarships to talented students. Hence students need to apply to such colleges as well to get these scholarships. Hence decide your safety, match and reach colleges considering the individual student’s profile and chances of getting scholarships as well while short listing the colleges.

Scholarship Applications:

Some colleges do not require separate application for their merit scholarships. These colleges evaluate college application itself for giving their merit scholarships.  However, most of the prestigious scholarships are required to submit separate application for  each of the scholarship.

Click to Read more about  How to apply for scholarships in USA

Supplemental Requirement’s:

Many colleges require additional materials like additional essays, additional letter of recommendations etc. Hence for your application to be considered for the merit scholarships students need to complete the scholarships application by submitting all the required supplemental materials then only the application will be considered. All the incomplete and partial applications will not be considered for the meris based scholarships.  


Many prestigious merit scholarships applications are usually different deadline than that of the college application deadline. Hence keep a track of the merit scholarship application deadline and the various requirements of those scholarships. Submit and complete all the requirements before deadlines


Merit scholarships are great way to reduce the cost of college attendee. Merit scholarships can reduce the financial burden on the parents and students to a great extent. Hence students must research and apply for these scholarships. These are merit scholarships hence they are awarded to high achieving students. Hence students need to build their profile to demonstrates their achievement so that colleges can offer them scholarships.  

Click to read about Cost of Studying in the USA

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