26 Amazing Merit-Based Scholarships for 2021

Are you someone who puts your all into your academics or hobbies? Your passion has probably helped you achieve an impressive resume that you can showcase in your scholarship applications. Whether you excel at the arts, athletics, or academics, merit-based scholarships award students like you for your outstanding performance.

Going Merry merit-based scholarships for college

When a scholarship provider offers merit-based scholarships, they’re often awarding students based on GPA, extracurricular activities, ACT/SAT scores, and leadership or community involvement. The more you showcase these achievements (in, say, your personal statement or your scholarship essay), the better!

There are both “outside scholarships” awarded by third parties (such as companies, foundations, or philanthropists) that can be used for tuition at any college, AND merit scholarships awarded by the colleges themselves. If you haven’t decided what college you want to attend yet, it may be helpful to look at the second list, because some of these colleges offer very generous packages.

General Merit-Based scholarships

1. National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. Scholarship

Amount: Varies per recipient

Provider: NANBPWC, Inc.

Requirements: (a) Black or African American, (b) GPA ≥ 3.00, (c) college acceptance letter, (d) recommendation letter, (e) transcript.

The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. founded in 1935, emerged as a national non-profit organization in light of the need to promote and protect the interests of women business owners and professionals.

2. PFMH Mental Health Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000 per recipient

Provider: Prochnow Foundation for Mental Health

Requirements: High school senior, GPA ≥ 3.50, must be planning to attend a four-year college or full-length trade school, must have been diagnosed with a mental illness (major depression, bipolar disorder, etc.),college acceptance letter, recommendation letter.

The foundation’s annual scholarship program seeks to reward one high-achieving student with a diagnosed mental illness with a $10,000 scholarship to a four-year college or full-length trade school. The foundation is proud and excited to reduce the financial burden of high-achievers in pursuit of their education, career, and personal development.

3. Norman S. Montgomery Scholarship Fund

Amount: Up to $1,000 per recipient

Provider: Dr. Christiane Francisco-Drake

Requirements: High school senior in Columbus City School District, OH, GPA ≥ 3.00,college acceptance letter, transcript.

Recipients of this award will be eligible to reapply annually while enrolled in a 4-year institution. Applicants must be entering a four year accredited college or university and must demonstrate financial need.

4. John Howard Adkins Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,000 per recipient

Provider: John Howard Adkins Memorial Fund (Charity Smith)

Requirements: Female student, GPA ≥ 3.50, must be planning a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) with a STEM major selected at the institution of choice, transcript.

The John Howard Adkins Memorial Scholarship, established in 2015, honors the memory of John Adkins. He was the father of four daughters and multiple generations who adored him. He was tough, ornery, honest and loving. Although he never attended college, he challenged all his family to work hard, do their best at anything they tried and “use their head for something besides an ear spacer”. Through his encouragement, instillation of responsibility and strong work ethic, he inspired his family every day.

5. Grungo Colarulo Giving Back to the Community Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,000

Provider: Grungo Colarulo Injury Law

Requirements: GPA ≥ 3.00, essay describing community service commitment and how it relates to academic career.

We believe that it is essential to lead by example and serve one’s community. We hope to encourage others, particularly students, to do the same. The scholarship will be awarded to the student whose essay best describes their experienced commitment to community service and what their experience with community service has played and will play in their academic career.

6. Glen Lerner Gives Back Community Service Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,000 per recipient

Provider: Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys

Requirements: GPA ≥ 3.00

The partners at Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys believe that one of the most important things we can do is to lead by example and serve one’s community by prioritizing empowering young people to also participate in their communities and helping them to fulfill their full academic potential.

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7. The Melinda A. Nolan-Lafferty Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Up to $500 per recipient

Provider: Family of Lin Lafferty

Requirements: High school senior, GPA ≥ 3.50, transcript.

From the provider: I, Jennifer M. Hart, am the eldest daughter of Melinda A. Nolan-Lafferty, AKA “Lindy”, “Lin”, “Milly”, and “Mom.” Lin succumbed to a lung disease known as pulmonary fibrosis at the age of 62. It is the desire of her family to keep her memory alive by providing assistance to young adults entering into a secondary educational program.

