MU increases merit-based, institutional scholarships

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In keeping with a goal to ensure higher education remains affordable for families, the University of Missouri recently increased the amount of merit-based scholarships awarded to undergraduate students.


The total amount of these merit-based scholarships, which are awarded automatically to MU undergraduate students, has increased from $78.2 million in fall 2021 to $92.3 million in fall 2022. In fall 2022, 75% of the incoming freshmen class received some type of merit-based scholarship. In addition, MU’s Missouri Land Grant program continues to help Pell Grant eligible Missourians by covering 100% of their tuition upon admission to MU.


Specific automatic, merit-based scholarships that Missouri residents are eligible for include:


  • Chancellor’s Award ($7,200 awarded to incoming students with at least a 30 ACT score, 1360 SAT score and 3.65 high school GPA)


  • Curators Scholars Award ($5,000 awarded to incoming students with at least a 26 ACT score, 1230 SAT score and 3.35 high school GPA)


  • Excellence Award ($3,500 awarded to incoming students with at least a 21 ACT score, 1060 SAT score and 2.95 high school GPA)


  • Provost’s Award ($1,000 awarded to incoming students with at least a 20 ACT score, 1030 SAT score and 2.50 high school GPA)


Specific automatic, merit-based scholarships that non-Missouri residents are eligible for include:


  • Tiger Border County Award Level 1 ($21,500 awarded to incoming students who reside in a county bordering Missouri with at least a 3.8 cumulative high school GPA)


  • Tiger Border County Award Level 2 ($17,000 awarded to incoming students who reside in a county bordering Missouri with a cumulative high school GPA ranging from 3.25 to 3.799)


  • Border State Award ($3,000 awarded to incoming students who reside in Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee with at least a 2.70 GPA, 18 ACT score or 960 SAT score)


These scholarships are automatically renewed each year if certain academic requirements are met by the student.


“College is one of the best investments you can make in life and our institutional scholarships help make that more manageable for families,” said Chuck May, executive director of admissions at MU. “As a land-grant, AAU, flagship institution, we’re proud of the value of an MU education and all the opportunities that result for our graduates.”


May explained that MU’s automatic, merit-based scholarships are awarded based on a combination of academic factors, including students’ high school curriculum, GPA and standardized test scores on the ACT or SAT exam.


“Students are able to retake the ACT or SAT multiple times if they want to shoot for a higher score in an effort to earn more scholarship money, and students can aim for higher grades as they progress throughout high school,” May said. “We are always looking at the costs associated with attending college in an effort to remain competitive, and by using a formula, students are incentivized to reach for the highest levels possible.”


The university’s efforts have paid off. MU continues to rank among the best value of national universities, including the No. 1 rank among public national universities in neighboring states (Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee), according to U.S. News & World Report. In fall 2021, the average ACT score among MU freshmen increased to 27, well above both the Missouri average (20.8) and national average (20.7).


“The biggest increase in scholarships we have seen recently are the automatic, merit-based scholarships,” May said. “We want to enroll the best and brightest students, and our faculty want to teach the best and brightest. So, I think our increase in institutional scholarships helps make Mizzou an even more attractive option for attending college.”


May has worked for nearly 30 years in the MU admissions department, starting as a recruiter before being appointed assistant director and associate director. He has served as executive director since 2015.


“Our scholarships help retain students, as our retention rate is nearly 90%,” May said. “They also help students after graduation as well, as a recent career outcomes survey shows a record-breaking 95.4% of recent MU graduates found jobs or continued their education within six months of graduating.”


May enjoys speaking with families of prospective students about the various opportunities available at MU.


“We are one of only two AAU institutions in Missouri, and giving out these merit-based scholarships helps attract the highest-achieving students to build upon the research that is already being done on campus,” May said. “Since MU is a land-grant university, we want to be accessible to Missourians, and very few institutions can say they cover 100% of tuition for in-state Pell Grant eligible students like us.”