Great Schools, Great Scholarships

Are you looking for the best possible education while not having to break the bank? While a great education can be had at almost any school (depending on the student), it doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by similarly high-achieving peers and have great resources at your disposal. Following is a list of merit scholarships at many of the country’s top schools, as determined by the U.S. News World & Report’s list of the country’s top national universities and liberal arts colleges. These schools all offer great scholarships that may require a separate application (sometimes not), but the extra work is worth it- many of these scholarships are full rides and some!

Notes on this list: Many of these schools have strong need-based financial aid programs as well, although this list solely focuses on merit-based financial aid programs. As for the order of this, the schools are arranged alphabetically and, for now, the list only includes national universities (liberal arts colleges will be added later).

Finally, the reason schools such as the Ivies, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, etc. do not appear on this list is that they only award need-based aid. In other words, their financial aid programs are so exceptionally strong (due to high endowment) that merit scholarship programs are largely unneeded. Now, for the list…

Merit Scholarships at Top National Universities

The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Auburn University (Auburn, AL)

  • Offers the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship to National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists
  • This program awards full-tuition scholarships to students both in-state and out-of-state, along with several other perks (including a $1,000 technology stipend)
  • Link: The National Scholars Presidential Scholarship

Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)

  • Offers a full-tuition merit scholarship (the Presidential Scholars Program) to 15 students
  • No separate application is required to be considered for the scholarship, although students must apply through the Early Action application process
  • Link: The Presidential Scholars Program

Brandeis College (Waltham, MA)

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)

  • The Carnegie Scholarship is available to incoming freshman who qualify for little to no need-based financial aid
  • Link: The Carnegie Scholarship

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

  • Three separate merit programs offered: the CWRU Dean’s Scholarship, the Satcher-Pamies (merit scholarship for minorities), and the Alumni Scholarship (merit scholarship with a need component)
  • Link: Merit scholarships at Case Western Reserve

College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)

  • Merit programs include the 1693 Scholars Program and the Monroe Scholars Program ($3,000 research stipend, special housing option)
  • For the 1693 Scholars Program, Virginia tuition, fees, room and board annually ($20,224 for 2011-2012) will be covered for in-state residents and Virginia tuition, fees, room and board annually ($20,224 for 2011-2012) for out-of-state residents. Additionally, scholars receive a $5,000 research stipend
  • Link: Merit scholarships at William & Mary

Duke University (Durham, NC)

Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)

  • Several merit programs are offered, the largest and most prestigious of which is the President’s Scholarship
  • The President’s Scholarship is “offered annually to about 50 incredible high-school seniors who have demonstrated superb leadership skills, are among the top few in their class in academic performance, and show promise of continuing such performance” (quote from the below link)
  • Link: Scholarships at Georgia Tech, President’s Scholarship Program 

Kenyon College (Gambier, OH)

  • Merit scholarships range from $15,000 per year to the full cost of tuition
  • Kenyon awards merit aid to about the top 15% of admitted students
  • Scholarships for students talented in art, creative writing, and music are also available
  • Link: Merit Scholarships at Kenyon College

Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)

  • A number of merit scholarship programs are offered, including several specific to the arts (look under “Academic Merit Awards/Scholarships”)
  • Link: Merit scholarships at Lehigh

New York University (New York, NY)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)

University of California- Berkeley

University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign

University of Miami (Miami, Florida)

University of Michigan- Ann Arbor

University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

  • Several full-tuition merit scholarships available to students both in-state and out-of-state.

University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)

  • The University of Rochester offers a wide variety of merit scholarships for all different types of students

USC (University of Southern California) (Los Angeles, CA)

  • USC offers a number of full-tuition, half-tuition, and quarter-tuition merit scholarships

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

  • For UVa’s Jefferson Scholars program, in-state scholars receive $26,000 each year, and out-of-state or international Jefferson Scholars will receive an annual stipend of over $53,000
  • This program creates a network of current scholars and alumni, along with providing a variety of structured enrichment opportunities to scholars
  • Link: The Jefferson Scholar Foundation

Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

  • Full-tuition awards plus summer stipends for study abroad, research or service projects will be awarded to 250 students; other, smaller merit programs are also available
  • Link: Merit scholarships at Vanderbilt

Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)

Other merit aid resources

If you’re still looking for merit aid, check out this interactive chart from The New York Times (a year old, but still very useful) that looks at average merit aid and the percentage of freshmen receiving merit aid.

Note: Please contact us if you see any information that needs to be updated or you can recommend another merit scholarship that we’ve overlooked.  Thanks!

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