Last year my D received a small merit award in March. I believe it was the “Classic City” award or “Classic”… it was $1500-$2000. Her friend received the same. I believe it was used to attract high stat students. (We were full pay.) So it is possible you could hear about merit later. I believe David Graves states this on the blog… that awards are issued through March/April.
ETA: We are GA residents so my D already had free tuition through Hope/Zell. This merit was in addition to that.