14 Colleges With Full Ride Scholarships

 July 20, 2020
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While full-ride scholarships are the unicorns of the scholarship world, they’re not impossible to get. In fact, there are a number of colleges with full-ride scholarships for high-achieving students.

As for the requirements of full-ride scholarships, they are typically merit-based. Needless to say, they’re very competitive, but definitely worth a shot if you’re a strong student.

Here are 14 to check out as you search for money for college, along with ways to get a full-ride scholarship for college.

U.S. colleges with full ride scholarships

If you get accepted to any of the colleges on this list, you could have a shot at a scholarship that covers your full tuition costs:

1. American University
2. Boston College
3. Boston University
4. Duke University
5. Indiana University
6. Northeastern University
7. Louisiana State University
8. Ohio State University
9. University of Alabama
10. University of Richmond
11. University of Southern California
12. University of Texas at Austin
13. University of Virginia
14. Vanderbilt University

1. American University, the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program

American University awards students for their academic excellence and commitment to solving social problems through their Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars program.

This full-ride scholarship covers tuition, room, board, books and student fees. Students who are first in their families to attend college get preference. Most recipients have at least a 3.8 unweighted grade point average.

2. Boston College, Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program

Boston College’s Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program provides a full-ride scholarship, as well as fully-funded summer programs to 15 new freshmen each year. There’s no separate application for this award; Boston College chooses recipients based on their college application.

It looks for students with high academic achievement, a record of leadership and interest in community service. To remain in the program all four years, students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.5.

3. Boston University, Trustee Scholars Program

Boston University awards the prestigious Trustee Scholarship to about 20 students each year.

To qualify, you need to have a record of academic and extracurricular achievements. You’ll also write a 600-word essay on one of Boston University’s given prompts.

Besides the Trustee Scholarship, Boston University also awards Presidential Scholarships. They cover $25,000 in tuition every year.

4. Duke University, Robertson Scholars Leadership Program

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program provides a select few Duke University students with four years of full tuition and room and board. It also funds summer experiences, conference tickets and two semesters of study abroad.

The application for the Robertson Scholars program opens on August 15 every year, and semi-finalists are invited for Skype interviews. Both entering freshmen and current Duke students are invited to apply.

5. Indiana University, the Wells Scholars Program

Indiana University’s Wells Scholarship tends to go to students in the top 5% of their class who have a history of community involvement and leadership.

The program includes full tuition, support for a summer internship, research project or other enriching experience and academic and career mentoring.

To get this full ride scholarship, your school needs to nominate you. So if you’re interested, talk to your school counselor about submitting a nomination.

6. Northeastern University, Torch Scholars Program

Northeastern joins the list of colleges with full-ride scholarships, but its Torch Scholars Program is uniquely designed for first-generation students who have persevered through difficult situations or unfavorable environments and have shown leadership in their communities. While about 500 students pursue the Torch Scholarship each year, just 10 are selected.

These winners receive a full-ride scholarship, along with a summer immersion program, academic planning, peer and professional mentoring and various social events. To be considered for a Torch scholarship, you must be nominated by a guidance counselor, teacher, mentor or other adult.

7. Louisiana State University, Stamps Scholarship

The Stamps Scholarship covers the cost of attendance at Louisiana State University (LSU) for four years. Beyond tuition, it offers up to $14,000 for supplemental learning experiences.

LSU is able to give this scholarship because of its partnership with the Stamps Foundation. Besides LSU, the Stamps Foundation partners with over 40 other colleges and universities.

8. Ohio State University, Eminence Scholarship and Program

Students with academic distinction, a sense of social responsibility and a desire to solve societal problems can apply to become Eminence Fellows. Ohio State awards this full-ride scholarship to students who have demonstrated leadership and scholarship both inside and outside the classroom.

9. University of Alabama, Academic Elite Scholarship

The University of Alabama will award eight Academic Elite Scholarships in the 2020-21 year. This full-ride scholarship doesn’t just cover tuition, but also provides a yearly stipend to cover living expenses and supplies.

Seven winners will receive a stipend of $8,500 per year, while the top student will receive $8,500 their first year and $18,500 each year after that. They’ll also win $5,000 for study abroad. Plus, all winners will receive $500 per year to use on books.

