Merit-based scholarships

Rewarding academic achievement

For the incoming freshman class of 2021

In recognition of outstanding academic achievements, the university offers several merit scholarships for incoming freshmen entering the university fall semester. For most awards, we consider academic achievement only, while for others financial need is also considered. International freshmen are not eligible for merit scholarships.

Merit scholarships are competitive and are not guaranteed.

These scholarships cannot be combined, except for the National Buckeye Scholarship. Award amounts and criteria are subject to change without notice.

How do I apply?

Freshmen admitted to the Columbus campus for autumn semester are automatically considered for most merit awards if we received their complete admission applications by our November 15 early action deadline. However, three scholarships require additional steps or have different deadlines (see details in the scholarship descriptions below).

Should I file the FAFSA?

Yes. All students are highly encouraged to file the FAFSA by February 1 to receive priority consideration for the widest range of need-based scholarships, loans, grants and Federal Work-Study. (Priority consideration means you will be considered before those who don't meet the deadline.) Visit Student Financial Aid for more information.

If I submit multiple test scores, which do you consider?

Ohio State has adopted a one-year TEST-OPTIONAL policy for most 2021 applicants. Please read the Testing FAQs.

When considering students for admission, scholarships, or Honors and Scholars selection, we consider the best official composite / combined score from a single test administration. Ohio State does not mix sub-scores from multiple tests or adjust scholarship values for higher test scores received after the scholarship’s published deadline (for most, this is November 15).

Are transfer students eligible for merit awards?

No, transfer students are not eligible for merit award consideration.

Do you offer scholarships for National Merit Scholars?

Ohio State does not participate in the Merit Scholarship Program (administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation), though many applicants who are National Merit Finalists prove to be strong candidates for the university-administered scholarships described on this page. The university will honor Corporate National Merit scholarships for students who accept admission to Ohio State.


List of merit scholarships

Read more about eligibility and renewal requirements for merit scholarships.

One of Ohio State's premier merit awards.

Award amount: Full cost of attendance at Ohio State for eight semesters of full-time enrollment, plus an enrichment grant valued at up to $3,000 accessible after the first year of successful study.

Criteria: Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply. All applicants must apply to the University Honors Program. Finalists are selected based on the strength of their Common Application, a separate Eminence essay and a video introduction. Selections are based on outstanding academic potential, demonstrated commitment to service, and character. All majors are encouraged to apply. There is no “typical” Eminence Fellow.

How to apply for Eminence

Apply for admission to Ohio State by the early action deadline of November 15, and be sure to apply for Honors on the Common Application. Complete the separate Eminence Application Essay by November 23, 2020. Learn more about applying to be an Eminence Fellow.

One of Ohio State's premier scholarship programs, the Morrill Scholarship Program (MSP) offers scholarships and educational enrichment opportunities to academically talented students who are actively engaged in diversity-based leadership, social justice and service.

Criteria: The Morrill Scholarship is awarded on a competitive basis to students admitted to the Columbus campus for the autumn semester following high school graduation. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. MSP seeks academically talented high school seniors who will contribute to campus diversity and actively engage as advocates and champions of diversity, inclusion, social justice and academic excellence on campus.

Award levels: Distinction (the value of the cost of attendance), Prominence (the value of in-state tuition plus the nonresident surcharge for nonresidents), and Excellence (the value of in-state tuition for Ohio residents).

How to apply for MSP

On your admission application, indicate interest in MSP and complete the MSP essay. Be sure to include leadership and diversity involvement on the Activity List. We strongly recommend that applicants meet our November 15 early action deadline. Learn more.

The Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship is awarded to students who are Pell-eligible and demonstrate academic merit. 176 Ohio students are awarded each year, with an attempt made to award two students from each county.

Award amount: Full cost of attendance.

How to apply for Land Grant

Ohio residents who apply to the university by February 1 and file the FAFSA by February 1 will automatically be considered.

Award amount: $13,500 ($54,000 four-year value); can be combined with the Maximus, Provost or Trustees Scholarship.

Criteria: Those considered are non-Ohio residents (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) who are highly competitive as demonstrated through grade point average, class rank (if available), and ACT or SAT scores (if available).

How to apply for National Buckeye

Applicants who apply to the university by November 15 will automatically be considered.

Award amount: $1,000–$3,000 ($4,000–$12,000 four-year value).

Criteria: Those considered are Ohio and non-Ohio residents (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) who are highly competitive as demonstrated through grade point average, class rank (if available), and ACT or SAT scores (if available).

How to apply for Maximus, Provost and Trustees

Applicants who apply to the university by November 15 will automatically be considered.