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New Freshman Scholarships

Information about the Presidential, National Merit, and Sterling Scholarships.

Prospective new freshmen are eligible to apply for undergraduate scholarships beginning with the term/semester they are admitted. All prospective students must complete a scholarship application by the appropriate deadline in order to be considered.

Freshman student scholarships will now include consideration of non-academic factors, including financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For awarding purposes, we will assume that students who do not complete this federal need analysis do not have financial need. Also, for the 2022-23 incoming class, ACT/SAT scores will be optional due to challenges in sitting for exams in many locations because of the ongoing pandemic.

Russell M. Nelson Scholarship

The Russell M. Nelson Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship offered at Brigham Young University. Recipients are among the most academically gifted students who enter the university. However, the scholarship is not awarded on academic merit alone. Recipients must also demonstrate the highest standards of character, leadership, integrity, testimony, devotion to the Church, and modesty in word, action, dress, and grooming, thereby modeling the values outlined in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.

We select 50 new entering freshman students each year to receive this award, which is valued at 150% of Latter-day Saint tuition for eight semesters. Applicants should complete the essay portion of the regular scholarship application. The scholarship committee will review that information as well as information from the admissions application to determine the recipients of this scholarship.

National Merit Scholarship

If you are a National Merit finalist, have listed BYU as your first-choice school, and qualify to receive a multi-year scholarship, it is possible you would receive a BYU-sponsored National Merit Scholarship which pays full LDS tuition for eight semesters; however, it is not guaranteed.

National Merit Scholarships are sponsored by three different entities. Scholarships are sponsored by National Merit, a corporation, or by a university. National Merit selects the scholarships they will be sponsoring, corporations select the scholarships they will be sponsoring and then a list is sent to each university listing everyone else who listed that school as their first-choice school. BYU evaluates the list and selects the students they want to sponsor. For a student to be selected as a recipient of a BYU-sponsored National Merit Scholarship, they must initially qualify for a Russell M. Nelson Scholarship or a Heritage Scholarship. If the student is a recipient of one of these two scholarships, is a National Merit finalist with BYU as the first-choice school and is not being sponsored by National Merit or by a corporation, BYU would then select them as a National Merit Scholar. If a student is being sponsored by National Merit or a corporation, they would not be eligible to receive a BYU-sponsored National Merit Scholarship. All National Merit decisions will be announced after June 1.

Students who are initially awarded a Heritage Scholarship and are then selected as a BYU-sponsored National Merit Scholarship recipient will have the Heritage Scholarship replaced by the National Merit Scholarship. The National Merit pays full member tuition for 8 semesters. The $500 basic National Merit stipend is part of full tuition. Students do not receive an extra payment.

If a student is the recipient of the Russell M. Nelson Scholarship (presidential scholarship) and is a National Merit finalist, he/she would receive the dollar amount of the Nelson Scholarship and receive the recognition of being a National Merit scholar. As stipulated by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the merit stipend would be $500. The Presidential Scholarship would supplement the annual National Merit stipend to provide the student with a total award of 150% of LDS tuition for eight semesters.

Sterling Scholarship Competition

The Sterling Scholar Award Program is sponsored by KSL and Deseret News. It recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement of high school seniors in the state of Utah.

There are several categories in which students compete. High schools may nominate one candidate to compete in each category and students may only compete in one category. Each high school determines how nominees are selected. From the nominees, they select a semi-finalist who will then move on to the Regional Level to compete.

The five regions are: Wasatch Front, Northeast Utah, Central Utah, Southwest Utah, and Southeast Utah.

If a student is the winner in his/her category on the Regional (or final) Level, BYU offers them a full member tuition scholarship for two semesters.

If a student qualifies for a scholarship offered by the Financial Aid Office separate from the Sterling Scholarship, we will offer the student whichever scholarship is of greater monetary value. For instance, if a student qualifies for a half tuition scholarship and is a Sterling Scholar winner in their region, we would offer them the Sterling Scholarship. If they qualified for a full tuition scholarship and they are a winner, we would offer them the original full tuition scholarship rather than the Sterling Scholarship.

If students will be going on a mission right out of high school, they will need to apply for admission to BYU for the Fall following their high school graduation to claim the Sterling Scholarship. We will defer the scholarship while they are on their mission. However, if they neglect to claim it right out of high school and then immediately defer, it will not be available.