Merit-based financial aid is determined by a student’s academic merit, special talents, occupational goals, leadership, community service or other specific attributes. Many colleges and universities (both public and private) offer merit-based scholarships. Students should look for these scholarship opportunities on the Admissions/Financial Aid webpage of the schools to which they are applying. For many schools in order to qualify for merit aid, the student must simply apply for admission by the college’s priority deadline which may precede the general admissions deadline. Others may require completing an application.
There are also many private scholarships funded by civic groups, private foundations, professional associations and parents’ employers that a student can apply for and use to attend any accredited college or university. A very good way to search for these scholarships is to sign in to Naviance/Family Connection and consult the Scholarship List. There are also a variety of scholarship search engines listed here as well (see also Helpful Links).
Please note: Some merit-based and institutional scholarships require the student to file a FAFSA, regardless of whether need is a component. All parents/students are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA. Also, receiving scholarships from organizations other than the government may affect or reduce your overall financial aid package. Read more.
National Merit Scholarship information, eligibility and requirements can be found at NMSQ.