Merit Scholarships in India – A Comprehensive Guide

Merit Scholarships – In the quest for higher education and academic excellence, merit scholarships have emerged as a beacon of hope for countless students in India. These scholarships provide invaluable opportunities for deserving individuals to fulfil their educational aspirations without the burden of financial constraints. 

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Merit scholarships are granted based on a student’s academic achievements, participation in extracurricular activities, leadership skills, athletic performance, or other notable areas of merit. 

These coveted scholarships are offered by colleges, private enterprises, and non-profit organisations. In India, two primary types of merit scholarships are extended to students: government-funded and privately-funded opportunities. 

This comprehensive article aims to provide students with in-depth information about merit scholarships in India, including eligibility criteria, benefits, application processes and more.

Merit Scholarships – Government-Funded Scholarships

Government-funded scholarships encompass national merit scholarships, which can be implemented either by the state or central government. Below is a detailed list of some of the renowned government-funded merit scholarships in India:

INSPIRE Scholarship For Higher Education (SHE)

This merit scholarship falls under the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), a flagship programme initiated by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.

Regarded as one of the most prestigious technology scholarships in the country, it is awarded to deserving students pursuing bachelor’s and master’s courses in Natural and Basic Sciences. Every year, the program grants 10,000 scholarships to needy students, empowering them to excel in their academic pursuits.

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Eligibility Criteria:

  • The applicants must be within the age group of 17-22 years.
  • To qualify, candidates must have achieved aggregate marks within the top 1% of their Class 12 examination from any Central or State board in India.
  • The students must: 
    • be pursuing courses in Natural and Basic Sciences at the B.Sc., B.S., and Int.M.Sc./M.S. level 

OR 

    • have secured ranks within the top 10,000 in JEE of IIT, AIPMT, or NEET 

OR

    • be selected under Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) and pursuing bachelor’s/master’s level courses in Natural Sciences

Benefits: The selected candidates will be awarded a total scholarship of INR 80,000 per year. The beneficiaries will receive INR 60,000 as a cash payment per annum, while an additional INR 20,000 will be granted as a summertime attachment fee to those who undertake a research project during the summer. 

Application Timeline: October-December (tentative)

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Application Process: Students can apply for the INSPIRE Scholarship For Higher Education (SHE) through the official website.

e-Medhabruti Scholarship Scheme 

The e-Medhabruti Scholarship Scheme is extended by the Higher Education Department, Government of Odisha. It is one of the merit scholarships which aims to encourage and motivate talented students from Odisha to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate, technical, and professional studies.

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • The applicants must be permanent residents of Odisha. 
  • The candidates must have an annual family income of less than INR 6 lakh.
  • The students must have secured a minimum of 60% marks in the previous qualifying examinations.

For UG Merit Scholarship – 

  • The students must have passed Class 12 of Council of Higher Secondary Education (CHSE), Odisha or an equivalent exam. 
  • The applicants must have secured 60% or more marks from an institution recognized by CBSE and ICSE.
  • The candidates must be pursuing a regular degree course or a three-year degree course in any of the recognised institutions/colleges/universities.

For PG Merit Scholarship – 

  • The applicants must have passed a three-year degree or equivalent exam. 
  • The candidates must have secured 60% or more marks from a recognised institute.
  • The students must pursue a regular course in the arts, commerce, or science stream or any other non-professional postgraduate course from any recognised colleges/institutions/universities.

For Technical & Professional Merit Scholarships – 

  • The applicants must have passed Class 12 of CSHE, Odisha/CBSE/ICSE, or equivalent exam or three-year degree or equivalent 3-year course (only for master’s course) with 60% or more marks.
  • The candidates must be pursuing regular technical/professional courses in any recognised colleges/institutions/universities.

Benefits:

The selected candidates will be entitled to receive the following benefits: 

Merit Category Number of Scholarship Rate of Scholarship per year (INR) Amount to be paid at a time
UG Merit 5,000 5,000 15,000
PG Merit 3,500 5,000 20,000
Technical and Professional Merit 3,500 for UG courses and 2,500 for PG courses 10,000 As per course duration

 Application Timeline: February (tentative)

Application Process: Candidates can apply for the e-Medhabruti Scholarship Scheme through their official website.

e-Medhabruti Scholarship Scheme Guidelines

NEC Merit Scholarship

The NEC Merit Scholarship is an initiative of the North Eastern Council, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Government of India for students pursuing diploma/degree/postgraduate courses or registered M.Phil./Ph.D. programmes. 

