Top Full Ride Scholarships
For most students, full ride scholarships are a dream come true!
A “full ride” represents one of the easiest ways to graduate from college debt-free and without paying for college out of pocket. While winning a full ride scholarship is difficult, we want to put you in the best position to be in the running. Below, you will learn everything you need to know about finding and winning a full ride scholarship!
What is a full ride scholarship?
A full ride scholarship refers to a comprehensive scholarship that covers tuition, room, board, expenses for books and other fees, and oftentimes money for expenses such as a laptop. Some even include bonus money that will help fund a research or study abroad experience over the summer.
Some colleges and universities may also award full ride scholarship recipients other benefits including the opportunity to be part of an honors program or preferential residence hall selection.
So, how do I win one?
There are actually a few different ways you can win a full ride scholarship to a college:
- Private full ride scholarships
- Apply to a college that awards a full ride
- Hack a full ride
Private full ride scholarship
While many private scholarships will award between $1,000 and $10,000 to students, some will cover full tuition, room, and board to students. The great thing about these private scholarships is that they are not generally tied to a specific college or university so you have more flexibility! Both the Questbridge Scholarship and the Cameron Impact Scholarship are worth checking out if you are a high school student. Like college-specific full ride awards, these private scholarships are highly competitive.
Apply to a college that awards a full ride
Last, but not least, the simplest way to win a full ride scholarship is to apply to colleges that offer full ride scholarships. These colleges will offer comprehensive scholarships that include full tuition room, board, and potentially more. Remember that full ride scholarships are extremely competitive at any college and only a small percentage of students will be selected.
What scholarships pay full tuition?
Below you will find a list of some of the top colleges and universities that offer full ride scholarships for students.
We are constantly updating this list, so check back for more colleges and universities. In order to be as complete as possible, we have also included some colleges that offer full tuition scholarships (as these scholarships may be combined with need-based financial aid to cover the complete cost of attendance).
- Auburn University (Auburn, AL) offers the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship to National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists, which award full-tuition scholarships to both in-state and out-f-state students.
- Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA) offers the Presidential Scholars Program is a full-tuition merit scholarship to 15 students
- Duke University (Durham, NC) offers nine merit programs which include full-tuition scholarships
- Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) offers merit scholarships up to full tuition & room/board!
- University of Miami (Miami, Florida) offers full-tuition merit scholarships including the Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholarship and the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship
- University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill offers several full-tuition merit scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state students.
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) offers a number of full-tuition scholarships to incoming freshman.
- University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA) offers the Jefferson Scholars program, which offers in-state scholars $26,000 each year, and out-of-state and international students over $53,000 per year.
- Tulane University (New Orleans, LA) offers over 130 full tuition scholarships awarded that require a separate scholarship application (that is due on December 5th).
- Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) offers full-tuition awards plus summer stipends for study abroad, research or service projects to 250 students.
- Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC) offers several full ride scholarship opportunities to prospective students including the Reynolds Scholarship.
Hack your full ride
The goal of a full ride scholarship is to pay for your entire cost of attendance at a college. To accomplish this, you do not need all of your scholarship money to come from one place. You can cobble together a college-specific merit scholarship, some need-based financial aid, as well as an outside private scholarship to cover the cost of attendance. Smart students may wind up receiving a full (or nearly full) scholarship to college without initially realizing it. This is why we always encourage students to develop a broad scholarship strategy including need-based financial aid, private scholarships, and college-specific scholarships.
Frequently asked questions about full ride scholarships
What is the difference between a full ride and a full tuition scholarship?
The biggest difference between a full ride and a full tuition scholarship is that a full ride usually includes the full cost of college attendance. This includes room, board, additional fees, and sometimes money for a laptop, books, or study abroad. A full tuition scholarship only includes the cost of tuition. This is why it is a good idea to apply for need-based financial aid and outside scholarships. Additional scholarship funds will help you pay for the costs of college beyond tuition.
What GPA do you need for a full ride scholarship?
This is tricky to answer, because GPA is not the only factor that the scholarship committee will be considering. So while a strong set of grades will help your case, the scholarship committee will likely be assessing your test scores, essays, activities, and leadership. Chances are the college or organization awarding the scholarship will have a set of criteria. For instance, this webpage outlines the specific attributes that UNC is looking for in Morehead-Cain Scholars.