Automatic merit scholarships available until May 1

Bemidji State University’s Merit Scholarship Program allows high school students to automatically qualify for scholarships totaling as much as $16,000 over four years.

“This is a strong, merit-based program,” said Mike Heitkamp, BSU’s associate vice president for admissions and enrollment. “The beauty of this for students is that it is a non-competitive program — these are automatic awards based on a student’s performance in high school.”

Any student who applies to Bemidji State University before May 1, 2014, and who meets minimum qualifications will be guaranteed to receive at least $1,000 from the Merit Scholarship Program. Minimum automatic qualifying guidelines are an ACT score of 21 or above and a high school class ranking in the top 50 percent or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Students must meet both criteria to qualify for the program.

The Merit Scholarship Program has five levels, and includes scholarships ranging from a one-time, non-renewable $1,000 award to a $10,000 total award over four years. Those levels are:
• Presidential: $10,000 over four years
• Campus Honor: $6,000 over three years
• Academic Achievement: $3,000 over three years
• University: $2,000 over two years
• Student Success: $1,000

Awards in the Merit Scholarship Program are stackable, and students can qualify in as many as two different categories. The highest two categories for which the student qualifies will be used. For example, students who graduate No. 1 or No. 2 in their class and have an ACT score of 28 or above are guaranteed to receive $16,000 in scholarships through the program — $10,000 over four years for qualifying at the Presidential Scholarship level, plus an additional $6,000 over three years for qualifying at the Campus Honor level.

With the May 1 application deadline, students who have already taken the ACT will have an opportunity to re-take the test in April and make another attempt to qualify for the program.

In 2013, just over 40 percent of BSU’s incoming freshman class automatically qualified for an award in the Merit Scholarship Program, with those students receiving more than $600,000 in financial assistance for their BSU educations.

Robert Strand, scholarship coordinator and admissions representative; (877) 236-4354; (218) 755-2176

BSU Merit Scholarship Program