Full-Tuition Academic Scholarships

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 What if you could go to college for free? Can you imagine graduating with an undergraduate degree from a top-ranked university and have no debt? What if you don’t qualify for financial aid, but still aren’t sure how you’ll pay for the exorbitant costs of college? Did you know that many top ranked colleges offer full-tuition academic scholarships and even full-ride scholarships for undergraduate students? Here are more than 19 full-scholarships available at universities ranked in the top 30 universities nationally. 

Gothic style building with tower

What is a full-tuition scholarship?

I know attending college for free sounds crazy, but I also know first-hand that it’s possible. I attended a top 10 ranked university on a full-tuition scholarship and three of my family members have received full-tuition scholarships and one received a full-ride scholarship. If we can do it, you can, too. 

Attending a top-ranked college for free and graduating debt-free can be a reality with just a little research. These merit-based scholarships are offered by universities looking to attract top students by covering the cost of tuition.  Many of these scholarships also cover room and board, a stipend for books and technology and even foreign travel opportunities.

Do your research now because many of these scholarships require you to apply as early as November, so these are not last-minute Hail Mary opportunities. They are extremely competitive and you need to plan extra time to complete the applications. The prize is a full-ride at one of the top-ranked universities in the country, so it’s definitely worth the effort it takes. 

Full Tuition Academic Scholarships

The colleges are listed in alphabetical order. 

Boston CollegeGabelli Presidential Scholars 

Gabelli Presidential Scholars receive a merit scholarship that covers full tuition, regardless of financial need. If the merit award does not meet the student’s total financial aid requirements, scholars will receive additional grant and aid resources sufficient to meet the full need. The cost of summer programs is covered by a separate award. They also receive fully-funded travel to Europe, South America and an 8-week overseas cultural immersion program. 

University of CaliforniaStamps Leadership Scholars

Each year, up to ten freshmen, five California residents and five domestic non-residents, will receive a four-year scholarship. The scholarship covers University of California tuition and fees for California residents and tuition and fees, plus the non-resident tuition fees for non-residents.  In addition, Stamps Leadership scholars may apply to for an Enrichment Fund of up to $12,000. The funds may be used to cover the expense of a study abroad program, undergraduate research, unpaid internships or attendance at professional conferences.

Duke University – Robertson Scholars

Eighteen students are selected each year at Duke University (with a corresponding 18 student selected at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for the joint scholarship program). Scholars receive a four-year scholarship that covers undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, room and board. Additionally, the scholarship covers three summers of domestic and international experiences. Students are provided unique access to both Duke and UNC-Chapel Hills academic and extracurricular opportunities. 

Emory UniversityRobert W. Woodruff Scholarships

Scholars receive full tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board. Scholars are  eligible to apply for financial support from the Scholars Program for various substantial summer experience opportunities.

University of North Carolina Chapel HillRobertson Scholars 

Eighteen students are selected each year at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (with a corresponding 18 student selected at Duke University for the joint scholarship program). Scholars receive a four-year scholarship that covers undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, room and board. Additionally, the scholarship covers three summers of domestic and international experiences. Students are provided unique access to both Duke and UNC-Chapel Hills academic and extracurricular opportunities. 

University of Notre Dame – Stamps Leadership Scholars   

Each year, five students are selected as Stamps Notre Dame Scholars. They receive full tuition and fees for up to four years of undergraduate study.  Stamps Scholars also receive $3,000 a year enrichment fund.

University of Southern California 

Presidential and Trustee Scholarships  

A full-tuition scholarship awarded to approximately 100 students each year.

Stamps Leadership Scholarship  

The Stamps Leadership Scholarship is awarded to approximately 5 students per year. It is a full-tuition scholarship that also provides access to a $20,000 enrichment fund for study abroad, unpaid internships, summer research and other opportunities. 

Mork Family Scholarship

Open to incoming freshman students, the Mork Family Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship and a $5,000 per year stipend. It is awarded to approximately 10 students each year. 

