SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Guaranteed Scholarships Based on SAT/ACT Scores

Posted by Halle Edwards | Nov 9, 2017 12:00:00 PM

SAT/ACT Score Target, College Admissions

 

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Maybe you’ve taken the SAT or ACT and got a really good score, but you aren't sure how to get the most money out of it. Or maybe you haven’t taken the SAT or ACT yet but are wondering how important the tests really are. One way you can make the most of your score is by finding guaranteed SAT scholarships or guaranteed ACT scholarships.

In this post, we'll show you some of the scholarships for high SAT scores and scholarships for high ACT scores that you can get. You can earn thousands of dollars in scholarships based just on your test scores. Curious to see how? We'll show you where you can get scholarships based on ACT scores and scholarships based on SAT scores.

 

Scholarships for ACT Scores and Scholarships for SAT Scores

This post focuses on scholarships offered by colleges and universities themselves. Why? Many private scholarships, while lucrative, feature full, college-admission-like applications, including letters of recommendation and essays. Lots of other smaller scholarships are based on essays, personal circumstances, or even your parent's employer.

While we are not discouraging you from applying to these, this post will focus on scholarships any student can earn automatically from universities just based on their test scores and GPA or class rank.

We will highlight some of the most searched-for universities and best opportunities, but this is not a comprehensive list.  We will also show you how to look up this information for any college you’re interested in.

 

Automatic Scholarships for National Merit

Before we get into the scholarship list, we'll also highlight another source of money based mainly on test scores: National Merit.

As we have covered in past posts, the National Merit competition recognizes the top PSAT (Practice SAT) scorers in each state. While there is a $2,500 scholarship you can earn through the competition itself, you can also get big scholarships from colleges by listing them as your first choice through National Merit.

You can get anything from a small scholarship to a full ride, depending on the school. As a rough rule of thumb, public universities are more likely to give more money for National Merit, though there are exceptions.

*start here

For example, you can get a full ride scholarship at the University of Idaho and the University of Oklahoma (view details for residents and non-residents here).

At Loyola University, a private college, you can get $2,000 for being a National Merit finalist. However, at Baylor, another private college, you can get more than $40,000, if you're a National Merit Finalist and select Baylor as your first-choice college. The exact amount is based on your other test scores:

SAT Score ACT Score Amount per year
1520+ 34+ $43,610
1450-1510 32-33 $42,610
1330-1390 30-31 $41,610

 

You can read more about this opportunity at Baylor's website.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg of National Merit scholarships. To learn more about sponsoring universities, read here.

 

Automatic Scholarships Based on SAT/ACT Scores

Now we will highlight colleges that give automatic scholarships based on SAT/ACT scores, as well as qualifiers like GPA or class rank. For these scholarships, you don’t have to submit any extra application information, but in some cases, you have to apply by a certain deadline to be guaranteed the scholarship. Be sure to check out each college's website, which we will link to, for full info.

As a shortcut, here are the schools we're going to detail:

  • Baylor University
  • Clemson University
  • Colorado State University
  • Florida A&M
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Georgia State
  • Louisiana State University
  • Texas Tech
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Nevada at Las Vegas
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • Utah State University

 

Baylor University

In addition to the National Merit award highlighted above, Baylor University also offers scholarships based on SAT/ACT score and class rank.

Scholarship Amount Awarded per Year
President’s Gold Scholarship $19,000-22,000
Provost’s Gold Scholarship $16,000-18,000
Dean’s Gold Scholarship $13,000-15,000
Founder's Gold Scholarship $7,000-12,000

 

Baylor does not have set cut-offs for these award tiers but bases the awards on SAT/ACT score and class rank. They do have a scholarship estimator you can use to predict your award amount.

As an example, based on the estimator, a 36 ACT with a high class rank (5/500) gets you a President’s Gold scholarship of $22,000/year. A 34 with the same rank also gets you $22,000, a 32 gets you $20,000, and a 28 gets you $16,000. While these are all high amounts, note that increasing your ACT from 28 to 32 gets you $4,000 more dollars each year—$16,000 over your whole college career.

Or, to take another example, if your class rank is 250/500 and you have a 24 ACT, you don’t qualify for a scholarship. But if you have that same rank but a 27 ACT, you can get a Founder’s Gold Scholarship of $10,000 per year. In other words, a 3-point ACT increase, which is definitely possible with some smart studying, can earn you $40,000. That’s amazing!

Check out Baylor’s scholarship page for more information and to try the scholarship estimator for yourself.

