Peay Merit Scholarships

The General J.H. Binford Peay III 1962 Merit Scholarships

First presented in 2021, the Peay Merit Scholarships are awarded to those cadets who possess the qualities of character associated with the Institute’s 14th Superintendent, General J.H. Binford Peay III: exceptional leadership, academic achievement, athletic commitment, and demonstrated interest in national service.   

These awards are intended to facilitate the training of exemplary citizens, recognizing and rewarding their excellence as they develop into the military, political, business, and civic leaders of America’s next generation. 

The Peay Merit Scholarships, covering the full cost of tuition, room, board, and fees, are offered at two points:

  1. Prior to matriculation at the Institute (to those preparatory school students whose youth experiences notably reflect the qualities of character that the awards are designed to recognize) and
  2. After the Third or Second Class years (to those cadet leaders who have demonstrated amply those qualities of character throughout their cadetships and who are members of the Institute Honors Program).

Candidates for the scholarship are evaluated in light of four criteria:

  • Academic Achievement: For matriculants, the academic criteria for consideration are identical to those of the VMI Institute Scholarship Program, including a minimum 3.75 high school GPA. For rising 2nd Class or 1st Class cadets, the academic criterion is a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA at the time of nomination/application.
  • Athletic Commitment: For matriculants, evidence of athletic commitment involves consistent and meritorious participation in athletics at the preparatory level. For rising 2nd Class or 1st Class cadets, athletic commitment involves consistent participation in intercollegiate varsity or club Athletics, at the highest levels, while at VMI.
  • Exceptional Leadership: For matriculants, evidence of this quality includes leadership experiences (in scholastic, athletic, service, and/or other endeavors) that clearly are noteworthy and distinguishing, such as documented instances of successful leadership in the face of significant adversity or testament of truly outstanding mentorship and guidance in leadership roles. For rising 2nd Class or 1st Class cadets, evidence of this quality involves uniquely meritorious and noteworthy leadership of cadet peers at VMI (most often as members of the Honor Court, non-commissioned or officers in the Corps of Cadets, but leadership excellence in other domains, such as athletic captains, also may be considered).
  • Commitment to National Service: For matriculants and rising 2nd Class or 1st Class cadets alike, the most evidence of this quality is an unambiguous commitment to commission as an officer in the US Armed Forces upon college graduation. Other demonstrated commitment to national service (such as service in Teach For America or in official support of local, state, or national government) also may be considered.

Term. Peay Merit Scholarships will be awarded on an annual basis for a maximum of four academic years (8 semesters), subject to the recipient’s continued performance at a level consistent with the awarding of the Scholarship. Should the recipient for any reason cease to satisfy the requirements, the Scholarship can be terminated, effective with the next academic year.  Annually during the spring term, the Scholarship Selection Committee will review the record of every existing Peay Merit Scholarship holder, and make a recommendation to the Deputy Superintendent for Academics and the Dean of the Faculty whether the holder should receive the award in the forthcoming academic year. The Scholarship Selection Committee will use a holistic approach in consideration of all initial candidates and the annual performance of scholarship holders, including satisfactory progress towards meeting or exceeding all four criteria.



For consideration, pre-matriculants must complete the online application no later than Feb. 15, 2024


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

Third and Second Class Institute Honors Cadets

For consideration, interested Third and Second Class Institute Honors cadets must complete the online application no later than February 13, 2024.


Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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


VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders