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New Freshman Scholarships

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

Welcome to BYU! We're so happy you are considering coming here. You should apply for freshman scholarships during your senior year of high school, even if you plan to leave on your mission before attending BYU. As a prospective new freshman, you are eligible to apply for undergraduate scholarships beginning with the term/semester you are admitted. You must complete a scholarship application by the appropriate deadline in order to be considered. You must also apply for admissions by the admissions deadline. Also, the Russell M. Nelson, Heritage, and National Merit scholarships require your ACT or SAT score for consideration. Make sure to send your scores to BYU. We will use the highest ACT or SAT score we receive, even if it's not the one on your admissions application.

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 if you do not complete this federal need analysis, you do not have financial need.

Available Scholarships

  • 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. You must also submit your ACT or SAT score for consideration.

  • The Heritage Scholarship is an eight-semester, full Latter-day Saint tuition scholarship awarded to incoming freshman students. These scholarships honor the intellectual, spiritual, and cultural heritage of the Church and the university. Heritage Scholarships require your ACT or SAT score for consideration.

  • 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. Also, BYU-sponsored National Merit Scholarships require your ACT or SAT score for consideration.

    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.

  • 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.

  • University scholarships are awarded for 1/2 or full Latter-day Saint tuition. Scholarships are awarded based on a holistic review of several factors that include academic performance, rigor of program, and financial need. Particularly because of the financial need component, we strongly recommend that you fill out the essay section of the scholarship application to be considered for all possible scholarships.

  • BYU administers private scholarships donated to BYU by individuals, companies, trusts, etc. for students who fit within certain criteria, such as descendants of scholarship donors, members of a specific area, ward, or stake, or graduates of certain high schools. In such cases, BYU determines the recipients of these scholarships. Typically, the scholarships cover 1/2 or full Latter-day Saint tuition.

    Though optional, we strongly recommend students fill out the essay section of the scholarship application to be considered for all possible scholarships, since we often use the essays to identify which students fit the criteria for these scholarships. We also use information collected in the Geographical Information and the Descendant sections to award these scholarships, so we recommend filling out those sections as well.

  • Need-based scholarships are awarded based primarily on financial need but with academic performance as a component for consideration. Scholarships are typically awarded for 1/2 or full Latter-day Saint tuition. Need-based scholarships require completion of the FAFSA each year by January 20th for the upcoming academic year. (Note: For the 2024-2025 only, the deadline to submit the FAFSA for scholarship consideration has been extended to March 22, 2024. The deadline to submit the scholarship application, however, did not change. It was December 15, 2023).

    Though optional, we also strongly recommend completing the essay section of the scholarship application to be considered for all possible scholarships based on your circumstances.

  • Departmental scholarships are awarded directly through the department. Most departments don't offer scholarships to entering freshmen; however, you can check to see if your department does award scholarships to freshmen by contacting the department directly or reviewing the Departmental Scholarships page.