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The MERF scholarship program awards are based solely on essays written by the applicants. There is no requirement for applicants to be members of Mensa, nor is any consideration given to grades, academic programs, or financial need.
This program is also unusual in that even though it is a national program, it is managed totally at the local Mensa group level. Only those living in the geographical area of Permian Basin Mensa can participate in the Permian Basin Mensa contest. If a local group chooses not to participate, no one living in that group's area can compete for an award.
Students enter by sending a pre-addressed, stamped envelope to the local scholarship chair, who puts an application form in the envelope and sends it back. The deadline for this first step is December 18.
Students then have until January 15 to write an essay of not more than 550 words explaining what their academic and vocational goals are and how they plan to achieve those goals. The essays are sent to the local scholarship chair.
Winners are notified by mail and given instructions for claiming their award. They are required to submit proof of registration for school the following year as well as proof of U.S. citizenship. After said proof is received, the checks are written and students are given a bit of financial aid to pursue their education.
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