This merit scholarship aims to provide financial assistance to students of the North-Eastern Region to pursue higher education at a recognised Indian institution.

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • The applicants must be permanent residents of one of the North-Eastern states (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura).
  • The candidates must have taken admission in a diploma/degree/postgraduate course or be registered for an M.Phil. or Ph.D. programme.
  • The students must have an annual family income of less than INR 8 lakh from all sources.
  • The candidates must have passed the HSLC/HSSLC/Secondary School Leaving/Senior Secondary Leaving Certificate examination from a recognised State/Central Board with a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate (for diploma courses).
  • The applicants must have passed the HSSLC/Senior Secondary Leaving Certificate examination from a recognized State/Central Board with a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate (for degree courses).
  • The students must have passed a degree-level examination in any discipline (B.A./B.Sc./B.E./B.Tech./M.B.B.S./LLB/BCA/BBA etc.) of any recognised Institute/ University with a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate (for postgraduate courses).
  • The applicants must hold a PG degree from any recognised university with a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate (for M.Phil./Ph.D. programmes).

Benefits: The selected students will receive the following benefits under the NEC Merit Scholarship

  • For diploma level courses – INR 20,000 per annum
  • For degree level courses – INR 22,000 per annum
  • For PG courses – INR 25,000 per annum
  • For M.Phil./Ph.D. programmes – INR 30,000 per annum

Application Timeline: January-December (tentative)

Application Process: Applicants can apply for the scholarship through the National Scholarship Portal.

NEC Merit Scholarship Guidelines

Merit Scholarships – Privately-Funded Scholarships

Privately-funded scholarships consist of diverse merit scholarships offered by corporates, NGOs, trusts, and other organisations. The eligibility for these scholarships may vary, allowing students to avail of them either from a specific state or from all over India, depending on the criteria set by the scholarship providers.

These scholarships aim to recognise and support students who exhibit outstanding academic achievements, extracurricular activities, leadership skills, and other areas of merit. These scholarships are bestowed solely on the basis of merit, regardless of the applicant’s financial circumstances. 

Below, students will find a comprehensive list of privately-funded merit scholarships:

Legrand Empowering Scholarship Program

The Legrand Empowering Scholarship Program is a CSR initiative by Legrand that aims to extend financial assistance to meritorious girl students, differently-abled girl students, and transgender students, enabling them to pursue their higher education. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The scholarship is exclusively available to girl students across India.
  • Applicants must have secured admission in B.Tech./B.E./B.Arch./BBA/B.Com./B.Sc. (Math and Science) degrees in India.
  • Applicants must have completed Class 12 in the year 2022–2023. 
  • Students must have achieved a minimum of 70% or above in both Class 10 and Class 12 examinations. (Note: Exceptions will be given to differently-abled girl students and transgender students)
  • The total annual family income of the applicants from all sources must be below INR 5 lakh.
Note: Preference will be given to students from the *special category.

Benefits: 

The selected candidates will receive the following benefits:

  • 60% of annual course fees up to INR 60,000 per year (whichever is less) till the completion of the course will be provided to girl students based on their academic performance.
  • 80% of annual course fees up to INR 1,00,000 per year (whichever is less) till the completion of the course will be awarded to the *special category students based on academic performance.
  • Job opportunities can also be provided to students from the *special category at the end of their graduation who qualify for all basic job requirements for a particular role.
*Special category: Differently-abled students/transgender students/students with single parents/students who lost their parents due to COVID-19.

Application Timeline: The application deadline for this merit scholarship is August 31, 2023. Interested applicants can apply through the official website of Buddy4Study.

G.P. Birla Scholarship

This merit-cum-means scholarship is an initiative of the G.P. Birla Educational Foundation for meritorious students residing in West Bengal. 

The G.P. Birla Educational Foundation was established by Late Shri G. P. Birla, a renowned industrialist, and philanthropist, to promote education, improve human resources and encourage the youth of the country to pursue education.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The applicants must be residents of West Bengal.
  • The candidates must have passed the Class 12 examination in the respective academic year. 
  • The students must have secured 85% marks or more from WBCHSE (West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education) or 90% or more from ISC/CBSE. 
  • The applicants must be pursuing undergraduate courses in streams such as Science, Commerce, or Arts in one of the following disciplines from any recognised university/institution in India.
    • Engineering
    • Medicine
    • Architecture
    • Law
    • Chartered Accountancy
    • Company Secretary
    • Cost Accountancy
  • The applicants must have an annual family income of less than INR 3 lakh. 