 

Clemson University

Scholarship 

Minimum SAT or ACT Score

Class Rank Requirement

Amount Awarded per Year

Trustee Scholarship
(for in-state residents)
SAT: 1270
ACT: 27
Top 10%
$1000
Trustee Scholarship
(for out-of-state residents)
SAT: 1320
ACT: 28
Top 10%
$7500

 

At Clemson, South Carolina residents will receive the Trustee Scholarship of $1,000 if they are ranked in the top 10% of their high school class and also have at least a 1270 SAT (Math + Critical Reading) or 27 ACT.

Non-residents with at least a 1320 SAT or 28 ACT and ranked in the top 10% of their class will receive a renewable scholarship of at least $7,500. The scholarship page notes “Students with higher test scores will be considered for these merit scholarships up to $15,000 annually.” So although they don’t have hard numbers, you can double your scholarship if you have higher scores.

Read more on Clemson's scholarships over at their website.

 

Colorado State University

Colorado State has automatic scholarships based on GPA and SAT/ACT score. Refer to the tables below from their website to see how much you can earn:

Non-Residents

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 11.18.45 PM-1.png

Note that score increases net you more money: to take just one example, going up 3 ACT points or 1300-1390 can get you $1,500 more dollars!

Residents

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 11.19.43 PM.png

Learn more about scholarships at CSU for residents and non-residents at their website.

 

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

FAMU offers a Distinguished Scholars program that covers the cost of tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students with at least a 1290 on the new SAT (with a math score of at least 650) or 29 on the ACT (with a math score of at least 27) and a FAMU recalculated GPA of at least 3.5.

If you don’t reach the cut off for the Distinguished Scholarship, you can still earn the George W. Gore Assistantship Scholarship or the Presidential Special Scholarship. The amount of the award changes based on your GPA and test scores: 

Scholarship
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Minimum Math Score
FAMU GPA
Amount Awarded per Year
George W. Gore
SAT: 1170
ACT: 26
SAT: 550
ACT: 26
3.5
$6000
George W. Gore
SAT: 1170
ACT: 26
SAT: 550
ACT: 26
3.0
$5000
Presidential Special Scholarship
SAT: 1000
ACT: 24
SAT: 500
ACT: 24
3.0
$2000-$5000 

 

So if you have at least a 3.0, a 2-point ACT increase gets you $1,000 more dollars. Read more about scholarships on FAMU’s admission website.

 

Florida Gulf Coast University

FGCU has scholarships based on GPA and SAT/ACT score, but you have to apply by November 15th to be considered.

Scholarship
Residency Requirement
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Minimum GPA
Amount Awarded per Year
President’s Gold
Florida Resident
SAT: 1320
ACT: 28
3.9
$5000
President’s Silver
Florida Resident
SAT: 1220
ACT: 25
3.5
$3000
Blue and Green Scholars Award
Non-Florida Resident
SAT: 1320
ACT: 28
3.9
$15,000
Blue and Green Directors Award
Non-Florida Resident
SAT: 1220
ACT: 25
3.5
$10,000


Learn more about scholarships and the application process at FGCU's website.

 

Georgia State University

Georgia State calculates automatic scholarships based on GPA and SAT/ACT score. They don't publish eligibility information, but you could earn anywhere from a $500 one-time scholarship to a $3,000 renewable scholarships. 

 You have to apply by March 1st to be considered for these awards.

 

Louisiana State University

LSU has three scholarships based on GPA and test scores you are considered for automatically. View the amounts in the table below:

Scholarship
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Minimum GPA
Amount Awarded  per Year (In-State)
Amount Awarded per Year (Out-of-State)
Flagship Scholars
SAT: 1490
ACT: 33
3.0
$3500
$20,500
LSU Academic Scholars Award
SAT: 1390
ACT: 30
3.0
$2000
$15,500
Tiger Excellence Scholars Award
SAT: 1310
ACT: 28
3.0
$1500
$7,600

You can learn more about LSU's other scholarships, as well as the three listed here, over at their scholarships page.

 

Texas Tech University

These Presidential Scholarships are automatic and are guaranteed if you apply by February 1st and are admitted to Texas Tech by April 15th.

Scholarship
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Class Rank Requirement
Amount Awarded per Year
Presidential Scholarship
SAT: 1400
ACT: 30
Top 10%
$6000
Presidential Scholarship
SAT: 1300
ACT: 27
Top 10%
$5000
Presidential Scholarship
SAT: 1200
ACT: 25
Top 25%
$4000

 

Note that 1-2 point ACT increases and slight SAT increases could increase your scholarship by $1,000 per year. Read more about the scholarships at the TTU website.

