Institute Scholars

High school students with a strong academic and well-balanced high school record may be eligible to become Institute Scholars.

Since its founding in 1839, Virginia Military Institute has recognized and rewarded outstanding academic achievement. Today, approximately 120 cadets attend the Institute on full and partial academic scholarships awarded in recognition of their accomplishments.

If you are an academically talented and intellectually curious student with a well-balanced high school record that includes leadership roles and a broad spectrum of extracurricular activities, you may be eligible to join this elite group of scholar-cadets.

The Award

Institute Merit Scholars receive awards from $5,000 to the full cost of tuition and room and board per academic year. In some cases, the total award package may include other forms of financial aid, such as ROTC, athletic, or other scholarships.

A select group of applicants in each entering class are awarded The General J. H. Binford Peay III 1962 Merit Scholarships, which cover the full cost of tuition, room, board, and fees.

All Institute Merit Scholars are automatically enrolled in the Institute Honors Program.

Eligibility and Selection

To qualify, candidates must present a high school GPA of at least 3.75 and evidence of achievement in a rigorous high school academic program, demonstrated by AP/IB, dual enrollment, or other advanced coursework.  And a combined SAT score of 1350 (combined critical reading & math) or an ACT score of 31. Please note that while standardized test scores for admission to VMI remain optional, they are required for consideration for the Institute Scholarship Program.

The Institute Merit Scholarship Selection Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis and will invite selected outstanding applicants to participate in a personal interview with the committee. Due to the number and caliber of applications we receive, not all candidates who meet the minimum criteria will be invited for an interview. 

Selection is entirely merit based. The prospect for academic excellence within VMI’s unique institutional context is paramount. Financial need is not a consideration.

Awards are typically announced by 15 April each year.


The Institute Merit Scholarship is renewable annually, for a maximum of eight regular academic semesters, for cadets who meet the requirements of the Institute Honors Program: a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, active participation in the Honors Forum and elective program activities each semester, completion of two Honors Seminars, and the completion of an honors thesis during the first class year.


For consideration, complete the online application no later than February 15, 2024


For the 2024-2025 admissions cycle, interview invitations will be issued beginning in late September 2023 and concluding by March 5, 2024.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you have any questions, contact COL Robert McDonald, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at


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