Students who’ve studied hard to maintain excellent grades can build lucrative financial aid packages with academic and merit scholarships.
Unlike need-based programs, merit-based awards typically only judge applicants by their grades, test scores, and gifted talents rather than economic backgrounds. According to the U.S. News, the mean GPA is 3.1 for female and 2.9 for male high school seniors in America. Having an above-average academic record unlocks plentiful scholarships where As are rewarded with free tuition money. In fact, The New York Times published a list of more than 600 colleges offering merit aid.
The following are 25 generous merit-based scholarships that celebrate graduates with distinctive academic honors.
1. Accenture American Indian Scholarship
Deadline: February 16th
The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) offers five undergraduate scholarships based on merit, including the Accenture American Indian Scholarship for $2,500 to $5,000. Qualified freshmen must be members of federally recognized tribes who obtain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher at accredited U.S. colleges for business-oriented majors, including finance, marketing, accounting, human resources, and operations management. Merit is also determined by leadership in civic and extracurricular activities.
Accenture American Indian Scholarship
3701 San Mateo NE Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87110
2. Alexander Graham Bell College Scholarships
Deadline: March 10th
The Alexander Graham Bell Association funds 20 scholarships for $2,500 to $10,000 annually to outstanding students who are deaf or hard of hearing with an unaided Pure-Tone Average (PTA) of 60db or greater. Eligibility criteria requires enrolling full-time at mainstream U.S. colleges, achieving a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.25, and having hearing loss that’s bilateral. Graduate degree candidates in law and public policy would qualify for the George H. Nofer Scholarship.
Alexander Graham Bell College Scholarships
3417 Volta Place NW
Washington, DC 20007
3. Arthur J. Packard Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Valued at $5,000 for first place, the Arthur J. Packard Memorial Scholarship was created by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) to honor the third-generation hotelier. Yearly, the Foundation’s 66 affiliated, four-year universities nominate the best qualified hospitality management majors in their junior or senior year. Nominees must be U.S. legal residents, take 12+ credits per term, and excel academically with a 3.5 GPA or better.
Arthur J. Packard Memorial Scholarship
1250 I Street NW Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
4. Bryan Cameron Impact Scholarship
Deadline: May 26th or September 15th
The Bryan Cameron Education Foundation grants the Cameron Impact Scholarship for four-year, full-time tuition up to $50,000 per annum to 15 exemplary high school seniors who prioritize academic excellence. Competitive candidates would be United States citizens, accepted into accredited bachelor’s programs, motivated leaders in extracurricular activities, and top-ranking students with a 3.7 GPA or greater. Preference is given for public service-oriented majors like government, education, or civil engineering.
Bryan Cameron Impact Scholarship
8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #772
Los Angeles, CA 90045
5. Diamond State Merit Scholarship
Deadline: March 6th
Administered by the Delaware Department of Education, the Diamond State Merit Scholarship is bestowed upon 50 high school seniors statewide for $1,250 per year. The renewable, academic-based program accepts legal Delaware residents who rank in the upper quarter of their class, maintain a cumulative “B” average or better, and score at least 1290 on the SAT (out of 1600). Applications must include a 1,000-word essay sharing strategies to help next generations afford college.
Diamond State Merit Scholarship
401 Federal Street Suite 2
Dover, DE 19901
6. Flinn Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: October 18th
For 31 years, the Flinn Foundation has provides lucrative academic scholarships for Arizona’s 20 highest-achieving high school seniors who will attend the state’s three public colleges. The financial package covers tuition, fees, room and board, and two study abroad trips for $115,000 total. Interested applicants must be U.S. citizens, attain a minimum 3.5 GPA, rank in the top 5 percent of their class, score at least 1360 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT, and exhibit extracurricular leadership.
Flinn Foundation Scholarships
1802 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix AZ 85004
7. Gerber Foundation Merit Scholarship
Deadline: February 28th
In West Michigan, the Gerber Foundation provides a $2,600 Merit Scholarship to several college-bound high school seniors from Newaygo, Muskegon, and Oceana counties. Funding is reserved for outstanding students with a cumulative GPA between 2.0 and 3.7 who are pursuing accredited U.S. education leading to a vocational certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree. Newaygo County residents with a 3.71 GPA or better qualify for the $10,600 Daniel Gerber Sr. Medallion Scholarship too.
Gerber Foundation Merit Scholarship
4747 West 48th Street Suite 153
Fremont, MI 49412
8. Gus Archie Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Named for the Shell Development Co. VP assistant who coined the term “petrophysics,” the Gus Archie Memorial Scholarship awards $5,000 yearly from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. This merit-based fund supports SPE members who graduated high school in the top 3 percent of their class, gain admission at accredited university, pursue petroleum engineering bachelor’s degrees, and demonstrate satisfactory academic marks. Future oil and gas industry leaders must submit at least one recommendation.
