Full Ride Scholarships
- October 20, 2015
- Posted by: Jeff Gitlen
- Category: Scholarships
The most highly sought after scholarships are the full ride opportunities. Reserved for students who meet a high standard of requirement, full-tuition scholarships are typically provided through post-secondary institutions or sometimes through state and city funding.
For the students lucky enough to secure a full-ride, they receive full funding from their very first year of college onwards. Often it includes housing, books, school fees and other required investments throughout their four-year school term. In general, most universities only offer a limited number of full-ride opportunities. Often these scholarships are for as much as $60,000.
The average public college tuition for in-state students was almost $25,000 in the 2016/2017 year. In fact, only about 20,000 students or roughly 0.3 percent of the college population receives enough financial support each year to be considered a full-ride. Considering these substantial annual costs, you might expect there is also immense competition for these highly desired awards.
Who is Eligible for a Full Ride?
Generally, students who have the best chance at these awards have a high GPA, high standardized test scores, have leadership and/or community service experience, and excel in other domains of their lives (i.e., athletics, music, etc.).
The business of scholarship searchers is almost as big as the business of scholarships themselves. A quick exploration of full-ride scholarships on Google turns up an unending series of websites to search through.
For students have that already browsed through the scholarships provided directly through their educational institution, there are some other places to look before giving up. If all the financial aid available from your school has been exhausted, pursue all other options, including with some of the following suggestions
Reviews of Scholarships for a Full-Ride
The Microsoft Corporation
Awarded to students who are currently enrolled in college degree program related to technology. These include majors such as computer and information sciences, engineering, mathematics, and physics. The amount of the award varies depending on the student’s institution.
Winners are required to apply for an internship with Microsoft at their Washington-based headquarters. Interns who are selected for the summer internship program will be paid for their time during a 12-week stint. Microsoft has expanded the number of eligible universities and colleges to include those in Canada and Mexico as well as the United States.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program
This full-ride award offers students a complete financial package that will cover all fees for the duration of their educational program. The grant is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They have restricted their eligibility requirements to minorities, and applicants must hold at least a 3.30-grade point average. Furthermore, students are required to complete the FAFSA and must demonstrate financial need. Students are required to show leadership skills and submit required documentation.
USDA 1890 National Scholars Program
This is a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Universities. For a full list of relevant institutions, check out the USDA website.
The goal of the scholarship is to increase the number of minorities seeking education in the agricultural sector. Some of the eligible programs include agricultural business/management, animal sciences, horticulture, and natural resources management. Each scholarship is a unique contract between the state department and student about the scholarship total and after graduation commitments. A typical scholarship will include a number of years of paid employment in the USDA.
Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway
Each year, Dr. Pepper releases $100,000 in tuition to eligible students. Unlike many of the other full-ride scholarships on this list, the Dr. Pepper tuition is a promotion for the brand. It relies entirely on Facebook entries, and applicants need to pay close attention to their Facebook profile and apply via the social media app.
The main component of the Dr. Pepper application requires students to answer the question, “Tell us how you’ll change the world in 350 characters or less.” After submission, the answers are voted on by the public. After a set number of votes, applicants are then required to submit a short video explaining their goals, and potential impact on their community if they win. Dr. Pepper encourages the inclusion of their brand in the video.
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship
The Jack Kent Cook full ride scholarship is based traditionally on merit and financial need. Eligible students can receive up to $40,000 in assistance if selected. This scholarship is open to high school students with a graduating GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students must meet an SAT critical reading and math score of at least 1200. Students must prove significant financial need to qualify.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is less restrictive than other scholarships because it has no limitations on the area of study. It also includes advisory support throughout the student’s education, to ensure the student continues to achieve each and every year. Each year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awards up to 40 scholarships based on this criteria.
Why is it Important to Seek Financial Aid?
According to one recent estimate by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of a number of popular scholarships search websites, there are fewer than 250 private full-ride scholarships available. Because financial assistance reduces the after-school financial burden for graduates, not to mention relieving in-school stress, it's important to put all options on the table.
New students should seek out all possible financial aid, with the first step being to apply with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most reputable schools will also have a select number of full-ride scholarships available for students who meet their set of requirements.
Finally, students should move beyond the walls of their post-secondary institution to seek out other options. For those who do not meet the GPA or athletic requirements common in most full-ride scholarships, identify what characteristics make you unique. This means searching out scholarships that seek to support minorities, women, and other underserved areas of the population. There is a scholarship for just about every conceivable niche.