Universities with Automatic Merit Scholarships

With college costs rising over the years, more and more students are looking for scholarships to subsidize the cost of college. In the past I’ve written about outside scholarships, scholarships given by a third party organization, but not about scholarships given by a university itself.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of colleges that offer merit scholarships. Every scholarship on this list meets a few criteria:

  1. Available to out-of-state students
  2. No additional application required
  3. No financial need required

The list is broken down into two sections: scholarships based on ACT and GPA only, and scholarships based on holistic review. The first group is guaranteed to students who meet the criteria — if you have the needed ACT and GPA, you will get the scholarship. The second group is based on calculations made by the university — you won’t know if you get the scholarship or not until the school lets you know.


Scholarships based on ACT score and GPA only

The University of Alabama — students must have a GPA of 3.5 or greater. Funds based on ACT score.

  • ACT Score: 27—$5,000/year
  • ACT Score: 28 — $6,000/year
  • ACT Score: 29 — $13,000/year
  • ACT Score: 30–32 — $19,000/year
  • ACT Score: 33–36 — $25,000/year

The University of Oklahoma — students must have a GPA of 3.5 for some scholarships and 3.75 for others. Funds based on ACT score.

  • ACT Score: 24–25 — $16,000/year
  • ACT Score: 26–27 — $24,000/year
  • ACT Score: 28 — $28,000/year
  • ACT Score: 29–30 — $32,000/year
  • ACT Score: 31 — $36,000/year

The University of Arizona— students must have a GPA of 3.0+, 3.25+, or 3.75+ Funds based on ACT score and GPA. Amounts shown are for GPAs of 3.75+.

  • ACT Score: 22–25 — $8,000-$12,000/year
  • ACT Score: 26–29 — $12,000-$15,000/year
  • ACT Score: 30+— $16,000-$18,000/year

Colorado State University —students must have a GPA of 3.4 or higher. Funds based on ACT score.

  • ACT Score: 25–26 — $6,000/year
  • ACT Score: 27–28 — $8,000/year
  • ACT Score: 29–36 — $10,000/year

Scholarships based on holistic review

Boston College’s Gabelli Presidential Scholarship Program — full tuition award given to the top 15 students applying to Boston College. Perks including meeting donors at the Wall Street Council Tribute Dinner and attending fully funded summer programs.

Southern Methodist University’s President’s Scholars —full tution and full room and board award given to top 20 students applying to SMU. Perks include two fully-funded study abroad programs and a chance to meet distinguished speakers at the Tate Lecture Series.

William & Mary’s 1693 Scholars —full tuition and room and board minus the out-of-state cost given to the top students applying to William & Mary. Benefits include meeting industry leaders visiting campus, as well as $5,000 to fund a research project of the student’s choosing.

Georgia Tech’s Stamps President’s Scholars Program —full tuition and room and board given to top 50 students applying to Georgia Tech. Perks include $15,000 to subsidize the cost of unpaid internships or research, one-on-one mentoring from faculty, and the change to meet special guests on campus.

Emory University’s Scholar Programs — partial to full tuition and room and board given to the top applicants to Emory University. Benefits include networking with other Emory scholars as well as faculty advising.

Knox College’s Presidential Scholarship —full tuition award given to top 5 applicants to Knox College.

University of Maryland’s Banneker/Key Scholarships —full tuition and room and board given to the top 150 incoming students. Benefits include the President’s reception, a meeting including scholarship donors and former students. The scholarship also comes with a book allowance.

University of Alabama, University of Oklahoma, University of Arizona, Boston College, SMU, W&M, Georgia Tech, CSU, Emory, Knox, Maryland