Full Ride Scholarships

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A full-ride scholarship is an award that covers the entire cost of attending college. Cost of attendance (COA) is tuition, room and board, text books, fees, meals and other things. For example, some full ride scholarships also pay for a laptop. Funds for personal expenses and stipend for enrichment are common too.

Where can you get a full ride scholarship? There are different sources that award full ride scholarships. The federal government, colleges, and private sources to list a few. As you might expect, they are very competitive, and many students’ dream.

What is the Difference between a Full Ride and Full Tuition?

Many use full ride and full tuition to mean the same thing but this isn’t always so.

In a full tuition scholarship that is what the award pays for. Your tuition. In other words, it may not cover your full COA. You’ll still likely need to pay room and board, textbooks, travel, laptop etc.

For example of a full tuition scholarship is the Posse Scholars Program. It is open to high school students who show academic potential. They also are leaders in their high schools and communities. Posse Scholars receive full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities. Specifically, Babson College, Cornell University, Villanova and many others.

In contrast, a full ride usually spans the entire cost of college. From the big-ticket items like tuition and housing. To the smaller but still costly items like books, meal plan and school-oriented travel.

One example of a full ride scholarship is the University of Virginia Jefferson Scholars Foundation. This award covers the entire COA for four years at the University. Tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, and personal expenses. It also pays for extra enrichment experiences.

or instance, the University of Oregon offers the Stamps Leadership Scholarship. It pays UO tuition, room and board plus up to $12,000 in enrichment funds for their four years at the university. The extra money may cover study abroad and unpaid internships.

How do you get a full ride scholarship?

Each scholarship details varies depending on who awards it. But many share criteria and look for high achievers. Like merit-based scholarships, they often go to very talented and motivated students.

Here are five things that many full ride scholarships use for eligibility:

  1. Test Scores – You may need specific scores on the PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT tests
  2. Skills and Interests – Many schools want to see that a candidate does more than get great grades. Things like leadership, initiative and volunteer experience may matter
  3. Letters of recommendation – A boss, teacher, mentor may need to write a reference letter to shed light on your personality
  4. Personal essay – You may need to write a stand-out personal essay. One that goes into details about your goals and interests
  5. Grades – Good grades is important to maintain in order to receive a scholarship.

What GPA do you need to get a full scholarship?

The GPA you need to get a full ride scholarship varies. Some schools may either want a certain GPA (E.g. 3.5 or higher) or a particular class rank (E.g. top 5% or 10% in your class). You usually need to maintain the specified GPA while in a scholarship program to keep it going.


To know want a full scholarship is worth today, let’s look at the average cost of attending college. Full scholarships are available at a wide range of colleges and universities. Some cost more than others to attend.

In addition, the average cost of pursuing an undergraduate degree at a public institution is $16,757 per year. It costs $43,065 at private nonprofit institutions. Private for-profit institutions cost $23,776. These prices reflect tuition, fees, room, and board.

A typical bachelor’s degree takes four years. So, a full-ride scholarship at these schools may be worth averages of $67,028 (public), $172,260 (private nonprofit) and $95,104 (private for profit). Of course, if it is a full ride, it may provide funds for other expenses too.

What percentage of students get a full ride scholarship?

Full ride scholarships are rare. About 19.9 million students enrolled in one of the nation’s colleges and universities last year. Recent figures also show that only 0.2 percent of students got $25,000 or more in scholarships per year.

That said, if you are trying to get the most money for college, you may want to start with federal aid. Filling out a FAFSA is the first step. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an official form. Its purpose is to ask for federal, state and school help in paying for college.

If you get a scholarship, the financial aid office can subtract that amount from your COA. Other financial aid you are eligible for may cover any amount left over. This isn’t technically a full ride, but an option to think about. One that may make one of your dream schools within reach.


Check out our list of full ride scholarships below. We have 4,335 awards worth $40M.

Miami Dade College American Dream Scholarship

U.S. students who are residents of Miami-Dade County (FL) and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher are eligible for this award. Students must file the FAFSA and meet minimum course placement scores.

Total: $7093

Awards: 3692

Deadline: August 20, 2020

FIU Presidential Scholarship

This scholarship is open to first-time entering freshmen at Florida International University. Students must have a grade point average of 4.0 or higher, and an ACT score of 30 or higher or an SAT score of 2000 or higher.

Total: $27108

Awards: 50

Deadline: October 15, 2020

FIU National Recognition Scholarship Program

This scholarship is open to first-time entering freshmen at Florida International University. Students must have a grade point average of 4.0 or higher, an ACT score of 30 or higher or an SAT score of 2000 or higher, and be National Merit/Achievement/Hispanic finalists.

Total: $27108

Awards: 214

Deadline: October 15, 2020

Stamp’s President’s Scholars Program

Georgia Tech established the Stamps President’s Scholarship in 1981. Also known as the President’s Scholarship Program it is a four-year, full-ride scholarship. Each year, the university awards these scholarships to recipients from the top one percent of first-year students. It bases decisions on holistic excellence and potential with the program’s four pillars. Scholarship, Leadership, Progress, and Service. A Stamps President’s Scholarship (SPS) includes all tuition and fees. Also, meals and housing, funds for personal expenses and books. An extra $12,000 over four years is also provided toward enrichment activities. This means things like international academically oriented travel and unpaid research or internships. Plus, you’ll recieve an eight-day outdoor leadership trip your first year. SPSs also receive a $1,100 stipend for the purchase of a laptop. For in-state students, part of this is expected to be the Zell Miller/HOPE Scholarship provided by the State of Georgia. For out-of-state students, this includes a tuition waiver, which reduces the cost of tuition to the same as that of an in-state student.

Total: $195856

Awards: 40

Deadline: October 15, 2020

Bruce Fishkin Scholarship Fund

This award is for high school seniors who reside in Chicago, IL, or surrounding areas; Las Vegas, NV, or surrounding areas; Fairfield, Greens Farms, Redding, or Westport, CT. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and an ACT composite score of 22 or higher.

Total: $200000

Awards: 6

Deadline: October 31, 2020

Alfond Scholars Program

The Alfond Scholars Program provides full-ride scholarships for ten incoming freshman students in the college of Liberal Arts at Rollins College.

Total: $199040

Awards: 10

Deadline: November 01, 2020

University of Oregon Stamps Leadership Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. high school seniors who plan to attend the University of Oregon, and are residents of and graduating from a high school in Oregon. Students must: have a grade point average of 3.85 or higher; have an SAT score of 1300 or higher or an ACT score of 28 or higher; and exemplify leadership, perseverance, scholarship, service, and innovation.

Total: $125000

Awards: 5

Deadline: November 01, 2020

Robert W. Woodruff Scholarship

The The Robert W. Woodruff Scholarship is available for incoming freshman students at Emory University in Georgia.

Total: $53306

Awards: 1

Deadline: November 15, 2020

Ingram Scholarship

The Ingram Scholarship provides full tuition and fees for students at Vanderbilt University who demonstrate a commitment to community outreach and service.

Total: $498160

Awards: 10

Deadline: December 01, 2020

UNF David M. Hicks Scholarship

This award is available for U.S. high school seniors who are residents of Duval County, Florida, and plan to attend the University of North Florida. Students must demonstrate financial need and be a current or previous resident of the Jacksonville Housing Authority, Public Housing, Section 8 Housing or Habitat for Humanity (HabiJax).

Total: $85192

Awards: 3

Deadline: October 15

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