 

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona uses test scores and GPA to calculate scholarship award ranges. In-state awards are called "Wildcat Excellence Awards," and out-of-state awards are called "Arizona Excellence Awards."

Wildcat Excellence Awards (In-State Students)

  ACT 30+/SAT 1390+ ACT 26-29/SAT 1240-1380 ACT 22-25/SAT 1100-1230
GPA 3.75-4.00 $10,000-12,000 $8,000-10,000 $5,000-8,000
GPA 3.25-3.75 $8,000-12,000 $6,000-8,000 $3,500-$6,000
GPA 3.00-3.25 $6,000-8,000 $4,000-8,000 $2,000-4,000

 

Arizona Excellence Awards (Out-of-State Students)

  ACT 30+/SAT 1390+ ACT 26-29/SAT 1240-1380 ACT 22-25/SAT 1100-1230
GPA 3.75-4.00 $16,000-18,000 $12,000-15,000 $8,000-12,000
GPA 3.25-3.75 $14,000-18,000 $10,000-14,000  $8,000-10,000
GPA 3.00-3.25 $12,000-14,000 $8,000-14,000  $6,000-8,000

 

Learn more about scholarships at University of Arizona at their website.

 

University of Mississippi

At the University of Mississippi, you can earn an Academic Excellence scholarship based on your GPA and SAT/ACT score. Their admissions website notes that “Entering freshmen, minimum 3.0 high-school GPA. a minimum 25 ACT (1130 SAT or 1200 SAT-R)” are considered for the Academic Excellence scholarship. You are automatically considered after being admitted to the University of Mississippi.

Minimum ACT Score SAT Score Range Minimum  GPA Mississippi Resident Award per Year Non-Resident Award per Year
25 1200-1230 3.0 $1,500 $1,500
26 1240-1270 3.0 $1,900 $1,900 + $2,000 towards non-resident fee
27 1280-1300 3.0 $2,250 $2,250 + $3,000 towards non-resident fee
28 1310-1340 3.0 $3,000 $3,000 + $4,000 towards non-resident fee
29 1350-1380 3.0 $3,500 $3,500 + $5,000 towards non-resident fee
30 1390-1410 3.0 $4,500 $4,500 + $7,500 towards non-resident fee
31 1420-1440 3.0 $5,500 $5,500 + $10,000 towards non-resident fee
32 1450-1480 3.0 $7,500 $7,500 + $15,264 towards non-resident fee
33+ 1490+ 3.0 $8,190 $8,190 +$15,264 towards non-resident fee

 

Note that the GPA requirement does not increase over the table, only scores. An ACT increase of one point or SAT increase of just 10 points can get you over $1,000 more per year, and that’s not including the non-resident fee that also gets decreased.

See more at the University of Mississippi's scholarships page.

 

University of Missouri

The University of Missouri has a handful of scholarships that are automatic, based on class rank and SAT/ACT score. There are scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state students. You can learn more about University of Missouri's scholarships here.

Scholarship
Residency Requirement
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Class Rank Requirement
Amount Awarded per Year
Chancellor’s Award
Missouri Residents
SAT: 1420
ACT: 31
Top 10%
$6500
Excellence Award
Missouri Residents
SAT: 1280
ACT: 27
Top 25%
$2000
Excellence Award
Missouri Residents
SAT: 1280
ACT: 27
Top 50%
$1000
Mark Twain Award
Non-Missouri Residents
SAT: 1390
ACT: 30
Top 25%
$10,000
Mark Twain Award
Non-Missouri Residents
SAT: 1390
ACT: 30
Top 50%
$8,500
Mark Twain Award
Non-Missouri Residents
SAT: 1280
ACT: 27
Top 25%
$7000
Mark Twain Award
Non-Missouri Residents
SAT: 1280
ACT: 27
Top 50%
$5000

 

 

University of Nevada at Las Vegas

UNLV has the Rebel Challenge scholarship for non-resident students. The award amounts are based on GPA and SAT/ACT score, but are first-come first-serve, which means the earlier you can apply, the better.

Scholarship
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Minimum GPA
Amount Awarded per Year
President’s Award
SAT: 1130
ACT: 23
3.75
$11,000
Provost’s Award
SAT: 1130
ACT: 23
3.5
$9,000
Dean’s Award
SAT: 1130
ACT: 23
3.25
$7,000

 

Read more about this scholarship here

UNLV also has other automatic consideration scholarships. Here's the scholarship schedule:

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 10.08.21 PM.png

You can also get additional money ($1,000 per year) if you are in the top 10% of your graduating class, and even more money if you are the valedictorian!

