First Year Freshmen Scholarships and Grants

Academic recruiting scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded to entering first year freshmen based on 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 First-Year Freshmen Scholarships should submit their Undergraduate Admissions application and all required materials by the Regular Decision deadline of January 2.

First Year Freshmen Scholarships

All first year 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 are 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). Other educational expenses may include study abroad, specialized coursework and dedicated mentoring. Selection is based on a review of top applications to the Clemson University Honors College and a rigorous interview process.

  • South Carolina Residents

    Entering first year students who are residents of South Carolina are considered for one of the following recruiting scholarships.

    Resident Merit Scholarship (or Other Named Scholarship)

    • Students who receive the SC Palmetto Fellows Scholarship and meet certain requirements, such as class rank and test scores, will be considered for a renewable merit award.

    • Students who receive the SC LIFE Scholarship and meet certain requirements, such as class rank and test scores, will be considered for renewable scholarships awarded from our endowments or annual scholarships.

    • Students who show financial need through their FAFSA application will be considered for renewable grant funds as well as merit awards offered. 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 first year freshmen (in-state or out-of-state) for scholarships funded by alumni and other friends of the University. 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 that do not calculate class rank will still be considered for merit awards.

    **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 an exceptional high school academic record will be considered for a renewable merit award.

    • Students who show financial need through their FAFSA application will be considered for renewable grant funds as well as merit awards offered. 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 first year freshmen (in-state or out-of-state) for scholarships funded by alumni and other friends of the University. 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 that do not calculate class rank will still be considered for merit awards.

    **Weighted rank (if applicable) is used in this determination.

  • National Merit Scholarship

    National Merit award recipients are selected by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and reported to Clemson University. Scholars could receive one of three scholarships: Freshmen Award, Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship, or Clemson-sponsored Merit Finalists.

    • The Freshman Award is $2,500 and available during their first year. Beginning with new first-year freshmen students entering in the 2020-21 academic year and after, the Freshman Award will remain $2,500, but the award may be renewed annually at $1,500, in the form of a Clemson University scholarship, for the sophomore through senior years.
    • The Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship is an amount determined and renewed by National Merit.
    • The Clemson-sponsored Merit Finalists will receive $1,500 per year (beginning for students entering in Fall 2020) renewable for 4 years total (8 semesters).

    Except for former Freshman Award recipients, no additional institutional funds are granted to recipients of any National Merit scholarship. Incoming and returning recipients of any of the above awards should not expect these scholarship funds to be added to their financial aid package until after all public announcements by National Merit have been made, typically in mid to late July.

  • Scholarship Renewal

    Renewal criteria for most scholarships are a 3.0 GPA and a minimum of 12 credits completed each semester (24 credits per school year). Scholarship renewal for the following academic year is checked at the end of the previous spring semester. Summer sessions are available to improve GPA or earn credit hours needed to renew scholarships.

    The Out-of-State Tuition award recipients will receive a named award (typically donor-funded) of up to $500. This named award is included in the total amount of the award offer and is renewable for up to eight semesters. Students receiving Out-of-State Tuition scholarships may receive a prorated amount for the Summer session based on meeting renewal requirements and available funding. The Financial Aid Request Form for Summer Enrollment deadline for Out-of-State Tuition Scholarships is May 10.

    Renewable awards are reviewed each year and can be renewed for three additional years of continuous undergraduate study. Renewable awards are based on all eligibility requirements including the cost of attendance over awards, and available funding from the State, University and CU Foundation funding.