Scholarships and financial aid

Merit-based Scholarships and Need-based Assistance

Merit-based Scholarships

SMU merit-based scholarships have been named among the best in the U.S. by The Student Guide to America’s Best College Scholarships. You will be considered automatically for these scholarships when you apply for admission. SMU has specific scholarships available for National Merit Scholars, International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates and many other scholarships for our top applicants. Additionally, Dedman College, Cox School of Business, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Simmons School of Education and Human Development offer scholarships to selected students who express an interest in a major in those schools.

The President’s Scholars Program
President’s Scholarships are awarded to students who have shown exemplary academic and leadership skills. The award is full tuition and fees plus study abroad. Students who live on campus also receive a scholarship for room and board. For consideration, students must have exceptional achievement on the SAT or ACT and in their high school curriculum.

The Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt Leadership Scholars Program
Hunt Leadership Scholarships are awarded to students with extraordinary leadership qualities and strong academic performance. The award is full tuition and fees, less the amount of tuition and fees at the leading public university in the recipient’s state of residency, plus study abroad. An additional essay is required. Click here to complete the online Hunt Leadership Scholars Application.

Cornerstone Scholarship
Founders' Scholarship
Second Century Scholarship

The Cornerstone Scholarship, Founders’ Scholarship and Second Century Scholarship are awarded to those students who have demonstrated outstanding academic success throughout high school – most importantly by presenting a combination of high school grades and standardized test scores that together place them among the top students applying to SMU each year. Students selected as a Cornerstone, Founders’ or Second Century Scholar are recognized as potential leaders in the classroom at SMU. This designation is based on information submitted in the application for admission and may be updated by sending additional SAT or ACT scores directly from The College Board or ACT, Inc. respectively. These scholarship offers are typically included in a student’s admission packet.

Learn more about merit-based scholarships.

Need-based Assistance

Your financial situation is unique, so we offer a variety of options to meet your needs. These include SMU-funded opportunity grants as well as state and federal sources of financial assistance, depending on financial need and residency. An undergraduate’s average need-based loan amount is $4,519 annually.

Start Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
For U.S. and dual citizens and permanent residents to be eligible for federal and state sources of aid, the first step is to submit the FAFSA. You must complete a FAFSA each year for continued consideration for state and federal financial aid. List SMU as your school of choice on the FAFSA. SMU’s school code is 003613. Submit your FAFSA by February 15 for priority consideration for need-based awards.

Start Your College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE®
For SMU-funded aid, you also must submit a CSS/PROFILE® financial aid application to the College Board. This application will give our financial aid advisors more information to further determine your eligibility for university need-based aid. List SMU as your school of choice on the CSS/PROFILE®, and use the code 6660. There is a $25 cost for completing the CSS/PROFILE®. Submit your CSS/PROFILE® by February 15 for priority consideration for need-based awards.

Grants and loans

Grants and loans that may be a part of your SMU financial package include:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • TEXAS Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG)
  • Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • SMU Need-Based Grant

Off-campus scholarships

If an adjustment to a need-based financial aid package is necessary, the outside scholarship will be used first to replace a student's earnings expectation, Federal Work Study and Subsidized Stafford loans before reducing SMU need-based assistance. All outside scholarships will be split 50/50 between fall and spring semester unless otherwise instructed by the donor/foundation. If you are receiving some form of outside scholarship, download the Outside Scholarship Form (PDF) and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Student employment 

National studies show that college students who work part time benefit financially, sharpen their time management skills and are more likely to remain in school. SMU student employees are paid biweekly, and earnings are not applied to University invoice costs. 

Work options at SMU include: