14 Colleges With Full Ride Scholarships

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

full ride scholarships
Logo

We’ve got your back! Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less

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.

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
1.24% – 11.98%1Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

1.25% – 11.15%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

1.12% – 12.37%3Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

1.24% – 11.44%4Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit Earnest

1.77% – 11.89%5Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.69% – 12.98%6Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Ascent

3.52% – 9.50%7Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Information advertised valid as of 9/24/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.


2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  2. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  3. Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate and graduate loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.250% as of October 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
  4. Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for the Discover Private Consolidation Loan and include an Auto Debit Reward. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.250% as of October 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
     
  2. Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

    Available Terms
    For Cosigned loans – 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years. 
    Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

    In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).


5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

sofiDisclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.83% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.87% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.83% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.77% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.98% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.94% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 11.26% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.87% to 11.16% 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 10/02/2020. 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 Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

  1. Competitive variable rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval based on a margin plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 0.152%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes. Rates are effective as of 10/01/2020 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount. Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month.(See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
    1. Undergraduate Loans: Your variable interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 2.69% and 12.98%. Fixed rate loans will not increase or decrease over the life of the loan and have an APR range between 3.53% and 14.50%. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate. The following table shows a 48 month in-school period plus 9 months of grace prior to a full repayment term of either: 60-months (lowest fixed/variable rate), 144-months (highest fixed rate) or 180-months (highest variable rate) with examples of (i) Interest Only payments, (ii) $25 Minimum payments, and (iii) Deferred repayment options.(See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
    2. Graduate Loans (Graduate, MBA & Law): Your variable interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 3.65% and 12.40%. Fixed rate loans will not increase or decrease over the life of the loan and have an APR range between 4.56% and 13.42%. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25%. The following table shows a 36 month in-school period plus 9 months of grace prior to a full repayment term of either: 84-months (lowest fixed/variable rate), 144-months (highest fixed rate), or 180-months (highest variable rate) with examples of (i) Interest Only payments, (ii) $25 Minimum payments, and (iii) Deferred repayment options. (See Graduate Loan repayment examples.)
    3. Medical: Your variable interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 3.67% and 12.42%. Fixed rate loans will not increase or decrease over the life of the loan and have an APR range between 4.57% and 13.44%. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25%. The following table shows a 48 month in-school period plus 36 months of grace prior to a full repayment term of either: 84-months (lowest fixed/variable rate), 144-months (highest fixed rate), or 240-months (highest variable rate) with examples of (i) Interest Only payments, (ii) $25 Minimum payments, and (iii) Deferred repayment options. (See Medical Loan repayment examples.)
  2. Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.
  3. Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. There are three (3) flexible in-school repayment options that include fully deferred, interest only and $25 minimum repayment. (See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
  4. Flexible repayment plans may be offered up to a fifteen (15) year repayment term for a variable rate loan and ten (10) year repayment term for a fixed rate loan. Students must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Minimum loan amount is $2,000.
  5. Interest rate reduction of either 0.25% (for Credit-Based Loans) or 2.00% (for Undergraduate Future Income-Based Loans) applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner sign up for automatic payments and the payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. The amount of the discount is dependent upon the loan product and credit history of the borrower at the time of application. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of in-school, deferment, grace or forbearance, unless a regular payment amount has been arranged with the servicer. If you have two (2) consecutive returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments to receive the interest rate reduction.(See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
  6. All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.
  7. Eligibility, loan amount and other loan terms are dependent on several factors, which may include: loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Aggregate loan limits may apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution.
  8. The legal age for entering into contracts is eighteen (18) years of age in every state except Alabama where it is nineteen (19) years old, Nebraska where it is nineteen (19) years old (only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico where it is twenty-one (21) years old.
  9. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. In order to be eligible for the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward, borrower must meet the following criteria after graduation:
    • The student borrower has graduated from the degree program that the loan was used to fund.
    • The student borrower may change majors and/or transfer to a different school, but must obtain the same level of degree (e.g. – undergraduate or graduate)
    • The graduation date is more than 90 days and less than five (5) years after the date of the loan’s first disbursement.
    • Any loan that the student has borrowed under the Ascent loan is not more than 30-days delinquent or in a default status as of the graduation date and until any Graduation Reward is paid.
  10. Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

* Application times vary depending on the applicant’s ability to supply the necessary information for submission.


7 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. 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 0.17% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.


Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.