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 skills and are SMU's most prestigious merit-based scholarships. 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 for the Hunt Leadership Scholars for Class of 2022 is $42,000 annually, or a total of $168,000 over four years. The award also includes airfare and tuition costs for any courses during an international, leadership-based experience immediately following each scholar's sophomore year. An additional essay is required. 

Provost Scholarship, SMU Distinguished Scholarship, Second Century Scholarship, University Scholarship
The Provost Scholarship, SMU Distinguished Scholarship, Second Century Scholarship and the University 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 Provost, SMU Distinguished, Second Century or University 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.

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 scholarships 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.

Need-Based Assistance

Your financial situation is unique, which is why we offer a variety of options to meet your needs. These include SMU Opportunity Awards as well as state and federal sources of financial assistance, depending on financial need and residency.

How to apply
Simply submit the two forms below by your chosen application deadline: November 1 for Early Decision I or Early Action or January 15 for Early Decision II or Regular Decision. These are priority deadlines. Both forms will be available on October 1 of each year.

1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
This is for federal and state aid. To view eligibility requirements and complete the FAFSA, visit A FAFSA is required for each year you wish to pursue Federal or State-based financial aid. Use SMU school code 003613.  

2. The CSS Profile™ 
This application is used in conjunction with the FAFSA to determine eligibility for the SMU Opportunity Award. This application is not necessary to be considered for any merit-based academic awards. A CSS Profile™  and FAFSA are required for each year you wish to be considered for the SMU Opportunity Award. There is a $25 cost for completing the CSS Profile™. Visit to file the CSS Profile™. Use SMU school code 6660.

Grants and Loans

Grants and loans can also be a part of your SMU financial package. Please visit the links below for information and to apply.

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 semesters unless otherwise instructed by the donor/foundation. If you are receiving some form of an 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. Eligibility for campus-based employment under the Federal Work-Study Program is determined by the submission of the FAFSA. SMU student employees are paid biweekly and earning are not applied to University invoice costs.

Work options at SMU include: