Merit Scholarships: Everything Your Need to Know
These are monetary gifts awarded by institutions to superbly gifted students, who have set themselves apart by their exceptional performance in schoolwork, regardless of whether they require the monetary assistance or not. Thus, merit scholarships don’t take into account EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Instead, they focus on a student’s grades and their excellence in areas like sports, music, arts, etc., along with considering other factors, such as SAT and/or ACT scores, leadership roles, extracurricular activities, and involvement in the school or community.
In several cases, merit-based scholarships s can help reduce or completely cover the cost of standard four-yearcollegetuition. A handful of scholarships are even awarded for meeting the expenses of multiple academic years based on continuing student eligibility, performance, and involvement.
Students who neither qualify for need-based financial aid nor can afford to pay for acollegeeducation out of their pockets can find a solution in merit scholarships. Since such scholarships don’t take an applicant’s financial needs into account, they can be awarded to a student living below the poverty line just as easily as they can be given to a student who belongs to the top 1% of the nation’s wealthiest families.
No fixed rules exist about how a student should apply for merit scholarships. Generally, the organizations offering such financial aids can set their own screening criteria and other requirements. Once students have shortlisted a few merit scholarships they plan to apply to, they should ensure they meet the eligibility criteria. Additionally, they need to read the application instructions outlined by the school, organization, or business and follow them to the letter.