What are Full Ride Scholarships

Posted by

Table of Contents

Understanding Full Ride Scholarships

The term “full ride scholarship” gets used by a lot of people most of the time, but so many of these people don’t know what it entails. To help clear things up, we’ll explain and give details on everything about full ride scholarships.

What is a full ride scholarship?

This is the first question that pops up in most people’s minds. What is a full ride scholarship?

A full ride scholarship is an award that covers all expenses related with education. This includes tuition, books, fees, room and board, and possibly even living costs. The goal of this type of scholarship is to remove any need for additional financial aid.

The Different Types of Full Ride Scholarships

Anyone can be eligible for a full ride scholarship, but this depends on their background, skills and expertise. Most students earn this scholarship because of their academic history, athletic prowess, leadership or merit. Although the other types of scholarships can be offered by schools for different reasons, and they can be offered by the school, state or federal government or by private organizations.

The following are the different reasons that a student cannot be offered scholarships

  •  Prestige

    These scholarships are offered to students that have demonstrated excellence in leadership, service or other areas. Most of the time, students that show great promise are offered full ride scholarships.
  • Athletic

    Any students that show athletic prowess can earn full ride scholarships to some Division I or II schools. You should take into account that full ride athletic scholarships are only offered to football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis and gymnastics.
  • State-Sponsored

    Some state programs will cover the cost of college for students. These vary state by state and are often only usable at specific public universities.
  • Government

    The government  also offers full ride scholarships to some students. Some common full ride scholarships offered by the government are for ROTC students, or students studying at a military academy.
  • Merit-Based

    This is one of the most common types of full ride scholarships. Merit-based scholarships are reserved for students that have shown and proven academic excellence. This is usually determined through GPA, SAT scores, ACT scores or a combination of the three.
  • Financial need-based

    Students from lower income homes can be eligible for full ride scholarships at some schools. There are also private full ride scholarships that use prestige or merit and financial need to determine recipients.
  • Additional Options

    There are full ride scholarships offered for a number of other reasons. Some scholarships require a specific heritage, and others can be legacy based. Most times incoming college freshman can be eligible for some type of full ride scholarship.

Schools that offer full-ride scholarships

Not all schools offer full ride scholarships. Also, because some full ride scholarships come from different areas, students could end up studying at any institution without having to worry about the cost of education. Later on we’ll list the schools that offer full ride scholarships.

The difference between full-ride and full-tuition scholarships

Full tuition scholarships usually cover the cost of education only, which includes tuition, book fees and other education fees. However, these scholarships likely don’t offer help with room and board, living costs or travel costs.

The Hope for Transfer Students on earning full-ride scholarships

Transfer students can earn full ride scholarships, even if they’re transferring from a community or two-year college. Each school have their own process for transfer students having the chance to obtain a full ride scholarship, so it’s best to check in with your school of choice.

Difficulty Level of getting a Full Ride Scholarship

Less than 1 percent of students get full ride scholarships. This shows just how difficult it is to earn one. However, with the right background and knowledge, proper planning and by knowing where to look, your chances of landing a full ride scholarship can increase.

5 Expert Tips for Winning Full Ride Scholarships

Finding a full ride scholarship without any help can be really difficult. Fortunately, there are experts who have plenty of experience connecting students to the right scholarship opportunities. Here are some tips from Veronica Schofield, who is an academic success coach:

1. Look at your heritage

Some full ride scholarships don’t require academic or athletic success. Your heritage or any other affiliation can earn you a private full ride scholarships that are accepted at any accredited institution.

2. All athletics can count

While Division I sports only offer full ride scholarships to 6 sports, private organizations also offer full ride scholarships for athletics.

3. Keep applying!

Each application is a chance to practice, and the more you apply to, the stronger your applications will become. You should never stop applying even when you are rejected.

4. Be creative

Many students are eligible for full ride scholarships — they just haven’t found the right scholarship to apply to yet. So be creative and apply to different schools.

5. Always apply

If you think you have a chance at earning a full ride scholarship, then apply. So this is us saying again – apply!

15 Full Ride Scholarships to Help Pay for College

If you’ve been following through up till now, you’ll notice we’ve covered what full ride scholarships are and how to find them. So now is the time to let you know what some of the full ride scholarships available are, here are some specific examples.

Schools that Offer Full Ride Scholarships on Merit

Merit can mean different things, but generally a merit-based full ride scholarship requires excellence in academics, leadership or service. Some schools recognize merit by offering full ride and full tuition scholarships.

1. Boston University: Trustee Scholarship

  • Deadline: Early December

Available to students with exceptional academic credentials, most of the Trustee Scholarship recipients have a perfect 4.0 GPA in high school. Students who earn this scholarship also demonstrate creativity, experience and achievement. This scholarship is offered to about 20 students each year and is renewable for four years.

2. Loyola Marymount University: Trustee Scholarship

  • Deadline: Early February

Available to all incoming freshmen, the trustee scholarship is offered to ten students over four years. Included in the scholarship is full tuition and room and board. This scholarship is awarded based off academic scholarship.

