6 Full-Ride Scholarships That Cover Tuition and More
Full-ride scholarships are awards that cover your full cost of attendance at college. This cost includes tuition, room and board, meals, books, fees and more. Some full-ride scholarships even include stipends for personal expenses or enrichment experiences.
Full-tuition scholarships are also generous, though they typically only cover tuition costs. These scholarships usually don’t pay for things like room and board or personal expenses.
As you can imagine, full-ride and full-tuition scholarships are the unicorns of the scholarship world. But while rare, it is possible to snag a full-ride award that reduces your bills to zero.
We’ve collected six full-tuition/full-ride scholarships to help you learn more, plus some tips on how to win one.
6 full-tuition and full-ride scholarships that could save you thousands
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a helpful launching off point for your scholarship search. Note that the deadlines are often subject to change, so be sure to check out your scholarship website(s) of choice before you start your application.
- 1. Gates Millennium Scholars program
- 2. Regeneron Science Talent Search
- 3. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship
- 4. Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship
- 5. SMART: Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation
- 6. USDA 1890 National Scholars Program
- Plus: Tips on how to get a full-ride scholarship
- Plus: Some full-ride scholarship FAQs
Deadline (2021): Sept. 15
The Gates Millennium Scholars program covers unmet financial need for “African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American and/or Hispanic American students”. You need to have a GPA of at least 3.3, along with a commitment to service and leadership.
To win the Gates Millennium Scholarship, your school needs to nominate you. You also need to answer several essay questions. If you think you could qualify, speak to a teacher, counselor or your principal about next steps.
Deadline (2021): Nov. 10
The Regeneron Science Talent Search is a national contest for aspiring scientists and mathematicians. Before winning one of these scholarships, which range from $2,000 to $250,000, you must participate in a long-term research project.
Projects could be in computer science, engineering or biochemistry, among other fields.
Deadline (2021): Oct. 30
This merit-based scholarship goes to high-achieving students with financial need.
To apply, you can submit the Common Application and designate the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation as one of your “schools.” The scholarship committee will look at your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, essays and recommendation letters. Winners get up to $40,000 each year for tuition, books, room, board and other education fees.
Deadline (2021): March 31
Microsoft offers the Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) scholarship awards to Black and African American students who plan to study technology. This scholarship is open to high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.3 and demonstrated financial eed.
Winners of Microsoft’s BAM scholarships can receive up to $175,000 toward their college education.
Deadline (2021): Dec. 1
This full-tuition scholarship goes to aspiring STEM students who are interested in a career in national defense. Winners are expected to do a summer internship and work for a period as a Department of Defense civilian.
The scholarship comes in the form of a cash stipend of $25,000 to $38,000 per year, depending on what degree you’re pursuing, and includes health insurance.
Deadline (2021): Jan. 31
The United States Department of Scholarship offers this full-tuition scholarship to students planning to attend one of the 1890 historically black land-grant universities, like Alabama A&M University or Tennessee State University.
Winners have a record of leadership, plus they plan to study food, agriculture, natural resource science or a related discipline. USDA scholars get summer jobs and potential employment with the USDA after graduation.
The scholarships on this list are rare finds. They come from private organizations, and you can use most of them at any university.
So, how can you get a full-tuition scholarship from one of these private organizations? Most are merit-based and require a strong academic and extracurricular background.
If you’re applying, you need to start early to put together the strongest application you can. Produce thoughtful essays, and connect with your recommenders to get outstanding references.
These national, full-tuition scholarships are extremely competitive. You can’t rely on them as your financial plan, but they’re definitely worth a shot. At the same time, you should also apply to smaller scholarships to help with tuition costs.
By planning for college costs, you can avoid taking on too much student loan debt.