Online Colleges with the Best Merit-Based Scholarships for Transfer Students 2024

Online Colleges with the Best Merit-Based Scholarships for Transfer Students - featured image

Author: Rai Antonio / Reviewed By: Melissa Anderson, M.S.Ed. / Reading level: Grade 10

Key Takeaways:

  • University of Arkansas offers extensive merit-based scholarships for transfer students, including Academic All-Star, Arkansas Transfer Achievement, and Phi Theta Kappa scholarships.
  • Southern New Hampshire University provides various merit-based scholarships for transfer students, such as the Alumni Leadership Scholarship, aiding in college costs.
  • In many programs, a cumulative GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is a primary eligibility criterion.

Transfer students have merit-based scholarship opportunities. Every year, college and graduate receive a total of 1.7 million scholarships. Public institutions award $46 billion while private sources give out over $7.4 billion.

Featured Programs

Merit-based scholarships help cut your college costs!

Online Colleges with the Best Merit-Based Scholarships for Transfer Students - fact

Online Colleges with Excellent Merit-based Scholarships for Transfer Students

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $9,748 (in-state); $28,772 (out-of-state)

UArkansas has among the most extensive merit-based scholarships for transfer students entering the fall and spring semesters! Plus, transfer students can choose between in-state and non-resident transfer scholarships depending on their residency status. 

The in-state transfer scholarships include: 

  • Academic All-Star Transfer Student Scholarship – Up to $10,000 annual award; awarded to “Academic All-Star” students from two-year colleges; renewable 
  • Arkansas Transfer Achievement Scholarship – Matches tuition from participating two-year colleges; awarded to transfer students with associate degrees; renewable
  • Chancellor’s Transfer Scholarship – Up to $3,000 annual award; targeted toward top graduates of two-year colleges; renewable
  • U of A Transfer Student Scholarship – Up to $2,000 annual award; targeted for top candidates; renewable
  • Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship – Up to $2,500 annual award; applicants must be top students and fraternity members; renewable
  • Transfer Student Advantage Scholarship – Up to $3,000 one-time award; applicants must be top students.

The non-resident transfer scholarships include: 

  • New Arkansan Non-Resident Tuition Award Scholarship – Between $15,200 – $17,000 per year 
  • Extended States New Arkansan NRTA – Between $9,700 – $15,200 per year

Southern New Hampshire University

Hookset, NH 


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $16,450

Transfer students at SNHU will find many merit-based scholarships that will offset their college costs in addition to the generous transfer credit policies.

  • Alumni Leadership Scholarship – Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate active student engagement and leadership qualities.
  • Dr. Jeanette A. Ritzenthaler Scholarship – Applicants must be from the Lakes Region, be in their junior year, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate active involvement in the school and community.
  • Howard Brodsky Scholarship Fund – Applicants must have attended the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program, with preference given to immigrant students and first-generation students. 
  • Martha Van Hyland Scholarship – Applicants must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and with demonstrated financial need.
  • School of Business Scholarship – Applicants must meet academic and financial need criteria.

Arizona State University

Scottsdale, AZ


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $12,051 (in-state); $32,193 (out-of-state) 

ASU Online transfer students pursuing undergraduate degrees benefit from the affordable tuition, merit-based scholarships, and other financial aid options offered by the nationally ranked public university. 

  • The Transfer Achievement Award doesn’t have a fixed award amount, but it’s awarded every year during the fall and spring semesters. Arizona residents with associate degrees from any of Arizona’s community colleges are eligible. 
  • The Andrew and Florence Brown Scholarship is intended for students with disabilities. The award amount varies but can be up to $3,000, and scholarship recipients must reapply every year. 
  • The Ethelmae S. Merriam Scholarship is also a disabilities-focused program with up to $2,000 award amount. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 GPA and submit at least one letter of reference.

Western Governors University

Millcreek, UT 


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $8,010

WGU’s competency-based learning model enables students to progress at their own pace and save money on their tuition. The online university’s affordable tuition can be further reduced by merit-based scholarships, including: 

  • The New Year Scholarship awards up to $2,500 and can be renewed for up to four terms. 
  • The StraighterLine Scholarship is a partnership between WGU and StraighterLine and is specifically intended for transfer students. Recipients can receive up to $2,000 at $500 for every six-month term and can be renewed for up to four terms. Applicants will only be considered if they have completed a minimum of four StraighterLine courses. 

In both scholarships, you must first be admitted into WGU to be eligible. Transfer students must be enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in education, business, information technology, or health professions to qualify.

Penn State World Campus

University Park, PA


Tuition per Credit: $642

Transfer students admitted into the prestigious Penn State World Campus can be considered for merit-based scholarships by submitting the FAFSA form and a single application. Applicants must check that their FAFSA forms are filed with the Office of Student Aid and ensure that they meet eligibility requirements, including a minimum 2.0 GPA. 

Being aware of the deadlines for submission of scholarship requirements is a must, with scholarship applications usually being accepted starting in October. The scholarship amounts are usually awarded in the subsequent spring semester. 

Penn State World Campus has over 40 scholarship programs, including: 

  • Summer Success Scholarship
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda
  • LGBTQ+ Scholarships
  • Penn State Libraries Scholarships

Transfer students choose from a wide range of academic disciplines, including Agribusiness Management, Biobehavioral Health, and Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations.