If you’re a Nevada resident and want to learn about other scholarship options, check out their freshman scholarships page.

 

University of Oregon

The University of Oregon has scholarships that are automatic. The award amounts vary based on your residence status:

Scholarship
Residency Requirement
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Minimum GPA
Amount Awarded per Year
Summit 
Oregon Resident
SAT: 1260
ACT: 26
3.8
$6000
Summit
Non-Oregon Resident
SAT: 1260
ACT: 26
3.8
$9000
Apex
Oregon Resident
SAT: 1220
ACT: 25
3.6
$3000
Apex
Non-Oregon Resident
SAT: 1220
ACT: 25
3.6
$4000

 

Note that if you raise your ACT from 25 to 26, or SAT from 1220 to 1260, your award can increase by $3,000 if you’re a resident, or $5,000 if you’re a non-resident. That’s a ton of money for just a few points! Learn more about the scholarship at Oregon's financial aid website.

 

University of Tennessee

To be considered for the Volunteer Scholarship, you need a strong GPA and SAT/ACT score. According to the website, “Our new Volunteer Scholarship program recognizes students with an exemplary academic record based on a combination of GPA and test scores. Incoming first-year students with a minimum 3.8 GPA who apply for admission by December 1 are eligible.” So note the early deadline, and check out the scholarship amounts below:

 

Tennessee Residents

Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Amount Awarded per Year
SAT: 1520
ACT: 34
$8,000
SAT: 1390
ACT: 30
$5,000
SAT: 1310
ACT: 28 
$3,000

 

Non-Tennessee Residents

Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Amount Awarded per Year
SAT: 1520
ACT: 34
$18,000
SAT: 1390
ACT: 30
$15,000
SAT: 1310
ACT: 28 
$10,000

 

Learn more about the award at Tennessee's scholarships page.

 

University of Texas at Arlington

You will be considered for the following scholarships once you are admitted to the University of Texas at Arlington.

Scholarship
Minimum SAT or ACT Score
Class Rank or GPA Requirement
Amount Awarded per Year
President’s Charter
SAT: 1300
ACT: 29
Top 10% of class or 3.5 GPA
$8,000
Outstanding Freshman
SAT: 1200
ACT: 26 
Top 10% of class or 3.2 GPA
$6,000
Freshman Honors
SAT: 1100
ACT: 24 
Top 20% of class
$4,000
UTA Top 10%
None
Top 10% of your high school class
$2,000 (Can be combined with Charter, Outstanding, or Honors)
UTA Top 50%
SAT: 1200
ACT: 26 
Top 50% of your high school class
$4,000

 

Learn more about the award and the application process over at their website.

 

Utah State University

At Utah State University, there are automatic scholarships (as well as admission standards) based just on GPA and SAT/ACT score, which are combined to make an index score. The admissions office has created tables that you can use to look up your index score:

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 11.21.57 AM.png

You will automatically be considered for the following scholarships based on your index score:

Residents

Scholarship Index Score Award Amount Duration
Presidential  135-142  100% tuition and fees 4 years 
Dean's  129-134  90% tuition 2 years
Scholar  126-128  60% tuition 2 years
Merit  122-125  45% tuition 1 year
Achievement 117-121   Varies 1 year

 

 Nonresidents

Scholarship Index Score Award Amount Duration
Presidential  135-142  100% tuition and fees 4 years 
Dean's  129-134  90% tuition 2 years
Scholar  117-128  70% tuition 1 year

 

Note that a one-point ACT increase or 40-point SAT increase could be the difference between two years of full tuition and a four year, full-ride scholarship!

Read more about admission and scholarships at USU's website.

 

Scholarships With Score Cut-Offs

Although many universities don’t have automatic scholarships based on test scores, GPA, or class rank, many use these factors as cut-offs for scholarship consideration. So even though in these cases high scores don’t guarantee you scholarships, they are an important factor in being considered.

 

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Just like when you were a kid and couldn't get onto the roller coasters at the theme park, you won't even be considered for some scholarships without high enough SAT/ACT scores.

 

For example, you’ll be considered for a full ride at Auburn University if you have at least a 33 ACT or 1490 SAT and a 3.5 GPA if you are an Alabama resident. If you’re a non-resident, you will be considered for an $18,000 a year scholarship if you have at least a 33 ACT or 1490 SAT and at least a 3.5 GPA.

