The LEAD Scholarship offers a one time financial award of varying amounts to students of African Descent in their senior year of high school. The number of awards distributed and award amount varies each year. Scholarship awards can vary and can reach a maximum of up to $5,000 USD. Actual scholarship amounts are based upon fundraising totals for the year. Immediate family members of LEAD members or Merck Employees are NOT eligible due to the non-profit charitable, 501c3 status of the LEAD Scholarship Foundation, Inc.


  • Must be a legal resident of the United States
  • African American student completing senior year of high school (students currently attending college/university are ineligible)
  • Must plan to attend an accredited 2 (community college) or 4 year college or university
  • Provide evidence of scholarly achievement and extensive community service
  • GPA of B or higher
  • Strong communication skills both written, oral and in an interview settings
  • Demonstrate financial need (candidates are required to share FAFSA and supporting information during application process)
  • Open to all fields of study


Scholarship application submission period: JANUARY 15 – APRIL 15 of each calendar year!

Applications submitted outside of this period will not be processed.

  1. The Scholarship Selection Committee reviews all applications and nominates the top candidates for interviews.
  2. Selected candidates are interviewed (in-person or by phone) with the scholarship selection committee.
  3. Final candidates are selected.
  4. Scholarship recipients are honored and required to attend the annual Scholarship Foundation Awards Banquet.
  5. Scholarship funds are disbursed after the scholarship recipients provide to the Foundation proof of satisfactory academic progress in the college freshman year.

Note:  All applications must submitted by 11:59 p.m. on April 15. (While we will accept applications submitted via postal mail, email or submission via our website is the preferred mechanism.)