Colleges That Award Merit Scholarships to the Most Students

Merit scholarships are a great option for students who excel in a certain area. Here, we outline the benefits of merit-based scholarships.

October 6, 2021

Colleges That Award Merit Scholarships to the Most Students

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Overivew of Scholarships at Merit Aid Colleges

Many scholarship programs consider both need and merit when awarding funds. However, some scholarship programs consider only merit. Applicants to these merit-based scholarships do not submit their FAFSA results or CollegeBoard CSS Profile.

Unlike need-based scholarships, merit scholarships offer funding based on performance alone. This gives learners more control over their scholarship potential. Students can further improve funding opportunities by applying to colleges with merit scholarships.

Many schools and nonprofit organizations offer merit-based scholarships to top-performing students. Learners usually qualify for merit-based scholarships based on high GPAs, above-average test scores, and impressive extracurricular records. Some specialized merit scholarships support learners with achievements in particular fields or disciplines, such as the arts.

This guide provides an overview of scholarships at merit aid colleges. The following sections detail typical scholarship requirements, availability, and benefits.

true Q. What is a Merit-Based Scholarship?

Schools and outside organizations may award merit-based scholarships. These scholarships cover part or all tuition costs for students with academic or leadership achievements. Some merit aid colleges feature scholarships that cover education-related expenses, such as room and board. Some scholarships even provide living expense stipends.

High-performing students often apply for merit scholarships from particular programs or schools. Many private organizations also offer merit-based scholarships. Learners can research scholarship opportunities through websites such as CareerOneStop.

true Q. Which Colleges Award Merit-Based Scholarships to the Most Students?

According to Scholarships360's ranking, top merit aid colleges and universities include the University of Alabama, Arizona State University, and the University of Virginia. Private universities such as Boston College and Vanderbilt University also feature many merit-based scholarship opportunities.

Applicants to merit-based scholarships typically provide transcripts and standardized test scores. Many merit aid colleges also require scholarship candidates to submit recommendation letters and essays.

true Q. Do Ivy League Schools Give Merit Scholarships?

Ivy League schools' high institutional endowments allow them to financially assist all enrollees with financial need. Learners demonstrate financial need through their FAFSA results or CSS Profile. Since most Ivy League students perform well academically, these schools do not offer funding based on performance.

However, Ivy League attendees can qualify for merit-based scholarships from outside organizations. Ivy League students also may qualify for federal financial aid.

Benefits of a Merit-Based Scholarship

Merit scholarship award amounts and requirements vary by scholarship type and funding organization. Learners seeking merit scholarships should research their prospective schools' scholarship offerings.

Many schools grant scholarships to high-performing students. To qualify for merit-based scholarships, candidates must usually have been accepted to the school or program. Many colleges with merit scholarships accept scholarship applications during the admission process. Most merit-based scholarship programs evaluate academic merit based on GPAs and standardized test scores. Some merit aid colleges look for leadership characteristics. Applicants may demonstrate leadership through community service or student government participation. Strong performance in extracurricular activities can qualify applicants for some merit-based scholarships. Learners attending merit aid colleges for the arts may qualify for scholarships through artistic achievements. Merit-based scholarships enable learners to secure funding based on their performance. Other funding opportunities, such as lotteries, are random. Merit scholarships provide students with control, since funding depends largely on effort. Learners can significantly expand their scholarship opportunities by investing time and energy into earning good grades and participating in extracurricular activities.

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