Merit scholarships are awarded to a limited number of incoming students who have demonstrated the highest level of academic achievement and will continue this success at Oxy.
Please note that all students who indicate wanting to be considered for merit aid when applying to Occidental are automatically reviewed for merit scholarships. There is not a separate application process.
Students who would like to be considered for merit scholarships should select Yes within the prompt "Would you like to be considered for merit aid at Occidental" within the Common or Coalition App. Merit scholarships are awarded at the time of admission and are final.
Academic merit scholarships are determined and awarded to students separate from any need-based aid they may receive. Students not applying for need-based aid do not need to complete a FAFSA or CSS profile. Learn more about how the financial aid process works.
Our merit scholarships fall into two categories: general merit scholarships and specialized merit scholarships.
General Merit Scholarships
Honors Scholarships are awarded in the amount of $10,000 per year and are renewable for three additional years for a total of up to $40,000.
Community Impact Scholarships are awarded in the amount of $15,000 per year and are renewable for three additional years for a total of up to $60,000.
President’s Scholarships are awarded in the amount of $20,000 per year and are renewable for three additional years for a total of up to $80,000.
Margaret Bundy Scott Scholarships are awarded in the amount of $30,000 per year and are renewable for three additional years for a total of up to $120,000.
Specialized Merit Scholarships
Centennial Scholarships can be awarded to one student from each of the following Los Angeles high schools: Eagle Rock Senior, Benjamin Franklin, James A. Garfield, and Theodore Roosevelt. This scholarship is awarded to students with outstanding academic records who demonstrate a strong commitment to their community. The scholarship covers tuition, required fees, a double room, and Meal Plan B. The scholarship is renewable for three additional years provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress. Centennial Scholars must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for this award. If the student chooses to live off-campus, this scholarship will only cover tuition and required fees.
The Edgerton-Occidental Merit Scholarship was established in 2020 by Louise and Bradford Edgerton, the heads of the Edgerton Foundation, as a way for talented middle-class students, who otherwise could not afford a private liberal arts college, to be able to choose the school that best fits their needs and aspirations without tuition being the deciding factor. Louise Edgerton served ten years on the Occidental Board of Trustees and was involved in board conversations regarding the shrinking population of middle-class students on liberal arts campuses across the nation. The Edgerton-Occidental Merit Scholarship is awarded annually in the amount of $40,000 to outstanding entering students who reside in California. Under this program, students selected as Edgerton-Occidental Merit Scholars are able to keep their prestigious scholarships—as long as they maintain a record of good standing—for each year of their Occidental education (for a total of up to $160,000).
Occidental National Merit Scholarships are awarded to honor scholastically talented high school students through an annual competition. To be considered for the award, students must have taken the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in their junior year of high school. Awards range from $500 to $2,000 per year. The scholarship is renewable for three additional years provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress. National Merit Scholars must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for this award.
Merit Scholarship Policies:
- Renewal of our merit scholarships requires recipients to be making satisfactory academic progress defined as:
- Enrollment in at least six units at Occidental College (at least 12 units for the Centennial Scholarship and Occidental National Merit Scholarship)
- A cumulative GPA of 2.00 for the Honors Scholarship, the Edgerton-Occidental Merit Scholarship and the Occidental National Merit Scholarship
- A cumulative GPA of 3.00 for the Community Impact and President’s Scholarships
- A cumulative GPA of 3.25 for the Margaret Bundy Scott Scholarship
- Recipients that fall below the required cumulative GPA for their scholarship will be given a one-year probation period in order to meet the GPA to regain eligibility. If the required cumulative GPA for their scholarship is not attained at the end of the one-year probation period, no further extensions are granted.
- Merit scholarships are pro-rated if you do not attend for the entire academic year or are enrolled less than full-time (12 units). Recipients must be enrolled in at least 6 units to receive a pro-rated scholarship.
- Merit scholarships for transfer students are pro-rated based upon the transfer student’s grade level and number of financial aid semesters offered determined at the time of admission.
- For information on merit scholarships that were available and awarded in prior years, please see the Financial Aid Policy Guide for the year that it was awarded.