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Minimum SAT/ACT Scores to Get Scholarships

Everyone knows that taking the SAT or ACT and getting a high score can increase one’s chances of getting admitted into more schools. Did you know that it can also help make earning a degree easy on the bank with the help of scholarships? In some instances, having a certain SAT or ACT score may let you win some scholarships automatically.

Having an SAT score of 1200 or an ACT score of 25 allows students to be eligible for low-level college scholarships. More competitive and prestigious scholarships offer students with higher SAT or ACT scores $10,000 or more. However, many prominent scholarships also require a certain minimum GPA.

How you fare on the SAT or ACT can spell the difference between winning a scholarship many students are dreaming of and paying for a college’s full sticker price.

This is why it’s a definite must to study very well for the standardized test — having an impressive SAT or ACT score, more often than not, is your key to going to the college or university of your dreams without spending a lot of cash. Although more and more schools are test-optional these days, taking the SAT or ACT is still a good idea.

If right now you are looking for a college scholarship to apply to, continue reading. Below, we will talk about various schools and organizations that award scholarships based on minimum SAT or ACT scores.

But before that, let’s answer this question many students looking for scholarships are too shy to ask…

Should You Take the SAT or ACT to Win Scholarships?

SAT scores
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Many colleges and universities and private groups award merit-based scholarships entirely based on SAT or ACT scores. In some cases, a combination of test scores and GPA is necessary for eligibility. Though there are test-optional and test-blind scholarships, many still require SAT or ACT scores.

It cannot be denied that standardized tests are immense sources of stress and anxiety among high school students. This is most true for those in their junior and senior years and gearing up to step foot on a college campus.

Nowadays, there is a growing number of US colleges and universities embracing a test-optional admissions process. It’s because of this why you may feel that taking the SAT or ACT is no longer necessary since you have the option to submit your test score to the school of your liking or keep it to yourself.

But if your goal is not just to gain admission into the college of your dreams but also to win a scholarship many students long for, then it’s a good idea to take the SAT or ACT, just like in the good old days. But it’s not enough that you take the standardized test — it’s of utmost importance that you get a high SAT or ACT score, too!

A lot of schools and scholarship-granting organizations take a look at test scores when selecting winners.

Sometimes, having an SAT or ACT score high enough makes you eligible for a college scholarship automatically. And in many instances, there is no need to submit any extra supporting documents. With guaranteed scholarships, going to college without being up to your neck in student loan debt has never been this easy.

Of course, you will have to work very hard for a few weeks to get standardized test scores colleges and private financial aid providers find high enough for their liking to win free money for your post-secondary education.

And this brings us to a pressing question probably lurking at the back of your mind…

Do Public Schools Offer Scholarship Programs?

Many public institutions give scholarships, just like private schools. However, financial aid awards granted by public schools are not as huge as those being offered by private institutions, including smaller ones. However, public schools are known to give more money for National Merit Scholarships.

Going to public colleges and universities is ideal for students who are on a tight budget.

That’s because the cost of attending them is so much cheaper than the cost of going to private schools. This is especially true for in-state students — the average difference between in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition at a public school is $8,990.

Despite being cheaper, a lot of students from low-income families cannot afford to go to public schools.

As a matter of fact, according to a 2017 analysis on the college affordability problem from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), college is unaffordable for most low- and middle-income students. Of the 2,000 schools examined, the investigation found that only one to five percent are affordable to low-income families.

$9,000 — that’s by how much many four-year public institutions missed students’ affordability threshold.

The good news is that numerous public colleges and universities also offer scholarships to make earning a degree even more affordable. What’s even more impressive is the fact that they tend to give more money for National Merit Scholarships than their private counterparts.

Applying for National Merit Scholarships can let you win money not only from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) itself but also from colleges. And that is by listing them as your first choice.

Since National Merit Scholarships are awarded to only 2,500 finalists, there is no guarantee that you will be able to attend college without ending up bankrupt.

Fortunately, there are many other scholarship programs you may apply for. Some of them are automatic or guaranteed, such as if your SAT or ACT score meets or exceeds the set minimum.

If you want to learn more about guaranteed scholarships, don’t stop reading now.

Schools Offering Automatic Scholarships Based on Test Scores

Are you happy with your SAT or ACT score?

If you are and would like to get rid of as much tuition and fees as possible, then consider applying to colleges and universities that give automatic scholarship programs based on test scores. There are no questions asked — you just have to show your impressive SAT or ACT score.

However, it’s not enough that your standardized test score is high.

To be eligible for automatic scholarships some schools offer, your SAT or ACT score should be equal to or higher than the minimum score they are looking for.

Otherwise, you can say goodbye to the opportunity of a lifetime, although you can still apply for other scholarship programs to help keep the cost of college from going beyond your means.

Below, you will come across some colleges and universities offering automatic scholarships according to one’s test scores. Under each school, you will learn the minimum SAT or ACT score necessary for a student to be eligible for an automatic scholarship program, and also the award amount given per academic year.

Let’s take a quick look at each one of them:

Baylor University

  • SAT score: 1300
  • ACT score: 30
  • Award amount: $10,000 to $21,000

A private Christian university and research institution, Baylor University is a high-ranking university in the Big 12 Conference, a collegiate athletic organization headquartered in Texas. Some of the school’s most popular majors are Registered Nursing, Biology, Accounting, and Finance.

Clemson University

  • SAT score: 1270
  • ACT score: 27
  • Award amount: $7,500 to $15,000

The institution is primarily known as an engineering school. It doesn’t come as a surprise why it’s third on Best Colleges Offering Online Degrees in Engineering by College Factual. Other popular majors at Clemson University include Management, Business, Marketing, and Biomedical Sciences.

Colorado State University

  • SAT score: 1150
  • ACT score: 25
  • Award amount: $1,000 to $10,000

The flagship of the Colorado State University System, Colorado State University is known as a party school. Despite this, the institution is well-known for its science and engineering programs. It’s also known for its dozens of research facilities, such as the Center for Earth-Atmosphere Studies and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Florida A&M University

  • SAT score: 1400
  • ACT score: 32
  • Award amount: $2,000 to $5,000

Short for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Florida A&M University or FAMU is the premier institution among historically black colleges and universities. Some of the leading programs at the school include Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, Journalism, Communication, Psychology, and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Florida Gulf Coast University

  • SAT score: 1120
  • ACT score: 25
  • Award amount: $3,000 to $15,000

It was only in 1991 when Florida Gulf Coast University or FGCU was established. Due to this, it doesn’t offer as many majors as most other schools. Many students apply to the party school, especially those who would like to major in the likes of Business Administration and Management, Resort Management, Safety Studies, and Psychology.

Georgia State University

  • SAT score: 1200
  • ACT score: 27
  • Award amount: $500 to $3,000

Because it’s located in the heart of Atlanta, it’s no wonder why Georgia State University has an unmistakable city vibe. To get from one building to the next, one must use crosswalks and buses. Business, Management, Marketing, Biomedical Sciences, Social Sciences, and Computer Information and Sciences are some of the school’s top majors.

Texas Tech University

  • SAT score: 1200
  • ACT score: 25
  • Award amount: $1,000 to $9,000

Making Texas Tech University a standout is the fact that its campus is made up of Spanish-style architecture, public art installations, fountains and lush trees. Education-wise, the school is known for majors such as Marketing, Business, Management, Engineering, Journalism, and Human Sciences.

University of Arizona

  • SAT score: 1420
  • ACT score: 32
  • Award amount: $750 to $35,000

Known for being a bit of a party school, the University of Arizona has fun student gatherings and Greek life, too. Some of the most popular majors the institution offers are Social Sciences, Engineering, Marketing, Business, Management, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Health Professions.

University of Mississippi

  • SAT score: 1050
  • ACT score: 23
  • Award amount: $2,000 to $8,000

The average freshman retention rate is 75%. The University of Mississippi has a freshman retention rate of 86%, indicating that most of the school’s first-year college students are satisfied. Popular majors at the institution include Accounting, Finance, Psychology, and Digital Communication and Multimedia.

University of Missouri

  • SAT score: 1200
  • ACT score: 25
  • Award amount: $3,000 to $15,000

Also known as Mizzou or MU, the University of Missouri is a public land-grant research university, and it’s the biggest learning institution in the state of Missouri. The school is well-known for majors such as Business, Management, Marketing, Communication, Journalism, Engineering, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  • SAT score: 1130
  • ACT score: 23
  • Award amount: $7,000 to $11,000

Las Vegas may be home to a lot of parties, but the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is not a party school. It has a 332-acre main campus located in a desert valley. Psychology, Social Sciences, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Business, Management, and Marketing are some of the school’s most popular majors.

University of Oregon

  • SAT score: 1220
  • ACT score: 25
  • Award amount: $3,000 to $10,000

In 2014, the University of Oregon ranked number 19 on the Princeton Review’s top 20 party schools in the US. Besides some fun and excitement, the school has other things to offer, too. They include a campus that’s green all year round and majors such as Business, Commerce, Economics, Social Sciences and Advertising.

University of Tennessee

  • SAT score: 1300
  • ACT score: 28
  • Award amount: $3,000 to $8,000

Some of the things that make the University of Tennessee appealing to students include parties, Greek life and sports activities. Besides those, the school also offers a wide variety of majors. Leading the long list are Engineering, Social Sciences, Communication, Journalism, Management, Business, Marketing, and Fitness Studies.

