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Freshman Merit Scholarships

We are dedicated to enrolling the most talented and academically promising students. And we offer generous merit scholarships to back that up. 

Merit scholarships provide financial awards to some of the University of Maryland’s most academically talented incoming students. These competitive awards are based on past academic performance and potential to excel at the university, not financial need.

Students who submit their admission application and all required materials by the November 1 early action deadline are automatically reviewed for merit scholarships. No additional application is necessary. Please review the sections below for information on eligibility and when students are notified of scholarships they have been awarded.

In addition to submitting a completed undergraduate admission application and all required materials by the November 1 early action deadline, the following criteria also apply:

  • Only U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents can qualify for the university’s merit scholarships.
  • Students admitted for the spring semester are not considered for merit scholarships.
  • Some scholarships require candidates to attend an interview prior to a final award being offered.
  • Additional eligibility requirements vary by scholarship and can be found in the sections below.


Detailed policies for all merit scholarships can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid website. The following items also apply to the university’s undergraduate merit scholarships:

  • Students are only eligible to receive one merit scholarship award through the admission process.
  • All merit scholarship decisions are based on academic and applicant information at the time of applying, not current or ongoing work.
  • 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.

The Banneker/Key Scholarship is the most prestigious merit scholarship offered to incoming UMD 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 early action deadline applicant, and semifinalists for the scholarship are invited to an interview in late February or early March as part of the final selection process.

Banneker/Key Semifinalists will receive their interview invitation by March 1 and they will be notified of their final scholarship award by April 1.

The President’s Scholarship provides four-year awards ranging from $2,000 to $12,500 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. Selected students will be notified of their award by April 1.

The Dean’s Scholarship offers annual merit awards of $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 the incoming class. Selected students will be notified of their award by April 1.

We are committed to providing you with helpful information and resources that can assist in making a UMD education affordable for you and your family. Students admitted to UMD have the ability to find and apply for external scholarships through our scholarship matching tool, Scholarship Universe.

Additionally, 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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