If that’s out of your range, you could be considered for a $4,000 a year scholarship at Auburn if you have at least a 28 ACT or 1310 SAT, a GPA of at least 3.5, and are an Alabama resident (They have other scholarships for non-residents, too). Learn more at their website

Ohio State University has minimum scores for their biggest scholarships. For example, to receive the full ride Eminence scholarship, their website advises, “Recipients of the Eminence Scholarship typically rank in the top three percent of their graduating classes and have an ACT composite score of 34 or higher or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math score equivalent of 1520 or higher.

Texas A&M has scholarship eligibility requirements as well. Under their eligibility section, they note, “To be considered for the scholarships listedstudents must achieve a minimum 1360 New SAT composite score (evidence-based reading and writing score of at least 660 + math scores of at least 620), or 30 ACT composite (English + Math, with scores of at least 27).

So are these scholarships guaranteed even if you meet these minimum scores? No. But you won’t be considered for them at all unless your ACT or SAT score is above a certain level. Many other colleges have GPA and score cut-offs for scholarship consideration, so the higher you can get your scores, the more likely you are to earn merit scholarships.

 

How To Look Up Automatic Scholarships

The examples of scholarships above are just that—examples! It isn’t by any means a full list of every university in the country where you can get automatic money for your ACT or SAT score.

So how do you find that information? Search for merit scholarships.

The majority of scholarships given for test scores and GPA are merit scholarships—in other words, they are given based on your achievements, unlike need-based scholarships, which are based on your demonstrated financial need. Make sure to look for pages titled “Merit-Based” or “Academic-Based” scholarships.

Many colleges and universities have separate pages for merit scholarships that a simple search will pull up. If you do not see one, try searching “[College/University Name] Scholarships” or “[College/University Name] Financial Aid.” If you start at the university’s financial aid section, you can find information on scholarships (both merit and need-based) from there. If you can’t find the information online, try contacting either the financial aid or undergraduate admissions offices.

Keep the following guidelines in mind as you search:

  • Make sure the scholarships you find are specifically designated for “Entering Freshmen.” These are the scholarships that will apply to you as a high school student applying to college.
  • See if the college makes a designation between in-state and out-of-state applicants. In some cases, state universities will give bigger scholarships to non-resident applicants since out-of-state tuition is higher. Sometimes there are also differences in requirements and cut-off scores.
  • Check if there are separate application requirements or deadlines. Scholarship money is limited, so in general, the earlier you can apply, the better.

Use the steps below to look up whether there are automatic scholarships at any of the colleges you are interested in.

 

Step 1: Search for “[College/University Name] Merit Scholarships.”

body_search1

I'm searching for a college in my home state of Utah.

 

I'll start with the second result: "Available Scholarships." This seems like the most general option, and I want to get the most information right off the bat

 

Step 2: Determine If You Qualify for Any of the Scholarships

body_search2

 

I see that there are different scholarships for freshman and transfers. Also, note that they say you can apply for a scholarship just by submitting an application. Looks good so far!

Under scholarships, I select "Freshman Scholarships."

body_search3-1

Reading this information, they don't seem to distinguish between resident and non-resident scholarships. They also seem to place a lot of value on GPA and SAT/ACT score, which is a good sign they might have automatic merit scholarships. Scrolling down, I see this:

 

 body_search4

If you see a table or index with GPA and test scores you’re in luck, you’re likely looking at scholarship guidelines or automatic scholarships.

In Westminster's case, it looks like these are the amounts they generally give for certain GPA and test scores, though they say the chart is a "general representation," so these amounts might change based on other info in the application.

So it looks like at Westminster College you have a very strong chance of earning a scholarship if your GPA and SAT/ACT score fall somewhere on this table.

 

Step 3: Check If You Need to Do Anything to Apply

As I mentioned above, there is no separate application for scholarships in this case. Westminster is a good bet for an automatic scholarship, and the higher your scores, the more money you are likely to get.

 

You can repeat this process at any school you're interested in, but keep in mind that automatic scholarships are relatively rare (especially at more selective schools), so you may not find anything.

 

What’s Next?

Some schools don't have merit-based scholarships but do have very impressive need-based financial aid packages. However, those schools are often prestigious and top-ranked, and so they are the toughest to get into. Develop a target ACT or SAT score to be competitive for admission at competitive schools.

Avoid some of the most common ACT mistakes to raise your score. Also, learn how to improve a bad SAT math score.

Shooting for perfection? Get study tips from our SAT full scorer, and learn what it takes to get a 12 on an SAT essay or an ACT essay.

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Halle Edwards
About the Author

Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.



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