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.

A full tuition scholarship covers only your college tuition. In other words, it may not cover your entire cost of attendance. You may 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. This includes books, meal plan, room and board, travel and other living costs.

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. Colleges typically offer full ride once you are admitted into the school. Like merit based scholarships, they usually go to very talented and motivated students.

Many full ride scholarships determine eligibility based on:

  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% 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 awards worth .

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: $6777

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 31

University of Chicago Stamps Scholarship

The University of Chicago Stamps Scholarship is available for sophomore students at the University of Chicago. Applicants must demonstrate a record of leadership, perseverance, scholarship, service, and innovation. Current second-year College students who plan to graduate in June 2022 are eligible to apply.

Total: $60000

Awards: 3

Deadline: February 01

Case Western Reserve University Undergraduate Theater Scholarship Program

This scholarship is open to entering freshmen at Case Western Reserve University who plan to major or minor in theater or pursue theater as an extracurricular activity. Recipients who major in theater will receive a full-tuition scholarship. All applicants must audition or interview to be considered.

Total: $108312

Awards: 6

Deadline: February 21

Columbia College of Missouri Phi Theta Kappa Honor Scholarship

This award is for U.S. students who have an associate in arts degree, associate in science degree, or at least 60 transferable hours and are planning to transfer to Columbia College of Missouri. Students must be a member of Phi Theta Kappa and have a grade point average of 3.6 or higher.

Total: $21000

Awards: 1

Deadline: March 31

Dream BIG Scholarship

This scholarship program is open to U.S. students who are currently employed in any role within the retail or restaurant industries and plan to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree to further their career within the retail or restaurant industries. This scholarship covers full tuition at the University of Phoenix (any campus location or online).

Total: $12669

Awards: 1

Deadline: March 31

Starbucks College Achievement Plan

The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is available for all U.S.-based, benefits-eligible partners employed by Starbucks-owned businesses—including Evolution Fresh—regardless of role, who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. Starbucks is committed to the advancement of their employees. Apply today!

Total: $50000

Awards: 1


Jay Z’s Roc Nation Hope Scholarship

Applicants attending Long Island University’s Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment in New York, are encouraged to apply to Rap/Hip-Hop mogul Jay’z Roc Nation Hope Scholarship. Applicants should be interested in pursuing career in music and entertainment, business, and sports. The Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment will offer undergraudate degrees in music, music technology, entrepreneurship and production, and sports management.

Total: $50000

Awards: 10


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

Full-Tuition Scholarship at Central Christian College of the Bible

This full-tuition scholarship is available to all students who enroll at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri.

Total: $38400

Awards: 100


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

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