Office of Financial Aid
MUHLENBERG MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS
In an effort to recognize and reward outstanding academic achievement, Muhlenberg College has established a variety of Merit Scholarships. These Merit awards range in value form $1,000 to $18,000 and are renewable for all four years at Muhlenberg based on academic performance (2.5 GPA by end of freshmen year, 3.0 GPA by the end of the sophomore year) and good campus citizenship.
Although some of the students who receive Muhlenberg merit awards demonstrate financial need, merit awards at Muhlenberg are offered solely on the basis of academic and extracurricular achievement in high school and promise for excellent scholarship and extra curricular contribution on the college level.
HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR A MERIT AWARD?
All students who file a complete application for freshman admission are considered for merit awards. In recent years, in an applicant pool that numbers nearly 5,000, between 800 and 900 students typically demonstrate the qualifications to receive serious consideration for a merit award. After a preliminary screening of all applications, these especially well qualified students move into a "second round" of very serious consideration and evaluation.
In a typical year, Muhlenberg will ultimately offer over 500 merit awards-some as part of a need based financial aid package, some to students who either have not applied for financial aid or who have not demonstrated financial need. Approximately 180 new students enroll at Muhlenberg each year with some kind of merit award from the College.
In recent years, students receiving merit award from Muhlenberg typically have ranked in the top 10% of their high school classes, taken a very strong junior and seniors course schedule, earned over 1250 combined on the SAT-I, (combined critical Reading and Math score) and made outstanding extracurricular contributions to their school or community. While Muhlenberg does not require that the SAT or ACT be submitted for admission, students wishing to be considered for merit awards or honors program must submit SAT or ACT scores.
Because of the strength of our applicant pool, the competition for Muhlenberg Merit Scholarships is clearly quite rigorous. Strong numbers, by themselves, do not insure a merit award. Muhlenberg's merit selection process is aimed at considering the whole human being within the context of strong academic achievement. For that reason, extracurricular accomplishments, the strength of the college essay, and teacher and counselor recommendations are weighed heavily in making distinctions between and among strong merit candidates. Demonstrated interest in Muhlenberg is also a factor in merit selections-and a campus interview is the best way to demonstrate serious interest, as well as give an admissions officer the opportunity to get to know you well enough to act as an advocate for you in the merit selection process.
TYPES OF MERIT AWARDS
Muhlenberg Presidential Scholarship-Value: $10,000-$18,000. Awarded for outstanding academic and extracurricular accomplishment, and potential for excellent contributions to both the classroom and campus community at Muhlenberg.
Commitment to Excellence Award-Value: $2,500-$9,000. Awarded for outstanding academic and extracurricular accomplishment, and potential for excellent contributions to both the classroom and campus community at Muhlenberg. Preference given for extracurricular leadership and/or community service.
Talent Grant-Value: $1,000-$4,000. Awarded on the basis of audition or portfolio to students in performing arts or visual arts who intend to continue performing during college (not necessary to major in Music, Theater Arts, Dance or Art; simply must contribute to performing groups at the College while at Muhlenberg).
In addition to Merit Scholarships, Muhlenberg offers two Honors Programs which provide for an enriched academic experience. Each program carries an annual $4,000 stipend, and students can be selected for both a Merit Scholarship and an Honors experience and stipend. The programs are described below:
The Muhlenberg Scholars Program-$4,000 annual stipend. Limited to approximately 15 students per entering class. The Muhlenberg Scholars Program provides a four-year enriched experience emphasizing small seminar style classes, research and independent study opportunities with a faculty mentor, and an active learning style. Students are invited to participate in the program based on a review of completed admissions applications. In addition to the automatic $4,000 per year stipend, Muhlenberg Scholars are also eligible for both need based and merit assistance (and student selected as Muhlenberg Scholars who show financial need receive "preferential" aid packages - that is, packages that are weighted toward grant as opposed to loan). Participation in the Muhlenberg Scholar Program provides an enriched academic experience and does not preclude a major in any area.
The Dana Associates Program-$4,000 annual stipend. Limited to approximately 30 students per entering class, The Dana Associates Program also includes an internship experience, a mentor ship component, and an emphasis on linking the liberal arts with "real world" situations. Students are invited to apply for this program via a special application that is sent in late January to likely candidates based on a preliminary review of the admissions application. As with the Muhlenberg Scholar Program, Dana Associates are eligible for additional need based or merit assistance (and need based financial aid packages are also "preferential" for this group in that they are weighted toward grant as opposed to loan). Participation in The Dana Associates Program provides an enriched academic experience and does not preclude a major in any area.
R.J. Fellows Program-$4,000 annual stipend. Limited to approximately 15 students per entering class, the R.J. Fellows Program provides a four-year enriched experience emphasizing small seminar style classes, research and independent study opportunities with a faculty mentor, and an active learning style. Students are invited to paticipate in the program based upon a review of completed admissions applications. R.J. Fellows are eligible for additional merit or need-based financial assistance (and need-based packages are “preferential” for this group in that they are weighted toward grant as opposed to loan). Participation in the R.J. Fellows Program provides an enriched academic experience and does not preclude a major in any area.
A FINAL WORD
There are many talented students across the country who now see their range of college options limited by cost and affordability issues. We at Muhlenberg believe strongly in the power of the small, selective, private college experience to transform lives and provide truly inspirational learning opportunities. We want to encourage strong students to include Muhlenberg in that group of colleges that will receive their serious consideration.
In that sense, Muhlenberg's Merit Scholarships and Honors Programs represent a very special invitation to talented students. They represent an opportunity to enter into a special relationship with Muhlenberg where excellence will be recognized and rewarded.
Beyond Muhlenberg's merit and honors opportunities, the College offers significant amounts of need based financial aid (over $29-million in institutional grants and scholarships last year). If you have questions about any of these programs or need additional information, please don't hesitate to be in touch with the Office of Admissions.