Vanderbilt University

Ingram Scholarship 

Ingram Scholars receive full-tuition each year plus stipends to cover the cost of special summer service projects. Additionally, needs-based financial aid will be given to Ingram Scholars who demonstrate financial need that exceeds the amount of the tuition grant.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholars receive full tuition, plus a one-time stipend to be used towards a summer study abroad or research experience. Additionally, needs-based financial aid will be given to Ingram Scholars who demonstrate financial need that exceeds the amount of the tuition grant.

Chancellor’s Scholars  

Chancellor’s Scholars receive full tuition, plus a one-time stipend to be used towards a summer study abroad or research experience. Additionally, needs-based financial aid will be given to Ingram Scholars who demonstrate financial need that exceeds the amount of the tuition grant.

University of Virginia – Jefferson Scholar 

The Jefferson Scholars scholarship covers the entire cost of attendance for four years at the University of Virginia, with additional funds to cover supplemental enrichment experiences.

Wake Forest University

Nancy Susan Reynolds Scholars  – 

The Nancy Susan Reynolds scholarship covers all expenses associated with attending Wake Forest plus a stipend.

Stamps Leadership Scholars

The Stamps Leadership Scholars scholarship is awarded to five entering students each year. The scholarship covers the full cost of attending Wake Forest plus enrichment funds to be used for study abroad, unpaid internships or attending academic or co-curricular conferences.

Washington University in St. Louis

John B. Irvin Scholars 

The John B. Irvin Scholarship program awards multiple full-tuition scholarships plus a $2,500 stipend.

Anika Rodriguez Scholars 

The Anika Rodriguez Scholarship program awards multiple full-tuition scholarships plus a $2,500 stipend.

Danforth Scholars

Danforth Scholars may receive full- or partial-tuition scholarships.

In addition to the full-tuition academic scholarships available at public and private universities, there are numerous full and partial scholarships available through military service academies and military Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs. 

Military Academies 

Provide full-tuition, room and board, plus a monthly stipend.

Military ROTC Scholarships 

A military ROTC scholarship allows you to attend a private or public university (that participates in the ROTC program) for free. 

  • Air Force Scholarship –    Scholarships cover tuition and most lab fees. Additionally, there’s an annual textbook allowance and up to a $500 spending cash monthly stipend. A variety of full and partial scholarships are available,
  • Army ROTC Scholarship – Two, three and four year full-tuition scholarships with monthly stipends for books and fees and a monthly living allowance. 
  • Navy and Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship – A full-tuition scholarship that also covers mandatory fees. Stipend for text books and required uniforms. Month subsistence allowance. 
gothic tower at old university building

You can attend a top-ranked college and graduate debt-free. Really. Look into these full-tuition academic scholarships today. 

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8 Comments

  1. They sure are nice if you can get one. My daughter interviewed for the Jefferson Scholarship but didn’t get it. I’m encouraging her to study abroad, because for “out of staters” like we are, the price actually goes down! Great to know that there is help at the top schools. And if you don’t get one of these, I always tell kids that you can get a great education anywhere that you are willing to go and work hard:)

    1. I agree 100%, Seana, what you get from your education is much more attributable to what you put into it than the address where you attend. These are very competitive scholarships, some might say ridiculously competitive. I just wish that I’d had this list before my two daughters had begun applying to colleges. We might have targeted different schools than we did. It’s interesting to learn that the cost goes down for you if your daughter studies abroad (sounds like a blog post). šŸ™‚

  2. I am sure many families find this very helpful! I wish I would have known about more scholarships when I started college… it would be so nice to have less student loans.

    1. Student loans are a burden that’s tough to anticipate when you’re 18. Now you’ve got a comprehensive list for your little ones’ colleges, Andrea.

  3. I really wish I would have seen this when my daughter was choosing her school. I am sorry we didn’t search for great information like this a little bit more than we did. She now has student debt, not much, but a little.

    1. We didn’t have this information with “baby” #1 or #2. Luckily we’re informed now for when #3 starts looking at colleges.

  4. I sure wish I would have had this info when my daughter was thinking about collage. She actually decided to put collage on hold because of the cost. šŸ™ I’ll let he know about this list.

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