The Best Institutional Merit Scholarship Resource

Published by Wendy Nelson on

Are you familiar with the term “Institutional Merit Scholarship”?  These are the merit scholarships offered directly by colleges to attract the best and brightest, and/or most talented students by offering them what are essentially tuition discounts.

While there are institutional merit scholarships that range up to full tuition and full rides for 4 years, as found on my Full Scholarship List, these are not the most common institutional merit scholarships.

The most common institutional merit scholarships range from around $500 up to around $25,000 per year.

But how do you find these easily?

That was the question I set out to answer.

I was frustrated with long searches, going from college website to college website to see what schools offered the best scholarships.

I tried using sites like Fastweb and and only found a handful of institutional merit scholarships mixed in with tons of private scholarships.

I knew I could create something better.  My goal was to create a site with only institutional merit scholarships listed,  from schools all over the U.S., and make it easy to sort and filter to narrow down to just the types of scholarships your student might qualify for.

Last fall I hired a website programmer and started work on this project.  It was an enormous undertaking, both in getting the site designed well and in collecting the data. It took longer than I ever imagined.

After 9 months of work, I am finally ready to launch!

Merit Scholarship List Logo

It is a subscription-based website where you can sign up for a 1-month or 1-year membership to get access to search for institutional merit scholarships and save search results for further reference.

You also get access to exclusive content that is only available to subscribers including my tutorial “5 Steps for Getting Great Institutional Merit Scholarships” and my exclusive interactive college search spreadsheet designed to work with the Merit Scholarship List fields to track your colleges and potential merit scholarships all the way through the college search process.

You can search for institutional merit scholarships several different ways on

  • By School Name
  • By Scholarship Type (automatic, competitive, national merit/national achievement, talent)
  • By State (or combine State and Type for a smaller list)
  • By Scholarship Amount
  • By Minimum Required ACT score, SAT score and/or GPA
  • Find all scholarships open to International Students

After you search, you can also filter down your search results further to narrow in on the scholarships your student may be eligible for. is designed to save you time searching for institutional merit scholarships and help you find great scholarships you had no idea were available for your student.  I hope you will try it out and agree that it is the best institutional merit scholarship resource available!



Pam Allison · September 6, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Are there scholarships available to students who have scored a 22 on their ACT? My daughter is a SR this year and she’s in the top ten in her class but can’t seem to score at least a 24 on the ACT. She’s taking it again on Sept 17th so we are hoping this time she nails it. We were just wondering is there any scholarships available for someone dealing with this same issue? The first time she took it she scored a 21 the second time a 22 now she will take it again this weekend hopefully it keeps going up!!!!

    Wendy Nelson · September 10, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Hi Pam,

    There are many scholarships that don’t require a specific ACT or SAT score. These look at all of the student’s qualifications including GPA, leadership experience, extra-curricular activities and more. Don’t be discouraged by her ACT score. She may still be able to win great merit scholarships. I know many kids who were near the top of the class, but couldn’t nail the ACT test. They were still able to get great scholarships – both local private scholarships and merit scholarships offered by their colleges. Good luck to her on next weekend’s ACT test, but she shouldn’t stress out if she doesn’t score higher.

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