To be eligible for this award, a student must first be accepted into the University of Alabama’s University Fellows Experience, which requires a separate application. If they are, a guidance counselor, teacher or other high school representative can then nominate them for an Academic Elite Scholarship.

10. University of Richmond, Richmond Scholars Program

The Richmond Scholars Program is a full-ride scholarship that you don’t have to apply for. The University of Richmond automatically considers all applicants for the scholarship and awards students with leadership skills, a desire to serve society, or exceptional artistic talent.

In addition to tuition, the program grants you a $3,000 stipend for the activity of your choice. Richmond Scholars also get special tickets for cultural events and priority course registration.

11. University of Southern California, Trustee Scholarship

All students who apply to the University of Southern California will be considered for its full-tuition scholarship, the Trustee Scholarship. The number of awards varies each year, and scholarship finalists are required to interview. Among the selection criteria for this full-ride scholarship are academic excellence, leadership and community service.

12. University of Texas at Austin, Forty Acres Scholars Program

In addition to a full-ride scholarship, the Forty Acres Scholars Program also has a strong community component. Recipients learn and grow with their Forty Acres community throughout their four years at University of Texas, Austin.

Qualifying candidates have a strong academic record and show leadership potential. And if you win this scholarship, you’ll also get a stipend for living, books and various enriching experiences.

13. University of Virginia, Jefferson Scholarship

Students who win the Jefferson Scholarship can enjoy fully-funded tuition, along with supplemental enrichment experiences. But winning this scholarship isn’t easy — it involves a rigorous selection process.

First, students must be nominated by their school. Then, they must make it through one or two rounds of interviews before heading to the UVA campus for the Jefferson Scholars Selection weekend. Once there, they’ll participate in seminars led by professors, a written exercise, a math and logic exam and another personal interview.

At the end of the weekend, a committee will select the winners. In the 2018-19 year, 38 students were selected to be Jefferson Scholars from more than 2,000 nominees.

14. Vanderbilt University, Ingram Scholars Program, Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship, Chancellor’s Scholarship

Vanderbilt University offers not one but three full-ride scholarships to incoming students. All three require a separate application in addition to the Vanderbilt admissions application.

About 250 scholarship winners receive fully-funded tuition and a stipend for summer study abroad, research or service projects. Plus, students with financial need will receive additional funding.

Winners are selected based on such qualities as leadership, academic achievement, civic-minded service and strength of character.

How to get a full-ride scholarship for college

Generally, private colleges award most full-ride scholarships to students at the top of their class. Therefore, scholarship committees are looking for students with excellent grades, a record of leadership and community involvement.

If you’re a top student, you may have your sights set on an Ivy League school, such as Harvard or Princeton. However, it may be in your best interest to consider another college where you could get a full-ride scholarship.

You’ll still get an outstanding education, and you could be part of a motivated, inspiring community. Rather than choosing the most highly ranked school, consider striking a different balance. You could find a school that offers both a top-notch education and scholarship money.

In the end, you could save money on student loans. And, once you graduate, you’ll be able to hit the ground running, debt-free.

Where else can you find scholarship money? Check out these 10 wacky and unusual scholarships that could help pay your tuition.

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1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

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College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

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Ascent loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs.

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5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

Sofi Disclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.66% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.12% to 11.23% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.90% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.10% to 11.34% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.08% to 10.86% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.05% to 11.29% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 10.66% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.20% to 11.23% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 4/1/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (>www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).


6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

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Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.15% – 11.01% (1.15% – 10.24 APR)Fixed interest rates range from 4.18% – 11.70% (4.18% – 10.83% APR).

Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 10.66% (1.89% – 10.41% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.64% – 11.23%% (4.64% – 10.95% APR).

Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 9.22% (1.89% – 8.50% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.38% – 10.44% (4.38% – 9.72% APR).

Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 8.02% (1.89% – 7.72% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.28% – 9.24% (4.28% – 8.94% APR).

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Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of June 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.09%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 

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Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank participating school.

Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.

Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.


7 Important Disclosures for Funding U.

Funding U Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are made by Funding University which is a for-profit enterprise. Funding University is not affiliated with the school you are attending or any other learning institution. None of the information contained in Funding University’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding University or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.


8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.  If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.