The standard undergraduate four-year college academic year is the fall and spring semesters. The merit scholarship is for eight consecutive fall and spring semesters because that is the standard expectation for completion of your college coursework and degree. We have found that to be the most efficient and effective way for students to complete their program of study. Often, when students are away from their coursework for a semester they find it difficult to return or they struggle when they do return. Among other challenges, being away for a semester can put you out of sequence for some of your coursework, which can increase the amount of time it takes you to complete your program.