College Academic Scholarships

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Grants and scholarships can be your gateway to a less expensive college experience. Find out all about National Merit Scholarships, scholarships based on GPA and SAT scores, and how you can apply.


College Academic Scholarships
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You’ve pushed yourself to get top grades throughout high school, and finally you’re on your way to college. Unfortunately, the next step is one of the hardest: paying for college. Tuition can be overwhelming, especially at out-of-state and private colleges.

Luckily, there are plenty of academic scholarship opportunities open to worthy students. If you’ve earned good grades and are willing to put in the effort to apply, academic scholarships can cover a significant chunk (if not all) of your college tuition.

If you’ve already chosen your school, consult your financial aid office to see if you are eligible for any kind of academic scholarship.

National Merit Scholarships

Award: $2,500

Overview: Each year, the National Merit Scholarship awards $2,500 scholarships to the top National Merit finalists. The screening process begins automatically once you take the PSAT. The National Merit Scholarship Program also awards corporate- and college-sponsored scholarships, which are different from the $2,500 National Merit awards.

Requirements/eligibility: Finalists are determined based on PSAT scores. Winners are determined based on skills and accomplishments, including academic record, activities and leadership.

How to apply: You must take the PSAT no later than your junior year in high school.

School-Specific Academic Scholarships

  • Carolina Scholars Award

Award: $40,000 ($10,000/year); $28,000 ($7,000/year) for finalists

Overview: The Carolina Scholars Award is given to incoming freshmen at the University of South Carolina who show leadership, character and high academic achievement. There are 20 $40,000 awards, as well as 50 $28,000 awards for finalists.

Requirements/eligibility: You must be a South Carolina resident and a student at the University of South Carolina. The scholarship is renewable if you maintain a minimum B average.

How to apply: The university must receive your applications for general university admission and University Honors College admission, as well as a scholarship application, postmarked by November 15.

  • KU Perfect Achievement Award

Award: Full ride (tuition, fees, housing)

Overview: The University of Kansas offers the Perfect Achievement to incoming freshmen with perfect scores on the ACT or SAT.

Requirements/eligibility: A score of 36 on the ACT or 1,600 (math/critical reading) on the SAT, with a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.25.

How to apply: You must apply for this scholarship in your Kansas University application. Check the box that says “Admission and scholarships” in the “Consider me for” section. You’ll then submit a list of your co-curricular activities, an essay detailing three of these activities, and a prompted essay revealing creativity, thoughtfulness and structural development.

  • IU Excellence, Distinction, and Prestige Scholarships

Award: $36,000 (Excellence and Distinction), $16,000 (Prestige)

Overview: These scholarships are automatically awarded to Indiana University students who meet certain academic requirements. They are renewable up to four years, provided you maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Requirements/eligibility: For IU Excellence, you must be an Indiana resident with a minimum SAT score of 1,340 or a minimum ACT score of 30, as well as a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.80. IU Distinction has the same requirements, but is awarded to out-of-state students. The Prestige Scholarship is open to all IU students with a minimum SAT score of 1,220 or a minimum ACT score of 27, with a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.70.

How to apply: Application is automatic with admission to the university.

  • Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship

Award: Full tuition and fees for one academic yearOverview: This scholarship is awarded to students with outstanding achievement and potential in any academic subject.Requirements/eligibility: You must enroll in a four-year program at a Minnesota college during the year of your high school graduation. If the school is private, the award may be for less than full tuition (depending on the tuition cost).

How to apply: The application process varies depending on the institution. Some colleges do not participate in the program, so check with your school to make sure.

These are just a few of the academic scholarships available for high performance in high school. If you’ve already chosen your school, consult your financial aid office to see if you are eligible for any kind of academic scholarship.

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