Great Schools, Great Merit Scholarships
In addition to need-based financial aid, merit scholarships are one of the best ways to fund your higher education. Below, find a list of merit scholarships at many of the country’s top schools. These schools all offer great scholarships that may require a separate application (sometimes not), but the extra work is worth it- many of these scholarships are full rides and then some!
Many of these schools have strong need-based financial aid programs as well, although this list solely focuses on merit-based financial aid programs. As for the order of this, the schools are arranged alphabetically. Remember, if you are applying for need-based financial aid you will need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.
Finally, the reason schools such as the Ivies, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, etc. do not appear on this list is that they only award need-based aid. In other words, their financial aid programs are so exceptionally strong (due to high endowment) that merit scholarship programs are largely unneeded.
Now, for the list of colleges with great merit based scholarships!
- Alabama offers a wide range of merit programs available to students both in-state and out
- Offers the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship to National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists
- This program awards full-tuition scholarships to students both in-state and out-of-state, along with several other perks (including a $1,000 technology stipend)
- Offers a full-tuition merit scholarship (the Presidential Scholars Program) to 15 students
- No separate application is required to be considered for the scholarship, although students must apply through the Early Action application process
- Six separate programs available, five of which are for incoming freshmen (with one for rising juniors)
- The Carnegie Scholarship is available to incoming freshman who qualify for little to no need-based financial aid
- Three separate merit programs offered: the CWRU Dean’s Scholarship, the Satcher-Pamies (merit scholarship for minorities), and the Alumni Scholarship (merit scholarship with a need component)
- Merit programs include the 1693 Scholars Program and the Monroe Scholars Program ($3,000 research stipend, special housing option)
- For the 1693 Scholars Program, Virginia tuition, fees, room and board annually ($20,224 for 2011-2012) will be covered for in-state residents and Virginia tuition, fees, room and board annually ($20,224 for 2011-2012) for out-of-state residents. Additionally, scholars receive a $5,000 research stipend
- Denison offers over 1000 scholarships to first year students
- Scholarships range from $2,000 to $46,000
- Duke offers 9 merit programs which include full-tuition scholarships
- Check out the Georgetown Incentive Scholarships for need-based aid with a merit component
- Several merit programs are offered, the largest and most prestigious of which is the President’s Scholarship
- The President’s Scholarship is “offered annually to about 50 incredible high-school seniors who have demonstrated superb leadership skills, are among the top few in their class in academic performance, and show promise of continuing such performance” (quote from the below link)
- Grinnell offers several merit scholarship programs which range from $10,000 to $50,000 per year
- Merit scholarships range from $15,000 per year to the full cost of tuition
- Kenyon awards merit aid to about the top 15% of admitted students
- Scholarships for students talented in art, creative writing, and music are also available
- Merit scholarships awarded to approximately 50% of U.S. first-year students
- Macalester (unlike many top schools) also offers merit scholarships to International Students
- Merit awards range from $2,000 to $64,000 over four years
- A number of merit scholarship programs are offered, including several specific to the arts (look under “Academic Merit Awards/Scholarships”)
- NYU offers a mix of merit and need-based programs for students
- Oberlin offers merit scholarships based on academic and also “contributions to the student’s school and home community.”
- The Rensselaer Medal Scholarship is a 4-year, minimum $15,000 per year merit scholarship
- SMU offers merit scholarships up to full tuition & room/board!
- Other scholarships also include awards for students in specific majors (such as Engineering, the arts, and STEM)
- UC-Berkeley offers scholarships based on both need and merit.
- A number of full-tuition merit scholarships are offered, including the Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholarship and the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship
- The University of Michigan offers mostly need-based, but several merit scholarships as well.
- Several full-tuition merit scholarships available to students both in-state and out-of-state.
- The University of Rochester offers a wide variety of merit scholarships for all different types of students
- USC offers a number of full-tuition, half-tuition, and quarter-tuition merit scholarships
- For UVa’s Jefferson Scholars program, in-state scholars receive $26,000 each year, and out-of-state or international Jefferson Scholars will receive an annual stipend of over $53,000
- This program creates a network of current scholars and alumni, along with providing a variety of structured enrichment opportunities to scholars
- Tulane offers some very generous full and partial tuition scholarships
- All students are considered for partial tuition scholarships by simply submitting their application
- There are 130 full tuition scholarships awarded that require a separate scholarship application (that is due on December 5th)
- Link: Merit Scholarships at Tulane University
- Full-tuition awards plus summer stipends for study abroad, research or service projects will be awarded to 250 students; other, smaller merit programs are also available
- WFU has a wide variety of merit programs available to incoming students, including general merit scholarships (such as the Reynolds Scholarships) and scholarships recognizing achievement in art, dance, debate, music and theatre (Presidential Scholarships for Distinguished Achievement)
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers merit scholarships to students ranging from $10,000 per year to $25,000 per year.
- Many colleges will require a supplemental essay as part of a scholarship application. This guide will help you write a powerful scholarship essay!
- If you are not awarded a merit scholarship, you may be able to negotiate merit-based financial aid from the college in question.
- Curious to whether you will qualify for merit-based scholarships? Scattergrams will allow you to compare your SAT or ACT scores, as well as your GPA, in order to see how you stack up against a college’s applicant pool. Every school’s merit scholarship process is different, but you should be towards the top of the applicant pool as far as grades and test scores in order to be competitive.
- Lastly, if you are short on time, there are some fantastic easy scholarships to apply for.
Last updated September 2019