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.

SMU Distinguished Scholarship
Deans' Scholarship
Second Century Scholarship
The Second Century Scholarship, Deans' Scholarship, and SMU Distinguished 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 Founders’, Second Century, or Deans' Scholars 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.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Scholars
Students who complete the IB Diploma Program will receive a $7,500 per academic year scholarship. This scholarship may be combined with other scholarship or grant aid from SMU, but in no case can the combination of institutional aid exceed Tuition and Fees for that academic year. 

Learn more about merit-based scholarships.

Providing need-based assistance

Your financial situation is unique, which is why 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.

How to apply
Simply submit two forms by your chosen application deadline: November 1 for Early Decision I and Early action or January 15 for Early Decision II or Regular Decision.These are priority deadlines. Both forms will be available October 1, 2016.

1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
for federal and state aid
U.S. and dual citizens and permanent residents seeking eligibility for federal and state sources of aid must submit the FAFSA each year.
Visit fafsa.ed.gov to file the FAFSA. Use SMU school code 003613.

2. The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®
for institutional aid
For SMU opportunity grants, you must submit a CSS/PROFILE financial application each year. This will give our financial aid advisors more information to further assess your financial need. There is a $25 cost for completing the CSS/PROFILE.
Visit student.collegeboard.org/profile to file the CSS/PROFILE. Use SMU school code 6660.

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: