With the cost of attending a private school reaching upwards of $40,000 per year at many institutions, getting a scholarship is critical for making college affordable. A full ride scholarship usually pays for a student's college tuition and fees for at least one academic year, which drastically reduces the cost of attendance.


All full ride scholarships cover tuition at the college, but other perks vary depending on the type of scholarships. Most full scholarships cover a student's fees that are charged on a tuition bill, such as a fee for using the gym and for student activities. Some full ride scholarships pay for a student's room and board on campus or give the student a stipend for living expenses off campus. The best full ride scholarships also pay for a student's textbooks, transportation to and from school, on-campus parking and classroom supplies.


Colleges often offer full ride scholarships to top athletes and students who excel academically. Students can contact the financial aid office at the college to ask about special application procedures for institutional scholarships. Another type of full ride scholarship is through the military Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Students train in the Army, Navy or Air Force while they are in school and receive full tuition plus a stipend for other expenses. High school students should also ask their school counselors about state and local programs that offer full ride scholarships.


A full ride scholarship allows the student to focus on studies and extracurricular activities without having to worry about paying college-related bills. Many students work while they are in school, which takes away time from school activities, but students with a full ride do not need to work. In addition, a full ride allows students the freedom to pursue unpaid internships and other summer opportunities instead of working. Last, the full ride allows a student to graduate without debt.


Some full ride scholarships only cover one year of school, which means that the student will need to have a plan to fund the rest of the education costs after the scholarship expires. If the scholarship is for the full four years, it likely has conditions that the student has to meet to maintain the funding. For example, the student might have to maintain a specific grade point average and complete a specific number of credits each academic term. Sports-related scholarships might require participation in intercollegiate athletics every year to maintain the funding.

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