University of Texas at Arlington

  • SAT score: 1100
  • ACT score: 23
  • Award amount: $2,000 to $8,000

It may not be a party school alright. However, the students of the University of Texas at Arlington or UTA find it easy to make a lot of friends. That’s because it is an ethnically and culturally diverse school. Education-wise, its most popular majors are Liberal Arts and Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Science, and General Studies and Humanities.

Utah State University

  • SAT score: 760
  • ACT score: 14
  • Award amount: $750 to $21,000

Utah State University or USU is the oldest residential campus in all of Utah. It offers more than 200 clubs and organizations, not to mention it’s a Division I school. Economics, Special Education and Teaching, Business Administration and Management — these are some of USU’s popular majors.

There you have it — some of the colleges and universities in the US offering automatic scholarships based on test scores. But just a few important matters before we proceed to the next topic:

  • Some of the schools mentioned above (and also those that weren’t mentioned) require minimum SAT or ACT scores in certain sections. For example, you must have an SAT Math score of at least 700 to qualify.
  • In some cases, the SAT or ACT score requirements are different for in-state and out-of-state students.
  • Different schools offer different automatic scholarships. It’s very much possible for the SAT or ACT score requirement and award amount to vary from program to program.
  • Besides the requirement and award amount, the percentage of tuition covered by an automatic scholarship tends to vary, too, from one program to the next or from one school to the other. For instance, one automatic scholarship may cover 100% of the tuition, while the other may cover only 50% of the tuition.
  • Most of the time, a minimum GPA has to be met, too. For example, you will be eligible for the automatic scholarship at the University of Arizona only if your GPA is 4.0 or above. Otherwise, you will not receive the award even if your SAT score is 1420 or greater or your ACT score is 32 or greater.

Organizations Offering Automatic Scholarships

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Besides colleges and universities, many private organizations also offer automatic scholarships based on SAT or ACT scores.

In many instances, having a high test score is practically all that’s required for a student to be eligible for one. Some providers may also look for potential awardees with a certain minimum GPA.

And because many students would like to get their hands on scholarship programs, it’s a must to send your application before the deadline to prevent disqualification.

Without further ado, let’s check out some of these organizations:

American Indian Education Fund

  • SAT score: N/A
  • ACT score: 14
  • Award amount: up to $2,000

As the name suggests, the automatic scholarship program was established to support educational opportunities for American Indian students. It also offers scholarships to qualified Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students.

Bruce Fishkin Scholarship Fund

  • SAT score: 1100
  • ACT score: 22
  • Award amount: up to $200,000

For over 10 years now, the Bruce Fishkin Scholarship Fund has been awarding deserving students in their senior year of high school up to the entire cost of their college education. Besides meeting the minimum SAT or ACT scores, the awardees are also chosen based on a few factors, such as application essays and personal interviews.

Actuarial Diversity Scholarship

  • SAT score: 620
  • ACT score: 28
  • Award amount: up to $4,000

Because the aim is to promote diversity in the actuarial profession, the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship is intended for African American, Hispanic, Native North American, and Pacific Islander students enrolled full-time and pursuing a major that may lead to a career in the actuarial industry.

Maxwell Scholarship

  • SAT score: 1200
  • ACT score: 26
  • Award amount: up to $5,000

The Maxwell Scholarship helps high school seniors from Western Washington get their hands on a degree. The award can be renewed for three more years, based on financial need and progress toward graduation.

HOPE Scholarship Program

  • SAT score: 1160
  • ACT score: 24
  • Award amount: up to $500

Created in 1993, the Mission of the HOPE scholarship program is to promote and increase access to post-secondary education for students residing and studying in Georgia. It’s because of this exactly why HOPE is an acronym for “Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally”.

Florida Bright Futures

  • SAT score: 1330
  • ACT score: 29
  • Award amount: $212.28 per credit hour plus $300

Florida Bright Futures offers a handful of scholarship programs. Some examples are Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) and Florida Merit Scholars (FMS). Besides meeting the minimum SAT or ACT score, other requirements include being a resident of Florida and not having been convicted of a felony charge.

Just Before You Apply for a Scholarship

It’s true that many colleges and universities these days have a test-optional admissions policy. So, in other words, they allow applicants to decide whether or not they will submit their SAT or ACT scores.

Even though the schools on your list are all test-optional, it’s still a good idea to take the SAT or ACT. This is especially true if you find the cost of going to college too steep for your pocket. That’s because many schools and scholarship-granting organizations are helping students with certain test scores get their post-secondary education.

To be eligible for one of these scholarships, it’s a must to meet a certain SAT or ACT score.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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