8. Kopfler & Hermann Overcoming Adversity Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,000 per recipient

Provider: Kopfler & Hermann

Requirements: GPA ≥ 3.00

9. Triumphing Over Adversity Scholarship

Amount: Up to $500 per recipient

Provider: Preszler Injury Lawyers

Requirements: GPA ≥ 3.00

Each year, this award of $500 will be presented to a higher education student who demonstrably embodies the determination, ability and steadfast commitment not only to their own personal success, but also to promoting the greater good for those in need.

10. Seth Okin Good Deeds Scholarship

Amount: Up to $500 per recipient

Provider: Maryland Criminal Lawyer

Requirements: GPA ≥ 3.00

Mr. Okin is proud to contribute to the national discussion on community service by sponsoring the Seth Okin Good Deeds Scholarship. The winner will be awarded a $500 scholarship that will enable him or her to pursue educational goals with the ultimate purpose of creating a meaningful life of service to others.

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11. Chi Am Circle 2020 High School Scholarships

Amount: $1,000 – $5,000

Provider: Chi Am Circle

Requirements: High school senior of Asian ethnicity, GPA ≥ 3.30, residential address in Santa Clara County, California, ACT Score Report, FAFSA, SAR, 2 Recommendation Letters, SAT Score Report, transcript.

The organization awards scholarships to Santa Clara County high school seniors of Asian descent who demonstrate academic achievement as well as noteworthy extracurricular activities such as community service, performing arts, work, and athletics. All students will be considered for merit based scholarships.

12. “Crack the DAT” Pre-Dental Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,000

Provider: Crack DAT

Requirements: Applicants must be at least a college junior to apply, must be pursuing dentistry, resume or CV, photo, transcript, DAT score report, video clip introducing yourself. 

The “Crack the DAT” Pre-Dental Scholarship considers academic merit, community service, and financial need, encouraging pre-dental students to pursue a career in dentistry

13. ETS Presidential Scholarship for HBCU Students

Amount: Full tuition-only need/merit scholarship

Provider: TMCF and ETS

Requirements: Enrolled full-time as a junior or senior, current grade point average of 3.5 or higher, demonstrate leadership abilities, demonstrate a financial need, U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident with valid permanent resident card or passport stamped I-551, letter of recommendation, transcript, essay, and video essay.

ETS, a team of education experts, researchers and assessment developers, provides financial assistance to outstanding African-American students pursuing a college degree.

14. Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Requirements: (a) Must be of Hispanic heritage, (b) Minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for high school students, Minimum of 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for undergraduate and graduate students, (c) Plan to enroll full-time in an accredited, not-for-profit, four-year university, or graduate school, in the US, for the 2020-2021 academic year US Citizen, (d) Permanent Legal Resident, DACA or Eligible Non-Citizen (as defined by FAFSA). Please visit the scholarship website for more information.

The HSF Scholarship provides funding college opportunities for students of Hispanic heritage. These are merit-based scholarships, ranging from $500 to $5,000, with an emphasis on STEM majors.

15. PMAHCC Foundation Scholarship Program

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Requirements: Must be enrolled in a two or four-year college or university, or vocational, technical or trade school in the U.S. or its territories, have at least one parent of Hispanic ancestry (at least one grandparent must be Hispanic), reside in or plan to reside in one of the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Westmoreland or Washington County, minimum 3.0 GPA. Please visit the scholarship website for more information.

The PMAHCC Foundation Scholarship Program provides grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to students. Grant amounts are evaluated based on individual need or merit for each applicant.

16. Scarlett Family Foundation Scholarship

Amount: Up to $15,000

Provider: Scarlett Family Foundation

Requirements: Graduating high school senior or college freshman, sophomore, junior, demonstrate financial need via 1040 tax return, GPA of 2.5 or higher.

The Scarlett Family Foundation’s vision is that every student receives a high-quality education to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient. Joe and Dorothy Scarlett are strong believers in the power of education to transform lives. With the help of their children, they put this belief into action by establishing the Scarlett Family Foundation in 2005 to provide merit and need-based college scholarships to Middle Tennessee students pursuing business degrees.