Note –  For extra meritorious students, maximum family income criteria may be relaxed in specific cases at the Trustees’ discretion or need financial help to pursue further studies. 

Benefits: A scholarship of up to INR 50,000 per year will be given to the selected students to cover the tuition and hostel fees. Furthermore, the candidates will receive a one-time payment of INR 7,000 to cover the expenses of purchasing books during their first year of college.

Important Note –  

  • The scholarship is initially granted to students for one year, and its continuation depends on the student’s satisfactory performance in the preceding year, as evaluated by the Trust.
  • This continuation can be extended up to a maximum of 4 years, subject to an annual evaluation and a limit of 4 years for the completion of the course.

Application Timeline – July-August (tentative)

Application Process: Applicants meeting the eligibility requirements can apply by sending the duly filled application form along with the required documents by post to the below address:G.P. Birla Educational Foundation,

78, Syed Amir Ali Avenue, Kolkata – 700019

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Merck India Charitable Trust Scholarship Program

The Merck India Charitable Trust Scholarship Program, initiated by Merck India, strives to provide assistance to underprivileged students aspiring to pursue higher education.

This merit scholarship endeavours to offer sustained financial support, empowering talented individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to build a solid foundation for a promising and secure future. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The scholarship is open to students who have successfully passed Class 10 (SSC) with minimum 80% marks.
  • The candidates must have a family income of less than or equal to INR 20,000 per month.
  • The students must be currently residing and studying in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Bengaluru to be eligible for this merit scholarship.

Benefits: The selected candidates will receive INR 35,000 per annum till graduation under this scholarship programme.

Application Timeline: February (tentative)

Application Process: Eligible applicants fulfilling the eligibility requirements can apply for the scholarship through the official website of Buddy4Study.

Atul Maheshwari Scholarship

The Atul Maheshwari Scholarship, an initiative of the Amar Ujala Foundation, is a merit-cum-means scholarship designed to offer financial aid to disadvantaged candidates studying in government institutions.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The candidates must be studying in Class 9 and 10.
  • The students must have secured more than 60% marks in their last annual examinations.
  • The applicants must have an annual family income of less than INR 1.5 lakh.

Benefits: Up to INR 50,000 (per annum)

Application Timeline: September (tentative)

Application Process: Candidates can apply for the scholarship through the official website of Amar Ujala Foundation.

Also Read: Atul Maheshwari Scholarship 2023 – Know All About It

Merit Scholarships – FAQs

What are merit scholarships?

Merit scholarships refer to financial assistance awarded based on academic, athletic, artistic, leadership, or special-interest merit rather than monetary need.

What is the last date to apply for the Legrand Empowering Scholarship Program?

The last date to apply for the Legrand Empowering Scholarship Program is August 31, 2023. Interested candidates can apply for the scholarship via the official website of Buddy4Study.

How much financial support will be provided under the Merck India Charitable Trust (MICT) Scholarship Program?

Financial support of INR 35,000 per annum till graduation will be provided under this scholarship programme.

What is the selection process for the Atul Maheshwari Scholarship?

The selection process for the Atul Maheshwari Scholarship involves a written examination followed by an interview. Candidates need to qualify for both stages to be selected for the scholarship. For more information related to the scholarship, kindly refer to the above article.

What documents are required to apply for merit scholarships?

While applying for merit scholarships, applicants must prepare certain documents in advance. The most common documents required include a passport-size photograph, a copy of the marksheet from the previous examination, a domicile certificate (if applicable), and identification proof such as an Aadhaar card or ration card.

What expenses are covered under merit scholarships?

Merit scholarships cover expenses such as tuition fees, material fees, on-campus housing, meal plans, student parking permits (if any), and books purchased at the university. However, it is important to note that the student is responsible for additional costs, such as remaining tuition and fees, housing and dining expenses, and non-educational expenditures.

Disclaimer

  1. Source of Information: Buddy4Study app compiles details on scholarships/fellowships from government websites and private scholarship sources. Links to the official sources accompany each listing detail pages.
  2. Non-affiliation: The Buddy4Study app is not associated with any government entity in India or elsewhere. When featuring government scholarships, we rely on publicly accessible information from central and state government websites in India.

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