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Governor's Merit Scholarship

What is the Governor's Merit Scholarship?

The Governor's Merit Scholarship (GMS) is designed to incentivize Ohio's top graduating high school seniors to attend a college or university in the state.

The GMS is offered to the top 5% (as determined by the high school) of graduating seniors in each of Ohio’s public and chartered, nonpublic (private) high schools. The GMS is also offered to the top 5% of homeschooled applicants.

What is the award amount?

The Governor's Merit Scholarship provides up to $5,000 in financial assistance to high school seniors who are identified as graduating in the top 5% of their class. The GMS is renewable for up to four years of full-time instruction. The GMS is a scholarship, which means you do NOT need to pay it back. The GMS can be applied to tuition and fees. The scholarship can also cover other educational expenses (such as books, equipment, room and board, and transportation costs) up to your college or university’s published Cost of Attendance.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for the GMS if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a resident of Ohio.
  • You are enrolled in an Ohio public high school or chartered nonpublic high school and determined to be in the top 5% of your class OR you are homeschooled or attend an Ohio dropout recovery high school and are determined to be within the top 5% of similar applicants.
  • You have registered for selective service as required by federal and state law, if applicable.
  • You were a junior on track for graduation (as determined by your high school) at the point of eligibility determination.
  • You graduate from high school on time.
    • Note: Students who face extenuating circumstances may appeal this requirement (e.g.: major illness that delays on-time graduation, etc.).

How do I get more information?

Contact your guidance counselor for more information. You can also email

At what schools may the Governor’s Merit Scholarship be used?

You may use the GMS at any of the following types of schools:

  • Ohio public colleges and universities
  • Ohio private, nonprofit colleges and universities

How do I apply?

If you are attending a public or chartered nonpublic high school, you do NOT need to apply for the Governor's Merit Scholarship. Your school will determine if you fall within the top 5% of your class, and you will be notified (by email or U.S. mail) of the offer of a GMS award.

If you are homeschooled or attending a dropout recovery high school, you may qualify for the GMS by completing a college admissions test (ACT or SAT) and submitting an application to the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) via a secure online application portal ( Homeschooled students will need to upload a letter from the superintendent of your school district excusing you from compulsory attendance. Your family should have received this letter at the beginning of the current school year. The application portal will open for applications in June (between your junior and senior year) and close by the end of August.

  • Note: For the class of 2024, the portal is expected to be open for applications in December and will close on April 30.

Once a GMS award offer is made, the offer remains valid even if you change high schools (provided you continue to meet all eligibility requirements). You must proactively accept the award through the secure online portal ( by April 30 for full consideration. Any awards accepted after April 30 may be reduced. Any awards not accepted by July 1 shall be rescinded.

  • Note: For the class of 2024, homeschooled and dropout recovery high school students may accept awards up to June 1 for full consideration.