Colleges That Offer Merit Aid Scholarships

Did you know that the eligibility for merit aid scholarships are directly related to SAT and ACT scores? That's right, these scholarships do not take into account family income, only academic success. So preparing for the SAT or ACT test could actually generate money for college!

Most merit aid scholarships are based mainly on two factors: scores on the SAT or ACT test and GPA. In other words, these scholarships are given to students who have above average tests scores and GPAs compared to the other applicants and do not take family income into consideration.  

Top 100 Colleges for Merit Aid Scholarships

Below is a list of selective colleges and universities that frequently offer these types of scholarships. If your GPA and SAT or ACT scores are in the top 25% of applicant pool, you have a good chance of being offered one. Why? These schools are giving you money in the hopes that you choose them over a competitor.

Still not sure of the differences between types of college scholarships? Read my overview on the role of merit aid scholarships in college admissions to educate yourself about this little understood aspect of college admissions.

PDF Version

  1. Stanford
  2. Rice
  3. Duke
  4. Washington University (St Louis)
  5. University of Richmond
  6. Emory
  7. Clark
  8. Vanderbilt
  9. University of Chicago
  10. Syracuse
  11. Wake Forest
  12. Brandeis
  13. Trinity (San Antonio)
  14. University of Southern California
  15. Lehigh
  16. Bentley
  17. Villanova
  18. Gonzaga
  19. University of Rochester
  20. University of Miami (FL)
  21. Bentley
  22. Emerson
  23. Providence
  24. Tulane
  25. George Washington
  26. Santa Clara
  27. Pepperdine
  28. Case Western
  29. Drake
  30. Carnegie Mellon
  31. American University
  32. Northeastern
  33. Boston University
  34. Southern Methodist University
  35. Swarthmore
  36. Washington and Lee
  37. Davidson
  38. Claremont McKenna
  39. Texas Christian University
  40. Hamilton
  41. Wesleyan
  42. Holy Cross
  43. Colorado College
  44. Grinell
  45. Lafayette
  46. Bucknell
  47. Scripps
  48. Whitman
  49. Kenyon
  50. University of San Diego
  51. Occidental
  52. Illinois Wesleyan
  53. Denison
  54. Rhodes
  55. Harvey Mudd
  56. Davidson
  57. Furman
  58. Oberlin
  59. Smith
  60. Lawrence
  61. Skidmore
  62. Franklin & Marshall
  63. Union
  64. Pitzer College
  65. Elon
  66. Macalester College
  67. Marist
  68. University of Portland
  69. University of Denver
  70. Marquette
  71. Fordham
  72. Rensslear Polytech
  73. Loyola Marymount University
  74. Drake
  75. Point Loma Nazarene
  76. Ithaca
  77. Baylor
  78. Chapman
  79. Carleton College
  80. University of Dayton
  81. Colorado College
  82. Wheaton
  83. Hillsdale
  84. Loyola (Chicago)
  85. St. Olaf
  86. Depauw
  87. Gettysburg
  88. Muhlenberg
  89. Wilamette
  90. Mt. Holyoke
  91. Hood College
  92. Rollins College
  93. Xavier College
  94. Butler
  95. New York University
  96. Loyola (Maryland)
  97. University of Colorado
  98. Texas Christian University
  99. Loyolla Marymount University
  100. University of Redlands

PDF Version

Don't Forget

Studying for the ACT and SAT not only helps to gain admission but also helps to gain lucrative merit aid scholarships. Even just a few points can make a difference, so don't forget to read my book recommendations for the best books for the ACT and best books for the SAT. Remember, most students will take the SAT or ACT test 2-3 times to attain the best score, so keep studying!

Don't Make This Mistake

I regularly meet parents who are college-educated professionals, who know very little about the options for paying for college. Why? Some are under the assumption that financial aid only goes to lower income families (not true), that in-state colleges are always the least expensive option (not true) and that colleges never discount tuition (not true).

If the above description sounds like you, I highly recommend reading Carol Stack's The Financial Aid Handbook (I often assign this book to parent's for their homework) and/or Lyn O'Shaughnessy's The College Solution.  Both of these books are excellent, especially for middle and upper-income parents feeling the financial squeeze of the possibility of paying full tuition. 

Sorry, no Merit Aid Scholarships

Equally important is knowing which schools DO NOT offer merit aid. These colleges and universities that only offer "need-based" or income-based financial aid (in other words: no merit aid). Why do these colleges only offer "need-based financial aid"? Because these colleges (such as the Ivy League) do not need of "entice" students to attend the most highly selective colleges because many will gladly pay the tuition (remember, those that cannot not "afford" private college may still qualify for loans, grants, etc).

Be Careful

The Internet is a wonderful tool. We can all agree on that. Unfortunately, the Internet, like any other tool, has its risks if misused. Many individuals have seized upon the fears (and ignorance) of students and their families to hook them into fraudulent college scholarship scams. Read more about tips to avoid falling for a scholarship scam.

News & Updates

Several times each week, I post articles and test taking tips about the SAT and ACT tests as well as college admissions. These blog entries are a great way to keep current with what is happening in high school test prep and college admissions. So please bookmark this page (or subscribe to my RSS feed) and let your friends and family know about!