Find the Best Full-Ride Scholarships to Apply for in 2024

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Full-tuition scholarships are financial aid opportunities that cover all or most of your university tuition. College costs continue to increase yearly, from tuition fees to room and board expenses. Many students seek ways to cover large chunks of their college education expenses through full-ride scholarships and federal financial aid.

Federal financial aid and scholarships are two excellent ways to help cut down college tuition costs. Students should also consider looking for full-ride scholarships, which may be able to remove the full tuition costs of attending college in one financial aid package.

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Full-ride scholarships aren’t the only scholarships Bold.org offers. Check out the full list of scholarships here to get help paying for your full tuition. Read about other types of tuition scholarships and financial tips on our scholarship blog.

A full-ride scholarship is a financial aid package that does not need to be repaid. In addition, a full-ride scholarship should cover 100% of your college full tuition. Different schools and organizations may define ‘college tuition’ differently— check if a full-ride scholarship covers only academic expenses or living expenses, like room and board.

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Some full-ride scholarships will cover every fee associated with college, including tuition, textbook fees, room and board, and living costs or food expenses. Some full-ride scholarships will only cover the academic side of your college expenses, meaning you will still need to pay for room and board as well as food.

Whichever the case, a full-ride scholarship will remove at least all of the academic fees associated with college. The costs of attending classes represent the biggest expense students will have to pay, so any full tuition scholarship will cover the majority of the price of attending college.

To get a full-ride scholarship, students must either be enrolled in a qualifying program or find a full-ride scholarship opportunity on their own.

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Some schools, such as Harvard University, pledge to cover 100% of a student’s demonstrated need. Students considering applying to Harvard University can read about Harvard scholarships and financial aid here to better understand how this program works and find financial aid resources.

Universities like this will automatically consider any enrolled students for their financial aid packages. If your university offers full-ride scholarships or full-tuition scholarships, you will be considered as well. This can be one of the easiest ways to receive a full-ride or full-tuition scholarship.

Another way students can find full-tuition scholarships is through other organizations or online platforms. Students may want to consider collecting funding from several sources to help pay for their full tuition expenses.

What GPA can get you a full-ride scholarship?

There is no specific GPA that guarantees students a scholarship. Students with very low GPAs can still earn modest amounts of money through scholarships.

In regards to a full-ride scholarship, there may be a GPA minimum requirement. Check the details of the full-ride scholarships you are considering applying for and make sure you are a qualified applicant.

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There are many types of scholarships students can apply for that do not require applicants to have a high GPA. For example, students can apply for athletic scholarships or artistic scholarships, which typically choose winners based on their talents instead of their grades. Other scholarships that are based on hobbies or interests, like chess scholarships, dance scholarships, and more, may also have more lenient GPA requirements.

Having a high GPA will qualify you for more scholarships and will show the donor that you are a dedicated student. A high GPA is certainly a plus, and many students will find that their scholarship covers tuition just because they have good grades. Read more about what GPA you need for a full scholarship here.

However, a high GPA does not necessarily guarantee that applicants will earn money. Some scholarships require students to have a certain GPA to apply. This amount depends on the scholarship, but many scholarships set minimum GPA requirements around 3.0. Students with a high GPA can apply for more scholarships, but in the end, some luck will still be needed to win.

Some scholarships have a higher GPA requirement, while others have a lower one. Not all scholarships have a GPA requirement. A good GPA is a plus but not an absolute must for students who want to apply for scholarships. Overall, maintaining your grades is a good option to ensure you are eligible for as many scholarships as possible.

What scholarship covers room and board?

A full-ride scholarship may cover tuition, room and board, and living expenses.

Remember to check the details of any full-ride scholarships you are applying for— a ‘full-ride scholarship’ might mean that only the full tuition costs are covered. Though the full tuition cost makes up the majority of the expenses incurred from a college education, students will still need to pay for room and board and living expenses if this is the case.

Many full-ride scholarships are actually full-tuition scholarships. Full tuition scholarships are still helpful, but students should be aware of the details of any financial aid they receive.

