A merit scholarship is a scholarship awarded to a qualifying student who meets all requirements. A large corporation is responsible for giving out scholarships to students each year, but those students need to receive good grades in high school and score highly on one of the standardized tests taken before college like the ACT. As you look at different ways to pay for college, you’ll find that some schools offer these scholarships as well.

What are the Requirements?

According to the official website of this scholarship program, you must take the PSAT to qualify. The score you get on this test will determine if you are one of the more than one million students who meet this basic requirement. If you do not score high enough on the PSAT, you can take it again. The PSAT is the preliminary version of the SAT and gives you an idea of how high you will score on that later exam. You will also need to be an American citizen or be a resident of the nation and be in high school. The scholarship is available to both standard high school students and those in a home school program.

How do You Apply?

You do not need to apply to the corporation hosting the national program because it will notify you if you are a recipient. The corporation will contact you once you make it past each round and will later tell you if you received a scholarship and what you need to do to get that money. Even if you do not qualify, you may qualify for another type of scholarship. You must submit the FAFSA and list the college or university that you want to attend on the document. Most schools will tell you if you might qualify for any scholarships and what you need to do to apply.

Do Schools Offer These Scholarships?

Many colleges offer merit scholarships of their own. These may go by different names like the presidential scholarship. Some schools feature the name of an alumni who donated the money to endow that scholarship too. Once you file the FAFSA, the college will determine how much aid you need based on your total family contribution. You will get a letter or an email that lists all the aid in your package. If you qualify for a scholarship, the university may automatically put that money in your account or ask that you submit an application.

Merit vs. Need Scholarships

Colleges typically offer both merit and need scholarships, and some students may qualify for one but not the other or for both. Unlike merit programs that base scholarships on your grades and test scores, need scholarships go to worthy students who cannot afford to attend college. These scholarships can range in size from just a few hundred dollars to a larger amount that covers the balance left on your account after the university applies all other financial aid. Need scholarships often go to those with siblings in college, those who fall below the poverty line and those raised in single parent homes.

Scholarships are just one way in which students can pay for college. You can use those funds in combination with grants, loans and even a job that you work on campus. A merit scholarship is a type of scholarship that goes to high school students with good grades and high test scores.

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