7 Colleges That Offer Full Scholarships for a Free Bachelor’s Degree

full ride scholarships

Tuition rates continue to increase across all types of higher-education institutions. Today, the average cost of a four-year private college for an undergrad is a whopping $129,640.

But what if you could cover the entire cost of tuition with a full ride scholarship?

Below you’ll find seven private colleges that award full ride scholarships every year to undergraduate students. Some even cover other college costs like books, room and board, a semester abroad, and summer programs.

What are the requirements for full ride scholarships? Well, they’re typically merit-based. They’re also very competitive, but definitely worth a shot if you’re a strong student. Here are seven to get you started on your search.

U.S. private colleges with full ride scholarships

1. 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 persuasive essay on one of Boston University’s given prompts.

Besides the Trustee Scholarship, Boston University also awards Presidential Scholarships. These merit-based scholarships go to five percent of entering freshmen. They cover $20,000 in tuition every year.

2. 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.

It covers tuition, room, board, books, student fees, and a semester abroad for recipients.  So if you feel committed to a “lifetime of giving,” then this scholarship is for you.

Students who are first in their families to attend college get preference. You’ll also stand out if you’re committed to working in communities of color in the U.S.

Most recipients have at least a 3.3 unweighted grade point average and an 1190 on the SAT.

3. Indiana University, the Wells Scholars Program

Indiana University’s Wells Scholarship tends to go to students in the top five percent of their class. They also have a history of community involvement and leadership.

The program includes full tuition, a summer internship, and four years of mentorship.

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

4. 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.

The application process requires a thoughtful essay. Finalists also interview on-campus at Ohio State University.

5. 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.

The foundation has given over 1,000 scholarships to students across the country. Besides LSU, the Stamps Foundation partners with over 30 other colleges and universities.

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

In addition to a full ride scholarship, the Forty Acres Scholars Program also has a sweet 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 get this great scholarship, you’ll also get a stipend for living, books, and various enriching experiences.

7. 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.

These seven schools are just a few of the ones that offer full ride scholarships to incoming students.

To learn more, check out College Board’s scholarship search engine or other resources around the web. You can also find the requirements for full ride scholarships on college websites themselves.

How to get a full ride scholarship for college

Essentially, 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, high SAT scores, and community involvement.

If you’re a top student, you may have your sights set on a highly selective school, like 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 thousands of dollars in 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 will help pay your tuition.

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