17. ASCO Engineering Scholarship Program

Amount: $5,000 and $1,000 grant to Engineering department at winner’s college

Provider: ASCO Fluid Control & Pneumatics

Requirements: Online Application, GPA of 3.2

Undergraduates (who completed at least sophomore year) and graduate students may apply. ASCO is interested in applicants who will make a significant contribution to the engineering industry, especially in fluid control and pneumatics technologies. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident.

18. iVein Health & Wellness Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Provider: IVC Interventional & Vein Center

Requirements: Essay (800 to 1000 words), GPA of 3.7

Full-time undergraduates and graduates may apply. IVC wants to hear practical approaches to a lifetime of healthy living, especially habits students can enforce during the hectic schedule of college life. The scholarship page also has previous winning essays on the scholarship page for current applicants to view.

19. The Gerber Foundation Merit Scholarship

Amount: $2,600

Provider: The Gerber Foundation

Requirements: (a) Graduating from a high school in Newaygo, Muskegon, or Oceana County, (b) GPA between 2.0 and 3.7. For more information, please visit the scholarship website

Worth $2,600, the Gerber Foundation Merit Scholarship is available to students in the Newaygo, Muskegon, and Oceana school districts who demonstrate potential and academic success.

20. Scholarship for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur (2020)

Amount: $2,000

Provider: GreenPal

Requirements: Essay (500 to 1000 words), GPA of 3.5

High school seniors and current college freshmen or sophomores may apply. Applicants should have their own business, or a business plan. This scholarship supports driven students showing leadership. Green Pal believes these students are the future employers of tomorrow! Students may be attending a two- or four-year university, college, or vocational/ technical institute.

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21. Cameron Impact Scholarship

Amount: Full tuition and qualified educational expenses

Provider: Bryan Cameron Educational Foundation

Requirements: Online Application and Two Letters or Recommendation, GPA of 3.7

High school students may apply. Students must plan to attend an accredited four-year U.S. college or university full-time. Applicants should participate in community service, and be able to consider the world outside themselves. Each applicant’s extracurricular activities are taken into account also.

22. Solar Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Solar Action Alliance

Requirements: Essay (500 to 1000 words), GPA of 3.2

High school seniors and current college students may apply. The Solar Action Alliance hopes to support a hardworking student, and asks applicants what they think of the future solar power.

23. Computer Science Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Apriorit

Requirements: Online Application, GPA of 3.0

High school seniors and college freshmen may apply. As self -proclaimed software engineering geeks, Apriorit supports students enrolled in a computer engineering or a computer science program. Applicants are expected to have a minimum composite SAT score of 1350/1600 or ACT score of 27.

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24. McDuffie County Academic Merit-Based Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Provider: McDuffie Scholarship and Loan Foundation

Requirements: High school senior, GPA ≥ 3.50, residential address in McDuffie County, Georgia, must have an SAT Score of 1100 -OR- ACT Score of 22, must have been active in extracurricular activities, college acceptance letter, SAR, 2 recommendation letters, transcript

This scholarship is to recognize outstanding academic achievement as demonstrated through the high school course of study through grade point average and SAT/ACT scores.

25. West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship

Amount: Up to $4,750

Provider: West Virginia State Legislature

Requirements: Maintain a 2.75 GPA the first year and a 3.0 GPA in subsequent years, complete and earn a minimum of 30 credit hours in each 12-month period for a student who receives a two-semester award in an academic year. If a student receives a single-semester award, the student must complete and earn a minimum of 15 credit hours in an academic year. Remain continuously enrolled as a full time student.

This is a merit-based, renewable scholarship for students in West Virginia who achieve certain academic requirements. The funds may be used to cover tuition and mandatory fees, and current PROMISE recipients may be eligible to receive a Summer PROMISE award.

26. GSFC HOPE Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Provider: Georgia Student Finance Commission

Requirements: (a) Residency in Georgia, (b) Minimum GPA of 3.0 in both high school and college. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

These merit-based scholarships in Georgia are awarded to state residents who demonstrate academic success and plan on attending a participating college or university within the state. Implemented by the Georgia Student Finance Commision, the aim of the Helping Outstanding Students Educationally scholarship aims to promote the success of Georgia students in higher education.

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