Top 30 Colleges With the Best Merit Scholarships

Colleges with Largest Merit Scholarships

Top 30 Colleges With the Best Merit Scholarships

Published May 23, 2024

Colleges with Largest Merit Scholarships

If you’re a family that won’t qualify for need-based aid, it’s time to start looking for colleges with the best merit scholarships. Colleges give this merit aid based on academic performance and sometimes on special talents like sports and music. This article lists the top merit aid colleges and explains how to find ones that best fit your situation.

What Colleges Give the Most Merit Aid or Merit Scholarships?

We used our R2C Insights tool to find colleges with merit scholarships and ranked them by the amount of merit aid they gave to freshmen who did not have any financial need (as determined by the college).

R2C Insights has a lot of data on merit awards that can help you build a smart college list. The data in the two tables below comes from the Common Data Set, which R2C Insights breaks down for users. The tool also provides our crowdsourcing of actual financial aid offers.

Do Colleges Automatically Consider You for Merit Scholarships?

Yes, many colleges automatically consider students for merit scholarships when they apply through the Common App or directly. Examples include the University of Alabama, Baylor University, the University of South Florida, Texas Tech, and the University of Iowa.

Top 30 Colleges That Award the Largest Merit Scholarships

Name% Freshmen w/out Need Receiving Merit Aid (2022-23)Avg Merit Aid for Freshmen w/out Need (2022-23)
Duke University3$78,610
Swarthmore College1%$45,110
Washington and Lee University11%$43,818
University of Richmond31%$42,538
Beloit College99%$41,660
Bard College10%$40,474
Albion College100%$39,697
Johns Hopkins University10%$39,328
The University of Tulsa83%$39,152
Susquehanna University98%$36,317
Kalamazoo College96%$36,009
Clarkson University100%$35,794
Davidson College6%$35,549
Washington & Jefferson College100%$34,857
Georgetown College63%$34,280
The College of Wooster98%$33,902
Washington College100%$33,834
Babson College6%$33,519
Wheaton College (MA)50%$33,421
University of Redlands50%$33,389
Ursinus College97%$33,247
Coe College98%$33,182
Washington University, St. Louis6%$32,844
Simpson College100%$32,534
Lebanon Valley College98%$32,257
Centre College98%$32,217
St. Catherine University96%$32,101
Wabash College100%$31,853
Hartwick College11%$31,823
Lawrence University99%$31,503
It’s important to remember that just because a college offers a large average merit award, it doesn’t mean many students receive it. Consequently, you’ll need to research how many students actually receive the award.

R2C Insights can help you discover schools that are generous with merit scholarships and fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but they’ll avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend. Create a free trial R2C Insights account here.

For the second chart, we selected colleges giving the most merit scholarships to at least half of freshmen without financial need. Also, keep in mind that much of this aid is renewable in subsequent years.

Top 30 Colleges for Merit Aid to at Least 50% of Freshman Without Need

NameStateSAT 75th Percentile (2022-23)ACT 75th Percentile (2022-23)% Freshmen w/out Need Receiving Merit Aid (2022-23)Avg Merit Aid for Freshmen w/out Need (2022-23)
Beloit CollegeWI13603199%$41,660
Albion CollegeMINANA100%$39,697
The University of TulsaOK13603083%$39,152
Susquehanna UniversityPA12502898%$36,317
Kalamazoo CollegeMI12002696%$36,009
Clarkson UniversityNY136030100%$35,794
Washington & Jefferson CollegePA129031100%$34,857
Georgetown CollegeKY12102463%$34,280
The College of WoosterOH14303298%$33,902
Washington CollegeMD137029100%$33,834
Wheaton College (MA)MA13403350%$33,421
University of RedlandsCA13002950%$33,389
Ursinus CollegePA13703297%$33,247
Coe CollegeIA12702898%$33,182
Simpson CollegeIA144033100%$32,534
Lebanon Valley CollegePA12783198%$32,257
Centre CollegeKY13803298%$32,217
St. Catherine UniversityMN11702596%$32,101
Wabash CollegeIN132030100%$31,853
Lawrence UniversityWI14403299%$31,503
Widener UniversityPA12702997%$31,300
Agnes Scott CollegeGA134031100%$31,127
Cornell CollegeIA13203099%$30,950
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityOH13232999%$30,854
Hollins UniversityVA133030100%$30,658
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityIL13303093%$30,636
Whittier CollegeCA12903095%$30,466
Lycoming CollegePA12502598%$30,445
Whitworth UniversityWA13302797%$30,430
Ripon CollegeWINANA97%$30,216

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Other Articles You Might Like:

Colleges Offering Merit to 95%+ of Students Without Need

How to Get Merit Scholarships: Complete Guide and Search Tool

What Exactly Is ‘Good Merit’ and How Do I Keep It Once I’ve Got It?

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