Gus Archie Memorial Scholarship
10777 Westheimer Road Suite 1075
Houston, TX 77042
9. Ingersoll Rand Hallmark Scholarship
Deadline: March 17th
Ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) Education Foundation manages 19 funds annually, including the Ingersoll Rand Hallmark Scholarship. This merit-based scholarship seeks high school seniors of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage who display academic achievement with a 3.3 GPA or better and ambition for full-time, accredited baccalaureate study. Recipients are honored at the CelebrAsian Procurement Conference in May.
Ingersoll Rand Hallmark Scholarship
1329 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
10. Jack Kent Cooke College Scholarship
Deadline: November 30th
Among the most competitive academic scholarships, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s College Scholarship confers $40,000 yearly to 40 exceptional high school seniors nationwide who are entering four-year U.S. undergraduate study. At minimum, applicants must hold an unweighted GPA of 3.5, attain composite scores of 1200 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT, and have household income under $95,000. Current scholars are attending selective universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Cornell.
Jack Kent Cooke College Scholarship
44325 Woodridge Parkway
Lansdowne, VA 20176
11. Jerman-Cahoon Student Scholarship
Deadline: January 31st
Established in 1984, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists Foundation awards merit-based scholarships like the Jerman-Cahoon Student Scholarship in all 50 states. This $2,500 fund specifically honors the former ASRT President by selecting six entry-level students earning associate or bachelor’s degrees in radiography, diagnostic medical sonography, magnetic resonance, or nuclear medicine. Eligible U.S. citizens must excel in the radiologic sciences with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
Jerman-Cahoon Student Scholarship
15000 Central Avenue SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123
12. Kathleen A. Frawley Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: September 30th
The AHIMA Foundation offers merit scholarships like the Kathleen A. Frawley Memorial Scholarship for $1,000 at the associate, $1,500 at the bachelor’s, $2,000 at the master’s, and $2,500 at the doctoral level. Qualified recipients must enroll full-time in CAHIIM-accredited health informatics programs, take 6+ credits per term, have at least one semester remaining, sustain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, hold current membership in good standing, and have professional healthcare experience.
Kathleen A. Frawley Memorial Scholarship
233 N. Michigan Avenue 21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
13. Leslie Andree Hanna Medical Scholarship
Deadline: February 10th
Aspiring physicians could claim the Leslie Andree Hanna Medical Scholarship for $5,000 from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Eligible women must be U.S. citizens who are enrolling full-time at AAMC-accredited medical schools with a minimum 3.25 GPA to obtain Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) credentials. Other merit-based options include $2,000 Mildred Nutting Nursing Scholarship or $5,000 Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship.
Leslie Andree Hanna Medical Scholarship
1776 D Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
14. National Buckeye Scholarship
Deadline: November 1st
At Ohio State University, the National Buckeye Scholarship presents $12,500 per year or $50,000 total to non-Ohioans across the United States who are enrolling as full-time freshmen in any major. Demonstrating academic excellence by ranking in the top 25 percent of their graduating class, attaining a minimum 3.5 GPA, and scoring at least 1350 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT is required. Ohio residents could receive the Eminence Fellows Scholarship instead.
National Buckeye Scholarship
281 W. Lane Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
15. NDS Sophomore Merit Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
The National Dairy Shrine (NDS) endows over $40,000 for scholarship money each year, including its Sophomore Merit Scholarship. This academic program selects U.S. sophomores with a minimum 2.5 GPA after 30+ college-level credits who are devoted to careers in the dairy industry. Accepted B.S. majors include diary science, agriculture, animal science, agribusiness, dairy production, dairy marketing, and agricultural economics. Don’t forget to attach two recommendations and maximum 750-word aspirations essay.
NDS Sophomore Merit Scholarship
P.O. Box 725
Denmark, WI 54208
16. Otis A. Singletary Freshman Scholarship
Deadline: December 1st
Outstanding high school seniors who “See Blue” can earn the University of Kentucky’s elite Otis A. Singletary Freshman Scholarship for full-tuition coverage and a room and board allowance. Eligible candidates must be finishing a diploma, have 23 or fewer college-level credits, present a cumulative secondary GPA of 3.8 or higher, and possess a composite SAT score above 1490 or ACT score over 33. Also consider the Presidential Scholarship and Bluegrass Spirit Scholarship.
