7 Full-Ride Scholarships That Cover Tuition and More

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We’ve all heard the scary statistics about student loan debt. Altogether, Americans owe almost $1.48 trillion in student loans. In the Class of 2017, the average graduate owes $39,400.

These high stats aren’t surprising, what with the cost of a private college averaging $32,410 per year. But what if you could reduce that number to $0 with a full-tuition scholarship?

While competitive, there are full-tuition scholarships that cover the cost of attendance at your college of choice. Read on for seven full-tuition scholarships, plus some tips on how to win one.

7 full-tuition scholarships that could save you thousands

1. Gates Millennium Scholars program

The Gates Millennium Scholars program covers unmet financial need for African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students. You need to have a GPA of at least 3.3, along with a commitment to service and leadership.

To win the Gates Millennium Scholarship, your school needs to nominate you. You also need to answer several essay questions. If you think you could qualify, speak to a teacher, counselor, or your principal about next steps.

2. Intel Science Search

The Intel Science Search is a national contest for aspiring scientists and mathematicians. Before winning scholarship money, you must participate in a long-term research project.

Projects could be in computer science, environmental science, engineering, or biochemistry, among other fields. The Intel Foundation awards one winner with $75,000 and other finalists with scholarships of varying amounts.

3. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship

This merit-based scholarship goes to high-achieving students with financial need.

The selection process is similar to the college admissions process. The scholarship committee looks at your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, essays, and recommendation letters. Winners get up to $40,000 each year for tuition, books, room, board, and other fees.

4. Microsoft scholarships

Microsoft awards a variety of scholarships, some of which cover the full cost of tuition. To qualify, you must plan to study computer science, science, technology, engineering, or math. Winners have a strong academic and extracurricular background, along with demonstrated financial need.

5. SMART: Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation

This scholarship goes to aspiring STEM students who are interested in a career in national defense. Winners are expected to do a summer internship and work for a period as a Department of Defense civilian.

The scholarship comes in the form of a cash stipend of $25,000 to $38,000 per year, depending on what degree you’re pursuing, and includes health insurance.

6. USDA 1890 National Scholars Program

The United States Department of Scholarship offers this full-tuition scholarship to students planning to attend one of the 1890 historically black land-grant universities, like Alabama A&M University or Tennessee State University.

Winners have a record of leadership, plus they plan to study food, agriculture, natural resource science, or a related discipline. USDA scholars get summer jobs and potential employment with the USDA after graduation.

7. Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway

The requirements for a $100,000 Dr. Pepper scholarship are unique. First, you need to post your goal to change the world on Facebook. If you get 50 likes, then you make a short video. A committee reviews all the videos, and winners receive prizes anywhere from $2,500 to $100,000 for tuition.

How to get a full-tuition scholarship

The scholarships on this list are rare finds. They come from private organizations, and you can use most of them at any university.

So, how can you get a full-tuition scholarship from one of these private organizations? Most are merit-based and require a strong academic and extracurricular background.

If you’re applying, you need to start early to put together the strongest application you can. Produce thoughtful essays, and connect with your recommenders to get outstanding references.

These national, full-tuition scholarships are extremely competitive. You can’t rely on them as your financial plan, but they’re definitely worth a shot. At the same time, you should also apply to smaller scholarships to help with tuition costs.

By planning for college costs, you can avoid taking on too much student loan debt. For more on scholarships, learn about popular scholarship myths that could be holding you back.

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. 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 understand what you are buying, and consult 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. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.