How Can I Benefit From Merit Based Grants?
Most students will need some form of financial aid to get through college and a grant is definitely the most beneficial. Merit based grants help students afford college without going into mountainous debt. College is not an inexpensive proposition and competition for grants is fierce but do not let that deter you. If you are diligent put in the proper amount of effort to find all of the appropriate financing options available to you your dreams of a college education can be secured.
Why Merit Based Grants?
Merit based grants do carry a certain level of prestige with them.If you have performed well in school and can show a record of consistently successful study you may be eligible for any number of grants. These merit based grants provide free money for your college education as well as adding an extra measure of prestige to your record when you enter the job market.
Types of Merit Based Grants
Merit based grants are monetary awards given in recognition of exceptional academic achievement. Where need based grants are awarded on the basis of income disparity, merit based grants require students to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, commitment to service and leadership qualities. Every state offers a large number of merit based grants and scholarships each year and you will want to visit your state higher education website to learn more about what your home state has to offer.
State sponsored grants are designed to benefit students who choose to attend college or university within the state in which they reside. States like to keep their scholastic high achievers close to home, knowing that when they graduate and enter the workforce the entire state benefits. Some examples of state sponsored merit grants from around the country include:
- The state of Wyoming offers the Wyoming Space Grant to students pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies in space science at one of the states 4 year universities.
- The New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence administers a number of annual grants to students showing a consistent level of academic achievement who have enrolled in one of New York States colleges or universities.
Other forms of merit based grants may be sponsored by organizations or corporations. These grants are designed to reward high performing students who plan to take up studies in a specific field. Some of these grants may be aligned with specific universities or may be blanket grants that allow the student to use the money at the college of their choice. A few examples of these profession specific grants are:
- The Future Farmers of America grant is awarded to students demonstrating high levels of academic excellence who wish to pursue a career in business and agriculture. The FFA also offers a Living To Serve grant that is awarded to students who have demonstrated a high level of civic minded service to their community.
- The Broadcast Education Association offers grants and scholarships to students of excellence who have a desire to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and media arts. Their merit based grants are available to students at all levels of study from freshman to undergraduates and graduate students.
Qualifying for Merit Based Grants
Eligibility for merit based grants is determined by your scholastic performance. While your families income and EFC may be taken into consideration in terms of who needs the financial aid more the ultimate decision will be determined by your overall high school GPA. When transferring from a community college to a four year university your college transcripts will also be used to decide your eligibility.
Most merit based grants do not have super high qualification standards for applicants. Rather, you just need to have received and maintained a decent GPA, which is typically somewhere around a 3.0. That's not so bad, right? And besides, these grants are all about rewarding students that have done well in school by helping them pay for college. If you don't qualify at the moment, think of a merit based grant as an incentive for all of your hard work!
While good grades are the major determinant that decides any grant application other factors will also be taken into consideration when deciding your eligibility. Extra curricular activities such as clubs help to show leadership qualities that scholarship and grant boards like to see in an applicant. Community service and out reach programs also show a strong character and are routinely considered when deciding grant applications.
Finding Merit Based Grants
State sponsored merit based grants are easy to find, and most states offer them to resident students with qualifying GPAs. Your first step should be to visit the higher education section of your home states official website. There you will find comprehensive information on the grants and scholarships sponsored by your state. Your high school careers adviser or guidance councilor can also give you information on grants that best fit your academic history.
University supported and corporate funded scholarships will likely require a little more effort on your part to find. There are a lot of very specific grants available and you will need to put in the leg work to seek them out. Begin with looking into grants for studies in your particular interest and then move on to grants offered by your college of choice. Don't neglect civic groups and business organization in your community. These can be good ways of being put on to a rewarding lead when looking for career specific financial aid.
Merit-based grants are one of the best and most successful financial aid options. They reward students who have shown the academic achievement and solid work ethic that will make them successful when they enter university. The time to start thinking about merit based grants is when you are still in high school. Work hard, study hard and apply for those grants early.