Otis A. Singletary Freshman Scholarship
100-H Funkhouser Building
Lexington, KY 40506
17. Paul Tsongas Scholarship Fund
Deadline: February 1st
One of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s merit-based options is the Paul Tsongas Scholarship Fund, which covers tuition and mandatory fees for four years. It’s intended for “Bay State” residents who are graduating public or private high schools with a 3.75 GPA or higher and minimum Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of 1200. Waivers apply to nine public, in-state universities like Framingham State, Worcester State, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Paul Tsongas Scholarship Fund
1 Ashburton Place Room 1041
Boston, MA 02108
18. PTK Hites Transfer Scholarships
Deadline: December 1st
The Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society awards 10 Hites Transfer Scholarships for $7,500 apiece with commemorative medallions each year to high-achieving members. Appropriate applicants must be transferring to regionally accredited four-year colleges, already hold 50+ credits or an associate degree, take at least 12 credits per full-time semester, excel academically with a 3.5 GPA or greater, and engage actively in campus activities.
PTK Hites Transfer Scholarships
1625 Eastover Drive
Jackson, MS 39211
19. Rebel Achievement Scholarship
At the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Rebel Achievement Scholarship is one of the foremost merit-based, freshmen funds offering $1,800 per year. Interested first-year applicants must intended to enroll full-time (12+ credits), have never attended college, have a minimum high school GPA of 3.2, score above 23 on the ACT or 1200 on the SAT, and put a FAFSA form on file. Funds are renewable for up to 130 credits if a 2.75 GPA or higher is maintained.
Rebel Achievement Scholarship
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
20. Spencer Educational Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: January 31st
At the undergraduate and graduate level, the Spencer Educational Foundation has provided merit-based scholarships since 1979 to nurture careers in risk management. For $5,000, eligible candidates must be enrolled full-time with 12+ hours per term, attain at least junior standing, attend accredited U.S. or Canadian colleges, declare a major or minor in risk management, sustain an impressive GPA of 3.3 or better, and demonstrate relevant business experience.
Spencer Educational Foundation Scholarships
1065 Avenue of the Americas 13th floor
New York, NY 10018
21. Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
Deadline: January 13th
Worth $37,500 each year, the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship is gifted by The Washington Center to honor the late U.S. Ambassador to India and Israel. Qualified juniors and seniors must be United States citizens, pursue accredited bachelor’s programs, show academic achievement with a 3.2 GPA or better, intend to enter graduate school full-time, and work towards foreign service careers. Selected fellows also earn two summer internships and mentoring from an American diplomat.
Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
1333 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
22. Top 10 Percent Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 15th
College For All Texans oversees the Top 10 Percent Scholarship Program annually to support exemplary teens who graduated from Texas public high schools ranked in the top 10 percent of their class. To qualify, candidates must enroll at public two- or four-year colleges in-state, attempt at least 30 semester credits per year, obtain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, and submit an up-to-date FAFSA application. Additional bonuses are given for critical shortage majors like nursing, teaching, and technology.
Top 10 Percent Scholarship Program
1200 E. Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78752
23. TMCF Wells Fargo Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) provides the one-year, merit-based Wells Fargo Scholarship for $7,500 to outstanding academic achievers with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Diverse applicants attending the Fund’s 47 public HBCU members, such as Fayetteville State, Harris-Stowe State, and Prairie View A&M, could apply. Other qualifications include attaining at least sophomore standing, studying full-time with 12+ credits, permanently residing in America, and demonstrating leadership potential.
TMCF Wells Fargo Scholarship
901 F Street NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20004
24. Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: January 13th
Student-athletes who’ve competed on varsity, intercollegiate teams at NCAA member institutions could claim the Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship for $24,000 each year. Qualified awardees must be graduating college seniors, gain admission for accredited, nonprofit master’s or PhD programs, excel academically with a 3.5 GPA or higher, show evidence of superior character, and participate actively in community service efforts. Please submit four endorsement letters, including one from a coach.
Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206
25. West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
The College Foundation of West Virginia administers the merit-based PROMISE Scholarship to award up to $4,750 for outstanding high school seniors entering public or independent in-state institutions like Shepherd, Fairmont State, and Marshall. Interested applicants must have lived in West Virginia for 12 months, complete a 17-credit college-prep curriculum with a minimum “B” average, and score above 22 on the ACT or 1100 on the New SAT.
West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship
1018 Kanawha Blvd. East Suite 700
Charleston, WV 25301
Staying at the top of your class and shaping an impressive transcript can pay off with competitive academic scholarships. The NCES states that undergraduate merit aid has risen by 8 percent since 1996 to provide $4,700 yearly on average. The Southeastern United States has the highest proportion of state-based merit recipients nationwide at 24 percent. From $500 to full tuition, merit programs fulfill funding gaps for students with academic promise who may or may not qualify for need-based awards like the FSEOG Grant. Embrace your inner nerd to pursue some of these profitable merit scholarships where brain power comes first.