3. Texas Christian University: Chancellor’s Scholars Program

  • Deadline: Early December

Along with being offered a full tuition scholarship, Chancellor’s Scholars are invited to special retreats, luncheons and dinners, social activities and more. There are no minimum requirements, but students who earn this scholarship generally have SAT and ACT scores of 2150 and 33, respectively.

4. Vanderbilt University: Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship

  • Deadline: Early December

Named after the founder of the school, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship offers full tuition as well as a one-summer stipend for immersion, such as studying abroad. This is awarded to students who show a combination of academic and leadership achievement.

5. Wake Forest University: Nancy Susan Reynolds Scholarship

  • Deadline: Mid-November

The Nancy Susan Reynolds Scholarship covers tuition and room and board, as well as offering $3,400 annually for personal expenses. This award is offered to students that take the hardest courses available and have among the best GPA and/or test scores in the nation. Each year, up to five recipients are selected.

6. Washington University in St. Louis: John B. Ervin Scholars Program

  • Deadline: Early January

The John B. Ervin Scholars Program combines intellectual, leadership and service achievement with Washington University’s commitment to diversity. This scholarship offers full-tuition as well as a $2,500 stipend, and it is renewable each year.

Schools that Offer Full Ride Scholarships on Financial Need

With the rising costs of college, financial need-based full ride scholarships are becoming more common. Some schools, like Harvard and Yale, even offer full ride scholarships to all students from low income households. For other schools, here are some financial need-based full-ride scholarships:

7. Agnes Scott College: Goizueta Foundation Scholarship

  • Deadline: Mid-January

Focused primarily toward Hispanic/Latina women who demonstrate significant financial need, the Goizueta Foundation Scholarship has a four-year value of $208,000 – more than enough to cover tuition, room and board. Preference is also given to students that show academic and/or leadership achievement.

8. Davidson University: Charles Scholarship

  • Deadline: Early January

Covering everything from tuition to personal expenses, the Charles Scholarship is awarded to up to three students each year. These are available to academically excellent graduates of Chicago public schools who demonstrate significant financial need.

9. Soka University: Soka Opportunity Scholarship

  • Deadline: Late March

Covering up to the cost of tuition, the Soka Opportunity Scholarship covers any additional costs of education after other grants and scholarships are taken into consideration. This scholarship is for students whose families make less than $60,000 per year and have never gone to college.

10. University of Miami: George W. Jenkins Scholarship

  • Deadline: Early December

Awarded to students that have overcome adversity to succeed, the George W. Jenkins Scholarship places an emphasis on financial need. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board, health insurance, a meal plan and a laptop stipend, as well as the potential for additional stipends for books, transportation and personal expenses.

11. University of Rochester: Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship

  • Deadline: Early December

Students that have shown academic excellence and strong character are considered ideal candidates for the Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship. Given to students with financial need, this scholarship covers all costs of college, down to travel and personal expenses.

12. Private Full Ride Scholarships and Awards

  • Deadline: Late November

Full ride scholarships are available privately as well. These scholarships often require students to study in a specific state or specific school and may require students to study in a specific field.

13. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Gates Millennium Scholars Program

  • Deadline: Late November

Students who want to study in computer science, education, engineering, math, public science or health are eligible for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. A 3.3 minimum GPA is required, and applicants must be diverse. This award covers all costs of tuition, including graduate school.

14. Flinn Foundation: Flinn Scholarship Program

  • Deadline: Late October

Students that plan to attend a public university in Arizona are eligible for the Flinn Scholarship. The program covers tuition and room and board, as well as any study abroad experiences students are interested in. Students must be Arizona residents – beyond that, all students are welcome to apply.

15. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: College Scholarship Program

  • Deadline: Late

While the scholarship varies from student to student, the goal of the College Scholarship Program is to cover most or all the cost of education. All applicants must have a 3.5 GPA or higher, and family income must be lower than $95,000.

Other College Costs to Consider

A scholarship may be called a “full ride,” but that doesn’t always mean that every expense will be covered. Below are other costs you should consider when you get a full-ride scholarship:

1. Books and supplies

Book costs and studying supplies can add up quickly. You may be required to get a dozen books a year, or even a new computer for studying and writing.

2. Room and board

Your scholarship might pay for all, some or none of your room and board. In some areas (like New York or California), the cost of living can be incredibly high, meaning you’ll need to add this into your budget.

3. Personal expenses

As a student, you’ll need money for personal expenses, like buying new clothes or going to the movies. Full-ride scholarships rarely cover these expenses.

4. Travel Costs

A lot of students leave their home city and state to pursue an education. Visiting their families for the holidays or during the summer means travelling and paying for plane tickets. This is not usually covered up by full-ride scholarships.


Being a beneficiary of a full ride scholarships can be wonderful. It makes you focus your resources on other meaningful projects you may want to embark.

Share and Help us Reach out to Other Students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *