Merit scholarships are based on school and Scouting participation, and community service. These awards cover the $2,000 and $4,000 Bailey scholarships, the $2,500 Robert and Rebecca Palmer scholarships, and the $5,000 Hall/McElwain merit scholarships. Each BSA region reviews applications and awards a varying number of these scholarships to local Scouts.
NESA merit scholarship applicants must be Eagle Scouts graduating high school or undergraduate college students no farther than completion of the junior year. Recipients may receive the scholarship one time only.
About 10,000 NESA scholarship applications are received annually, and fewer than 100 are awarded, so the competition is stiff. Plans are being formulated to greatly increase the amount of funds available to award NESA Eagle Scout scholarships throughout future years.