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A more comprehensive full tuition scholarship will cover room and board in addition to the full tuition. Finding a full-ride scholarship that includes room and board can be incredibly beneficial to students who weren’t able to pay for room and board out of pocket. A full-ride scholarship, including room and board, can allow students to live on campus and save time on their daily commute, for example.

High school seniors who are applying for tuition scholarships should strongly consider applying for room and board scholarships as well. Naturally, a full-ride scholarship is best as it covers both areas, but it may be easier to find separate scholarships if students cannot find full-ride opportunities.

What is the easiest way to get a scholarship?

The easiest way to locate scholarships that are right for you is to use a search tool or search engine to help narrow down your search. There are many different online scholarship platforms, like Bold.org, that you can use to find scholarships. There are also several resources students can use in their schools or communities.

The financial aid office is one resource students can find on their school campus. A similar option for high school students is the guidance counselor’s office. Both college and high school students can visit these administrative offices and ask about financial aid or scholarship opportunities.

The advantage of local school offices is that they may have exclusive opportunities they only offer to students in their school. Many universities have scholarships only for their own students, which also applies to secondary schools. Therefore, this can also be a particularly good way to find scholarships.

Merit scholarships are scholarships where applicants are evaluated primarily on the basis of grades or academic performance. If you search for academic merit scholarships through your school, you may find merit scholarships that are only available in your school system.

Take a look at these online merit scholarships you can apply for right now.

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Finding local opportunities through your high school or university can also help reduce the amount of scholarship competition you face. In other words, if you find a scholarship that is less accessible to the public, there are fewer applicants, which increases your chances of winning. Finding scholarships through a school or other academic institution can connect you to niche opportunities not available to others.

Second, many students find it convenient to use an online search platform like Bold.org. Online platforms have access to hundreds of scholarships across the country. Although not all of these opportunities apply to every student, the large number of scholarships means that every applicant can apply for at least a few scholarships.

In addition, these websites often have search functions such as filters or other tools. These features can significantly narrow down a student's scholarship search and save students time in searching for the right opportunities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How rare is a full-ride scholarship?

The most common source of full-ride scholarships is college and university programs that guarantee to meet the demonstrated financial need of their students.

High school seniors should research whether the colleges they are applying for have full-tuition scholarships, as this may significantly impact their college budget. Securing a full-ride scholarship through your university is one of the most reliable ways to pay for your full tuition.

It may be difficult to find full-tuition scholarships from other organizations and sources since the amount of money a student gets from a full-tuition scholarship will vary based on the school they attend. However, it’s still worth researching, given the possibility that you may not need to pay a cent towards your full tuition if you find the right full-ride scholarship.

For more tips on how exactly you can improve your chances of winning a full-ride scholarship, read this article on what steps to take to get a full-ride scholarship.

When can I start applying for scholarships?

There are hundreds of scholarships available for students of all backgrounds and ages. Some scholarships do not require applicants to be of a certain age or grade level, so even high school students can apply for some scholarships. There is no right or wrong time to start applying for grants.

Read this guide on when you should start applying for scholarships here.

However, it may be beneficial to start applying earlier in your academic career. This gives students more time to plan their academic journey and decide on their college or university budget. For example, students may have to decide if they want to pursue graduate school or summer coursework.

In addition, starting to apply for full-tuition scholarships earlier allows students to continue applying for scholarships throughout their academic careers. As a result, students have more chances to apply for scholarships, which can help increase their chances of earning money through full-ride scholarships. The more full tuition scholarships you apply for, the greater your chance of winning prize money.

Finally, applying for a scholarship while still in high school can help you plan for the future. Students may not always know what they want to do with their lives or academic careers at a young age. This is normal, but starting to earn a scholarship earlier can help students later in their academic journey if they decide to pursue other educational opportunities. This could mean taking a gap year for an internship or studying abroad for a semester.

Whatever the reason, earning scholarships early can help pay back tuition later on. In addition, it’s never too late to apply for full-ride scholarships. As mentioned, the costs of your college education may increase as new academic opportunities appear. High school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students can all apply for full-ride scholarships and other types of scholarships.

Check out the Bold.org scholarship blog for more resources and advice on how to get a full tuition scholarship.