We know that understanding the different types of scholarships can be confusing. In this post we will explore what a merit-based scholarship is. The bottom line for earning and retaining this type of scholarship is to make sure that you have good grades and tests scores. Merit-based scholarships are great because you do not need to pay them back at the conclusion of your college career.
Why should I want a merit-based scholarship?
This is the easiest and usually the largest chunk of free money that you are going to receive. Having good grades and higher test scores will help you earn more money.
How do I apply for a merit-based scholarship?
Most institutions will tell you what merit-based scholarships you qualify for after you have applied and been accepted. These scholarships could change depending on if you are able to improve your test scores before the end of your senior year. Your test score improving by one point could be the difference between you earning another $1,000 – $3,000 in merit scholarships.
What GPA do I need to receive a merit-based scholarship?
This will depend on the college that you choose to attend. Some colleges have multiple scholarship levels that represent different combinations of GPAs and test scores. A Net Price Calculator will give you an estimate of your merit-based scholarship and general grant awards.
What else do I need to earn this scholarship?
Earning a merit-based scholarship depends on your grades and test scores. Some merit scholarships could have an interview, writing and/or audition/portfolio component. To keep the scholarship you must maintain a certain GPA as you go through college. Be sure to check with your university on their policies.
Who offers merit-based scholarships?
All colleges and universities offer some version of a merit-based scholarship. Most institutions will tell you up front what you will qualify for. In addition to receiving merit scholarships, you can also receive federal grants and loans (you must file the FAFSA), and other private loans to help cover the cost of your education.
How will I know if I receive this type of scholarship?
Colleges and universities will let you know during the admittance process. It might be included in your acceptance letter from the school.
Where will the money go if I earn a merit-based scholarship?
It will go directly to your tuition cost, applied directly to your account. You will never actually see it .
Can a merit-based scholarship be taken away once it is awarded?
Yes, if you do not maintain the required renewal GPA throughout college the institution has the right to reduce the amount that they are granting you. Colleges might also meet with you to warn you of the possible reduction and give you a chance to improve your grades.
At Bluffton University…
Bluffton University awards up to six competitive scholarships of $21,000 to full-tuition in addition to merit-based scholarships based solely on high school GPA and aptitude test scores. Learn more about the Presidential Scholarship Competition and the Music Performing Scholar scholarship.
Written by Bluffton University senior Beth Weigandt.