You are here: Freshman Scholarships and Merit Awards

What scholarships are available to freshman students?

All admitted students, regardless of nationality, are considered for academic/merit scholarships for which they are eligible. In general, admitted students awarded scholarships have excellent academic credentials and exhibit exceptional leadership skills.

Most merit-based scholarships do not require an application for financial aid. However, we strongly encourage merit award candidates to complete the forms required for need-based aid, if they believe that they may need financial aid in addition to their merit award. Merit award recipients who have applied for need-based financial aid will be considered for any need-based aid for which they qualify beyond the amount of the merit award.

Freshman Merit Awards

The Admissions Committee makes all merit-based scholarship decisions and notifies students at the time they are admitted or shortly thereafter. Your admissions application is your application for a merit-based scholarship. No separate application is required for the following merit awards:

  • AU Presidential Scholarship
  • AU Deans' Scholarship
  • AU Leadership Scholarship
  • Frederick Douglass Scholarship

Freshmen Merit Aid Basics

Who is eligible?

Eligible candidates demonstrate academic excellence and rank within the top 10 to 15 percent of AU's admitted students.

How much can I receive?

Scholarships range from $6,000 to $30,000.

How do I apply?

All students are considered on the basis of their admissions application; a separate application is required only for the FDDS and United Methodist scholarship.

Is it renewable?

Scholarships are renewable for up to eight semesters of undergraduate study provided that scholarship recipients take at least 12 credits per semester, maintain a 3.2 or higher cumulative GPA and completes a total of 30 credits within the academic year (fall and spring semesters).

When will I be notified?

Freshmen receive notification at the time of admittance.


Freshman Scholarships

Some students may be eligible for the following scholarships. Requirements and application details are outlined below.

  • AU Honors Scholarship

    First-year student who are accepted into the AU Honors Program for fall 2017 will receive a guaranteed $30,000 in combination of undergraduate merit awards. This includes a $20,000 Presidential Scholarship and a $10,000 AU Honors Scholarship. The AU Honors Scholarship is contingent on recipients maintaining continuous enrollment in the AU Honors Program. Should a scholarship recipient choose to withdraw from the AU Honors Program at any point during the year, the AU Honors Scholarship ($10,000) will be withdrawn, even if students meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress conditions.

  • Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program

    Eligibility: Please visit the program's webpage for detailed information.

  • United Methodist Scholarship

    Eligibility: Children of an active, ordained Methodist minister. Applicants must submit a letter identifying themselves as the children of a Methodist minister. Contact Jennifer Baron Knowles, Kay Spiritual Life Center Assistant Director at jbaron@american.edu or at 202-885-3321.

  • Athletic Scholarships

    Eligibility: Outstanding freshman and transfer athletes. Contact Athletics at 202-885-3000.

  • Tuition Exchange Scholarships

    At American University, Tuition Exchange (TE) is a competitive, merit-based scholarship. In order to apply for the scholarship, parents of students applying to the university must contact their university's Tuition Exchange Liaison Officer (TELO). Their TELO will submit the application for TE on the family's behalf. The deadline to submit the TE application is the same as the admissions deadline your student is applying for:

    • Early Decision 1 freshman applicants: November 15
    • Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision freshman applicants: January 15
    • Transfer applicants: March 1

    Tuition Exchange is a competitive scholarship based on academics. TE applicants are ranked based on high school academics and then the top students in that pool are chosen to receive the scholarship. Last year, 5% of students that applied for TE at American University received the award. For the 17-18 academic year the award is a set amount of $36,000 per year and is not a full tuition scholarship.

    Continuing students (students that have already been at AU for at least one year) are also allowed to apply for the scholarship year to year. The process for these students is the same as for freshman applicants except that the due date to apply is always January 15.

    Students that receive TE must meet the following qualifications to be recertified each year:

    1. Maintain eligibility at their home institution and submits the recertification application by January 15th of each academic year.
    2. Takes at least 12 credits every semester.
    3. Completes a total of 30 credits within the academic year (fall and spring semesters).
    4. Maintains a 3.2 cumulative GPA or higher.

    Failure to meet these requirements will result in loss of the scholarship.

    For more information about Tuition Exchange please refer to the Tuition Exchange website or contact our Tuition Exchange Liaison, Kenneth Haltenhof, at hkenneth@american.edu.

  • Restricted/Endowed Awards

    AU is fortunate to have a number of annual and endowed scholarships that are funded by generous donors. Scholarships vary by school and may be based on merit, academic program, need or other factors as designated by the donor.