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Freshman Merit Scholarships


We are dedicated to enrolling the most talented students, and we offer generous merit scholarships to back that up. These competitive awards are based on past academic performance and potential to excel at the university, not financial need.

Merit scholarships provide financial awards to some of the University of Maryland’s most academically talented incoming students. These scholarships are awarded automatically to select recipients who apply by the November 1 priority deadline. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents can qualify for the university’s merit scholarships.

Admission decision letters for priority applicants are mailed by the end of January, and merit scholarship award notifications are mailed beginning by mid-March. Students cannot appeal their merit scholarship decisions, and the university does not match award offers from other institutions. Awards offered to admitted students who do not enroll at the University of Maryland cannot be disbursed to other students.

To be considered for merit scholarships, students must submit a completed undergraduate admission application for the fall semester by the November 1 Priority Deadline. No separate application is necessary to be considered, but some scholarships require an on-campus interview. Students admitted for the spring semester are not considered for merit scholarships.

Students are only eligible to receive one merit scholarship. All merit scholarship decisions are based on academic and applicant information at the time of applying, not current or ongoing work. Additional eligibility requirements for each scholarship vary and can be found below.

The Banneker/Key Scholarship is the most prestigious merit scholarship offered to incoming Maryland freshmen. It can cover up to the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, a book allowance, and includes admission to the Honors College. In selecting Banneker/Key Scholars, the selection committee seeks to identify potential academic leaders, who as individuals and as a group, will enrich and benefit from the campus learning environment.

All freshman applicants who are admitted to the Honors College are considered for the Banneker/Key Scholarship. No additional application materials are required. The selection committee carefully reviews the entire application of each priority applicant, and semifinalists for the scholarship are invited to campus for an interview in late February or early March as part of the final selection process. Each fall, roughly 150 new Banneker/Key Scholars are welcomed to campus.

The President’s Scholarship provides four-year awards ranging from $2,000 to $12,000 per year. Both in-state and out-of-state applicants are eligible to receive the President’s Scholarship. Recipients are identified through evaluation of admission application materials including academic achievement, extracurricular activities, awards, honors, and an essay.

The Dean’s Scholarship offers annual merit awards ranging from $1,500 for freshman year or $4,500 per year for both freshman and sophomore years. The Dean’s Scholarship is not renewable, and only in-state applicants are eligible. Recipients are identified through evaluation of admission application materials including academic achievement, extracurricular activities, awards, honors, and an essay. Each fall, roughly 400 new recipients of the Dean’s Scholarship are welcomed to campus.

In addition to these scholarships, several academic departments offer merit scholarships to their most promising students. You should contact the department, college or school directly for information about availability, eligibility, applications and deadlines. 

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