9 Places to Look for Full-Ride Scholarships
By Kathryn Knight
It’s the holy grail of every college applicant’s scholarship search: a full-ride scholarship. To be honest, full-tuition scholarships are hard to come across and even harder to win. However, that shouldn’t stop you from at least trying.
The key to winning scholarships is to apply to as many as possible. And if you’re putting your name in for a $500 scholarship, you might as well enter yourself in a $30,000 scholarship too.
We’ve found nine places to look for full-ride scholarships – start applying today.
The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) provides students interested in joining the Army as well as continuing their education a unique opportunity. Students who join ROTC are able to complete training while attending college courses.
After graduation, Cadets are commissioned as Second Lieutenants, where they receive specialized training during their first assignment. From there, Second Lieutenants can either continue training in the field or postgraduate education opportunities.
Cadets are given full-tuition scholarships as well as additional allowances for books and fees and a monthly living stipend.
To apply, visit Army ROTC.
The Microsoft Scholarship is open to students already enrolled in college who are studying computer science, computer engineering, or a related field of study like electrical engineering, math or physics.
Recipients will receive one full year of scholarship money to cover tuition costs only. They will also need to apply for a summer internship with Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. If selected for the internship opportunity, students will be able to take advantage of a 12-week salaried position.
To apply, click here.
Air Force ROTC
Like Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC gives students the opportunity to excel in the Air Force as well as the classroom. The scholarship covers full tuition as well as fees, textbook costs and spending money.
Students interested in applying can learn more information here.
The Gates Millennium Scholars
Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any accredited college or university in the country. The scholarship stems from a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, made in 1999.
To qualify, students must be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American. Applicants should also have at least a 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale. They must also meet the Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria.
Interested applicants can apply here.
To round out the military branches, Navy ROTC also distributes full-ride scholarships to students who train for their future career while attending college classes.
Like the other ROTC programs, students also receive living stipends and financial assistance with books and fees. Students can begin the application process second semester of their junior year of high school.
To apply, click here.
SMART – Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation
The SMART Scholarship, part of the National Defense Education Program, is a full-tuition scholarship opportunity for students currently in college and interested in the science, mathematics or research fields.
Additionally, students receive financial assistance for student fees, a paid internship, health insurance reimbursement, $1,000 book allowance, mentoring and job placement after graduation.
Click here for more information.
Colleges & Universities
At many colleges and universities, there are full-ride scholarship opportunities available to students who apply. Generally, these scholarships are for students who display exceptional academic, leadership and philanthropic aptitude. However, some can be based on financial need or other factors.
To find these scholarships, visit the school’s website and look under their admissions or financial aid sections. There will typically be a page full of school-specific scholarship opportunities.
Finally, some states offer in-state full-tuition scholarships to residents. Many stipulate that the student must attend college in that state in order to receive the award.
For instance, the Eli Lilly endowment offers students in Indiana a full-tuition scholarship for four years of study as well as a stipend each year for textbooks and equipment.
Finding full-tuition scholarship opportunities in your state will take a little research. Start by asking your high school counselor about well-known in-state scholarship opportunities – they will be your best resource in finding these.
Otherwise, you’ll need to turn to the web and do some research on your own.