University of Massachusetts Online 

Amherst, MA


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $17,357 (in-state);  $39,293 (out-of-state)

UMass Online has generous transfer credit policies for prior work experiences and college-level credits that, when combined with financial aid options, result in substantial tuition savings. 

Transfer students can also apply for the MassTransfer Scholarships programs and, during the admissions process, will be invited to do so.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions administers the following scholarships:

  • The Community College Academic Honors Scholarship awards up to $2,500/year. It accepts transfer students from community colleges in the Bay State.
  • The Flagship Award, with its $6,000/year award amount, is intended for low-income or first-generation college students from Bay State’s community colleges.
  • The Honors-to-Honors Scholarship awards up to $6,000/year to high-achieving incoming college students from either a community college or the Commonwealth Honors Program.

UMass uses a holistic selection process.

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $25,040

Liberty University’s merit-based scholarships enable deserving transfer students to complete their degrees at substantially lower costs.

  • The Liberty Academic Scholarship program has varying annual award amounts based on the recipients’ GPAs. The award amount ranges from $1,750 for students with 3.0-3.19 GPA to $6,500 for students with 4.0 GPA.
  • The Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship awards $1,000 every year for up to four years to recipients. Applicants must be transfer students with at least a 3.5 GPA and PTK members.
  • The Virginia Two Year College Transfer Grant awards between $1,000 and $2,000 per year to recipients,
  • The Word of Life Scholarship awards between $1,000 and $1,500 per year for up to four years.

Liberty’s online programs are in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Information Technology, among others.

Colorado State University Global

Aurora, CO 


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $12,896 (in-state); $33,752 (out-of-state)

CSU Global’s transfer student-specific scholarship opportunities are: 

  • The CSU Global COSI Scholarship program awards up to $5,000 for every recipient over five consecutive terms. The amount can only be used for tuition payments. Recipients must be enrolled in either part-time or full-time status but during consecutive eight-week terms.
  • The CSU Global Mission Scholarship is intended for working adults pursuing their bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Applicants are evaluated based on academic progress and demonstrated financial need, among other factors.
  • The Degree Completion Scholarship welcomes transfer students with at least 50 approved transfer credits or an associate degree. The scholarship committee considers academic merit and financial need.

As a CSU Global student, you can also apply for the Academic Excellence Scholarship.

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $6,381 (in-state); $28,658 (out-of-state)

UF doesn’t just deliver excellent value in education but also welcomes the best and brightest transfer students with the prospect of qualifying for these merit-based scholarships. 

  • The Free Seat Program waives the tuition and fees for a single online bachelor’s degree course. Veterans and active-duty service members of the US Armed Forces and Florida National Guard are qualified. Non-traditional students are eligible, too.
  • The Grandparent Waiver of Out-of-state tuition and fees grants out-of-state students with grandparents who are Florida residents a waiver on their tuition and fees.
  • The Florida College Transfer Scholarship grants between $1,000 and $2,000 for up to 10 students for one year.
  • The Florida College Transfer Academic Scholarship awards up to $4,000 to two transfer students who are in the All-Florida Academic First Team.

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, MD


Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $7,704(in-state); $12,336 (out-of-state)

UMGC offers the following merit-based scholarships for transfer students: 

  • The Completion Scholarship for Community College Graduates is for community college graduates. It is for associate degree holders seeking a bachelor’s degree at UMGC.
  • The President’s Scholarship welcomes high-achieving transfer students. It offers up to $2,000 in scholarships.
  • Maryland Resident Success Grant and Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship are also UMGC scholarship programs.

How to Get Merit-Based Scholarships as a Transfer Student

Make the most of the merit-based scholarships by being proactive! Keep these tips in mind, and you can maximize your financial aid package.

  • Research the merit-based scholarships. Ask the concerned officials, such as admissions and financial aid officials.
  • Understand the eligibility requirements. They are usually GPA, demographic group, and degree program.
  • Submit the documentary requirements promptly. Check that your scholarship documents are in proper order. They should have the proper format.

Apply for as many merit-based scholarships in the college you’re transferring to. Follow up on your scholarship applications.

Most importantly, be persistent in the face of rejection! You may not get scholarships on your first attempt – do it again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does merit-based mean?

Merit-based means the selection criteria don’t include financial need. Instead, the scholarships will be awarded based on non-financial need factors like:

  • Academic achievements, usually based on GPA
  • Extraordinary talents or skills, such as in sports, the arts and science, and entrepreneurship
  • Belonging to a specific demographic, such as race, gender or tribe
  • Demonstration of community service and leadership

What colleges give the most merit scholarships?

Several public and private colleges offer substantial merit-based scholarships that are intended to attract the best and brightest to their ranks. These include the University of Michigan, New York University, Smith College, University of Arizona, and Harvard College.

Can a transferee get a merit scholarship in college?

Yes, transfer students are eligible for merit-based scholarships, as discussed above.

Do transfer students get merit-based scholarships in Ivy League schools?

No, not because transfer students are discriminated against but because Ivy League schools don’t offer merit-based scholarships of any kind to current and prospective students. Instead, these prestigious institutions meet 100% of their prospective students’ demonstrated financial need.

What is the most important requirement for a merit scholarship?

Most, if not all, merit-based scholarships consider academic performance and achievements as the most important eligibility requirement. In many programs, a cumulative GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is a primary eligibility criterion.


  • US News & World Report 
  • Education Data Initiative
  • LinkedIn 
  • College Vine