10 Full-Ride Scholarships to U.S. Universities


Colleges and universities in the U.S. are notorious for some of the highest tuition prices in the world, especially at private universities. Students can receive financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) alongside their college application, but based on the family’s income level and/or a school’s ability to give, this financial aid may not cover the full amount of tuition. However, there is another opportunity available for students to earn a tuition-free undergraduate education: full-ride merit-based scholarships.


Whether the scholarships come directly from the school or a third-party organization, these scholarships reward the highest-achieving high school students, and some only consider students with specific interests, such as those who want to study public service or STEM subjects.


Here are 10 full-ride scholarships to U.S. universities that are available during the 2021-2022 application cycle.


1. Gates Scholarship


The Gates Scholarship is a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship for outstanding minority, high school seniors from low-income households. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to 300 of these student leaders, with the intent of helping them realize their maximum potential. Scholars will receive funding for the full cost of attendance that is not already covered by other financial aid and the expected family contribution, as determined by the FAFSA. It can be used at any college or university.


Opens: July 15, 2021

Deadline: September 15, 2021


2. National Merit Scholarships


High School students in the U.S. enter the National Merit® Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) at the specified time in the high school program, usually as sophomores and juniors. Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. There are different score cutoffs for each state. All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments and are given to a group of about 7,600 students.


Check with your school counselor about PSAT/NMSQT® testing dates. Taking this test is the only way to enter the program.


3. Stamps Scholars


Sponsored by the Strive Foundation, the Stamps Scholars earn multi-year scholarships that enable extraordinary educational experiences. Scholars receive annual awards that range from $5,400 to $75,000 (four-year awards total an average of $21,600-$300,000) with additional funds for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training.


A student must apply directly to one or more of its partner schools to be considered for the Stamps Scholarship. The opening date and deadline for the scholarship depend on the school to which the student is applying.


4. Monk Family Scholarship – University of Southern California


The Monk Family Scholarship supports USC undergraduates on full-tuition, four-year scholarships with additional $5,000 living stipends per year. The Mork Family Scholars Program was announced in 2011 when USC received $110 million – the single largest gift in the university’s history for undergraduate scholarships.


Application is open to incoming freshmen through the USC Office of Admission, and scholarships are awarded to approximately 10 students each year.


Opens: August 1, 2021

Deadline: December 1, 2021


5. JP Morgan’s Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Program


If you’re an ambitious, analytical New York City high school student who is ready to get a head start on a career in financial services, then Smart Start is the program for you. In addition to receiving a full four-year scholarship to the university of your choice, you’ll have the opportunity to work a paid internship at JP Morgan and receive career-progression resources in the financial industry.


This program is available in multiple countries. Opening date and deadline are TBA and vary from country to country.


6. Robert W. Woodruff Scholarship — Emory University


The Robert W. Woodruff Scholarship, named for the renowned businessman and philanthropist who headed The Coca-Cola Company for many years and gave generously to Emory University, is the founding and signature scholarship of the Emory Scholars Program. It is awarded each year and is renewable for up to a total of eight regular academic semesters (fall and spring) of undergraduate study at Emory College of Arts and Sciences. The scholarship includes full tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board.


Opens: August 1, 2021

Deadline: November 15, 2021


7. Sotomayor Full-Tuition Public Service Scholarship — Tulane University


Named in honor of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, this scholarship is awarded to a student that has demonstrated high academic achievement and a commitment to public service. This is a four-year, full-tuition merit scholarship awarded to one student per year.


Opens: August 1, 2021

Deadline: November 15, 2021


8. Ingram Scholarship — Vanderbilt University


The Ingram Scholars Program challenges students to create and implement substantial service projects in the community. The program supports students who demonstrate a willingness and ability to combine a successful business or professional career with a lifelong commitment to finding solutions to critical problems facing modern society. Ingram Scholars receive full-tuition support each year plus a stipend for a special summer service project.


Opens: August 1, 2021

Deadline: December 1, 2021


9. John B. Ervin Scholars Program — Washington University in St. Louis


The John B. Ervin Scholars Program honors the memory of a nationally renowned educator and community leader who believed in giving students a first-rate education. Awards are based on academic achievement, leadership, service, and diversity. The Ervin Scholars Program is only open to U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented or DACA students living in the U.S.⁠


Opens: August 1, 2021

Deadline: January 2, 2021


10. Undergraduate Theater Scholarship — Case Western Reserve University


Case Western Reserve University has made merit-based scholarships available for prospective theater students. Each year, the Department of Theater awards four full-tuition scholarships to students who intend on majoring in theater, and two $10,000 scholarships to students who intend on minoring in theater, or those interested in pursuing theater as an extracurricular activity at CWRU.


To compete for one of these scholarships, the prospective student must apply to the university by the traditional route, make an appointment to audition and/or present a portfolio with CWRU Theater Faculty, and complete a CWRU Theater Scholarship Application form.


Opens: August 1, 2021

Deadline: January 15, 2021


If you’re looking for help editing your scholarship application or general guidance during the college admissions process, don’t hesitate to set up a free consultation today.