Merit-based scholarships

Rewarding academic achievement

For the incoming freshman class of 2019

For most awards, we consider academic achievement only. For others, financial need is also considered. International freshmen are not eligible for merit scholarships.

Ohio State's merit-based scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis and are not guaranteed.

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 1 early action deadline. However, three scholarships require additional steps or have different deadlines (see details in the scholarship descriptions below):

  • Eminence Fellows Program and Scholarship
  • Morrill Scholarship Program
  • Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship

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?

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 1).

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

These scholarships cannot be combined, with the exception of the National Buckeye Scholarship. 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 four years, plus a $3,000 enrichment grant 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 Ohio State University Honors Program. Eminence Fellows are selected on the basis of outstanding potential and all majors are encouraged to apply. There is no “typical” Eminence Fellow.

Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Scholarship
    • Strong standardized test scores and GPA
    • Top 10 percent (and above) class rank
    • Curiosity as demonstrated by research or equivalent experiences
  • Service
    • Demonstrated commitment to a cause, program, issue or idea
    • Demonstrated commitment to improving life for others
  • Communication
    • Written expression through essays (Common/Coalition and Eminence)
    • Video introduction through a 2-minute YouTube link

Additional consideration will be given to:

  • Service that extends beyond high school organizations and groups
  • Leadership that threads through academics and service
  • Depth and breadth in involvement, experiences and leadership
  • Collaborative spirit and teamwork-inspired experience

How to apply for Eminence

  1. Applicants must meet our November 1 early action deadline. When completing the admission application, applicants must indicate their interest in University Honors and complete the associated essay.

  2. Within 1-5 days, the applicant will receive an email that acknowledges Ohio State's receipt of his or her admission application and provides a unique Ohio State username (lastname.#), along with instructions on activating this username and setting up a password.

  3. Applicants must then complete the Eminence application by November 12, 2019. The applicant's Ohio State username and password are required. The applicant does not need to wait for an admission decision to submit the Eminence application.

  4. Applicants who 1) are admitted to Ohio State, 2) are offered Honors affiliation and 3) have submitted the Eminence application will be reviewed for this award. The top 75 finalists will be invited to interview via Skype/Zoom and also invited for a special campus visit that will take place on Friday, February 28, and Saturday, February 29, 2020. Attendance at Finalist Weekend is required.

The Eminence Application will open in August. Learn more about the Eminence Program.

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

Criteria: Applicants should be academically exceptional high school seniors who will contribute to campus diversity and actively engage as advocates and champions of diversity, inclusion and academic excellence on campus.

Award levels: Distinction (the value of the cost of attendance), Prominence (the value of tuition), and Excellence (the value of in-state tuition).

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 1 early action deadline. Learn more.

The Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate both academic merit and financial need. 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 who rank in the top 25 percent of their graduating classes and have an ACT composite score of 29 or higher or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math score equivalent of 1330 or higher.

How to apply for National Buckeye

Applicants who meet the criteria and apply to the university by November 1 will automatically be considered.




Annual award
$3,000 ($12,000 over four years)
$2,000 ($8,000)
$1,000 ($4,000)

Achievements of those considered:

Class rank
Top 3%
Top 10%
Top 20%
ACT composite
33 or higher
31 or higher
30 or higher

SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math

1450 or higher
1390 higher
1360 higher

How to apply for Maximus, Provost and Trustees

Applicants who meet the criteria and apply to the university by November 1 will automatically be considered.