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Freshmen Academic Recruiting Scholarships and Grants

Academic recruiting scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded to entering freshmen on the basis of their admissions applications, beginning in the fall. These scholarships are subject to change each year. A separate financial aid application is not required. Students who wish to be considered for Freshmen Academic Recruiting Scholarships should apply for admissions by December 1 and complete the admission process by December 31.

Freshmen Recruiting Scholarships

All incoming freshmen who file the FAFSA by Clemson’s January 2 priority deadline are considered for Federal Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, and all Federal loan programs. All recruiting scholarship opportunities are listed on this page and subject to change.

  • National Scholars

    The National Scholars Program offers Clemson's top academic recruiting scholarship (covering tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses) as well as extensive educational enrichment opportunities (study abroad, specialized coursework, dedicated mentoring). Selection is based on a review of top applications to the Calhoun Honors College and a rigorous, in-person interview process.

  • South Carolina Residents

    South Carolina residents are considered for Palmetto Fellows (application available through high schools), LIFE, HOPE, and S.C. Need-Based Grants through the state. Over 98 percent of all in-state Clemson freshmen receive either the Palmetto Fellows or LIFE scholarship.

    South Carolina Residents

    (A student may receive only one of the Resident Merit Scholarship, Clemson Scholars or Palmetto Pact.)

    Resident Merit Scholarship (or Other Named Scholarship)

    • Students ranked*** in the top 10 percent* of their high school class who also have at least a 1270 (EBRW+M) on the SAT or a 27 on the ACT composite will be considered for a renewable scholarship.

    Clemson Scholars

    • The top student at each South Carolina public high school, as ranked at the end of the junior year, will be considered for a renewable scholarship. Selected students from independent schools will also be considered for the Clemson Scholars Scholarship. 

    Palmetto Pact Scholarship

    • All students (except those already identified as Clemson Scholars) who enroll at Clemson and are awarded a Palmetto Fellows from the state of South Carolina will be considered for a renewable scholarship from Clemson. 


    Palmetto Fellows have the opportunity to qualify for one or both of the Presidential funds listed below. A Presidential Scholarship recognizes those Palmetto Fellows who have test scores above the incoming class average. In addition, a Presidential Grant takes into account those Palmetto Fellows who demonstrate substantial financial need as defined by the FAFSA.

    Presidential Scholarship

    • As an add-on to the Palmetto Pact or Clemson Scholars Scholarship listed above, Palmetto Fellows who score at least a 1450 (EBRW+M) on the SAT or a 32 on the ACT composite will be considered for the Presidential Scholarship which is an additional renewable scholarship. Test scores must be received in the Admissions Office on or before December 31 to qualify.

    Presidential Grant

    • As an add-on to the Palmetto Pact or Clemson Scholars Scholarship listed above, Palmetto Fellows who demonstrate substantial financial need based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be considered for the Presidential Grant which is an additional renewable grant. Incoming freshmen must complete the FAFSA online on or before January 2 to qualify.


    In addition to the awards listed above, Clemson considers all admitted freshmen (in-state or out-of-state) for our restricted scholarships, which are usually donated by alumni and other friends of the University and awarded to incoming students. Typically, about 15% of our admitted students are offered one of these scholarships.


    This list is not inclusive of all scholarships, eligibility criteria, or renewability requirements.

    The high school transcript submitted for admission evaluation will be the same transcript used to determine merit scholarship eligibility.

    * Students applying to Clemson from secondary schools which do not calculate class rank will still be considered for merit scholarships.
    ** Students with exceptionally high test scores who are not in the top 10% of their high school class will also be considered for merit scholarships.
    ***Weighted rank (if applicable) is used in this determination.

  • Domestic Non-S.C. Resident Students

    Out-of-State Tuition Scholarship**

    • Domestic out-of-state students with at least a 1360 (EBRW+M) on the SAT or a 29 on the ACT composite and who are ranked*** in the top 10%* of their high school class will be considered for a renewable merit scholarship of at least $7,500. Students with higher test scores will be considered for these merit scholarships up to $15,000 annually.

    • Updated SAT/ACT test scores must be received by December 31.

    Clemson Non-Resident Grant

    • All out-of-state students with substantial financial need, who file the FAFSA by Clemson’s priority date of January 2 and meet academic criteria of at least a 1360 (EBRW+M) on the SAT or a 29 on the ACT composite, will be considered for a renewable grant in addition to any other scholarship(s).


    In addition to the awards listed above, Clemson considers all admitted freshmen (in-state or out-of-state) for our restricted scholarships, which are usually donated by alumni and other friends of the University and awarded to incoming students. Typically, about 15% of our admitted students are offered one of these scholarships.


    This list is not inclusive of all scholarships, eligibility criteria, or renewability requirements.

    The high school transcript submitted for admission evaluation will be the same transcript used to determine merit scholarship eligibility.

    * Students applying to Clemson from secondary schools which do not calculate class rank will still be considered for merit scholarships.
    ** Students with exceptionally high test scores who are not in the top 10% of their high school class will also be considered for merit scholarships.
    ***Weighted rank (if applicable) is used in this determination.

  • National Merit Scholarship

    National Merit Scholars are divided into three categories: Freshman Award, Corporate Award, and National Merit Finalists.

    • The Freshman Award is $2,500 and available freshman year only. Clemson will then award $1,000 or $2,000 per year (based on need) renewable for the following three years beginning with sophomore year.
    • The Corporate Award is an amount determined and renewed through National Merit.
    • National Merit Finalists will receive $1,000 or $2,000 per year (based on need) renewable for 8 terms total.
  • Scholarship Renewal

    A student must continue to meet the minimum prescribed academic criteria. The criteria are usually a cumulative 3.0 GPA and a minimum of 12 credits completed each semester (24 credits per academic year). Academic standing will be monitored at the end of each academic year in May. Recipients who do not meet the scholarship criteria for renewal can make up their deficiencies during the summer session and/or submit a letter of appeal.

    Out-of-State Tuition Scholarship recipients will receive a named scholarship (typically donor-funded) of up to $500.  This named scholarship is included in the total amount of the scholarship offer and is renewable for up to eight semesters. The Out-of-State Tuition Scholarship is available only during periods of enrollment when the recipient is eligible to receive the recruiting scholarship stipend. Stipends indicated in the scholarship listing are maximums. Awards may be reduced because of funding or other aid awarded.

    • Renewable scholarships are reviewed each year and can be renewed only for three additional years of continuous undergraduate study.
    • Renewable scholarships are not renewed automatically; consideration will be given for scholarship continuation based on all eligibility requirements, other aid awarded and available funding.
    • Continued eligibility is dependent on the eligibility criteria established for each scholarship, including the minimum GPA requirement and the satisfactory completion of 12 credits per semester (24 credits per academic year). Unless otherwise noted, a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA is required for renewal of Academic Recruiting Scholarships. Academic standing will be monitored in May.

    Students receiving Out-of-State Tuition Scholarships may be eligible to receive a prorated amount of their scholarship in summer.