Students in Ruth Taylor Courtyard
Of Our Own Merit
US News and World Report Names Trinity as No. 1 College for Merit Aid

Trinity University’s philosophy for merit aid is driven by the idea that a top-quality education should be accessible for all students motivated enough to make their college aspirations a reality. That philosophy is part of how Trinity grabbed the No. 1 ranking in the U.S. for universities that give out the most merit aid. After surveying more than 1,800 colleges and universities for their 2020 survey of undergraduate programs, U.S. News and World Report (USNWR) has placed Trinity at the top of its list for “Colleges That Give Merit Aid to the Most Students.”

“We recognize that college affordability is often the single biggest factor for students and families as they make difficult decisions and weigh post-secondary school options,” says Justin Doty, Trinity’s dean of Admissions. “As college costs continue to rise across the country, we believe it is critical to maintain a competitive merit scholarship program in order to attract and enroll high caliber and talented students to Trinity each year. Merit scholarships play an integral role in our ability to craft a strong and diverse first-year class while recognizing the hard work and accomplishments of our incoming students.”

Merit aid constitutes institutional funds awarded on the basis of academic accomplishments, such as GPA, curriculum rigor and test scores, as opposed to grants based on family financial need. Unlike student loans, these awards don’t need to be repaid, which allows students to consider more post-secondary opportunities by helping defray overall college costs. 

USNWR’s final list of best colleges for merit aid consisted of 13 ranked colleges where the highest percentage of full-time students in 2019-2020 received merit aid. Of these, an average of 46% of students received merit aid grants. At Trinity, 53% of students receive merit awards, which is more than triple the national average of 15%, according to U.S. News data. The awards range from $12,000 to $30,000 annually, which covers a substantial portion of the total sticker price of roughly $60,000 for the 2020-21 school year.

Trinity awards a range of renewable merit-based scholarships for incoming first-year students. The Murchison Scholarship, for example, grants recipients up to $30,000 a year. In addition, Trinity extends invitations to Murchison Scholars and other top applicants to compete for a full-tuition scholarship at the Trinity Tower Scholars Day competition prior to matriculation. 

Trinity also offers specialized merit scholarships such as the Semmes Distinguished Scholar in Science Award, a full-tuition award for students interested in STEM fields, Fine Arts Scholarships that award up to $10,000 for students exceptionally talented in art, music, theater, or debate, and the Trinity National Merit Scholarship of $2,000 for National Merit Finalists that list Trinity as their top choice.

Many of the merit scholarships offered are available in part because of donations to the Trinity Fund, providing more of the best and brightest with access to education.

Trinity University was also recently listed as the Best in the West by the U.S. News and World Report and the No. 41 liberal arts institution in the nation by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (WSJ/THE).

Sydney Rhodes '23 helped tell Trinity's story as a writing intern for Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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