All first-year applicants to Grinnell College are considered for merit scholarships. There is no separate application, but priority consideration for scholarships is given to students who submit their application for admission by December 1.

Grinnell College offers three categories of merit scholarships; each scholarship may be awarded to more than one student:

  • President’s Scholarship:  $50,000 per year, for a total of $200,000
  • Dean’s Scholarship:  $25,000 per year, for a total of $100,000
  • Founder’s Scholarship:  $12,000 per year, for a total of $48,000

Scholarships are awarded on a holistic basis during the admission process, taking into account each student’s academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, demonstrated leadership, and/or special talents. As a result, scholarships are awarded in the same way to students who are admitted in early decision and regular decision. All scholarships are renewed each year for four years of study provided the student maintains a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75.

While scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, they are considered a resource when determining eligibility for need-based financial aid.  For example, if a student has $22,000 of calculated need and receives the Dean's Scholarship for $25,000, this student would not receive need-based aid since the scholarship exceeds the need.

Currently enrolled students and recent alumni may also want to review the list of Scholarships and Fellowships administered by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service—including those for Grinnell-specific awards and for national, merit-based awards.

Note: as a member of the NCAA Division III, Grinnell College does not award financial assistance on the basis of athletic ability.

Scholarships for Iowans

Grinnell College is committed to students like you — bright, curious, open-minded students from our home state. Consequently, Grinnell College awards, at a minimum, a Founder’s Scholarship of $12,000 per year to every newly enrolled student who is an Iowa resident. This reflects our long-standing connection with Iowa and the way Iowa helps to define Grinnell. The most qualified Iowa residents admitted to Grinnell may receive the  Dean’s Scholarship or the President’s Scholarship as a replacement for the Founder's Scholarship.

National Merit Scholarship

National Merit finalists may receive a National Merit Scholarship from one of three sources, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), one of their corporate sponsors, or a college or university. If a student has not been selected by another source, Grinnell College can sponsor the scholarship for finalists who list us as their first choice school with the NMSC.

If you have questions regarding National Merit’s deadlines or how to designate a first choice school, please visit their website: or call (847) 866-5100. We recommend that when you pay your admission deposit, you also designate/confirm your first choice school with National Merit.

Grinnell-sponsored National Merit Scholarship:

  • $2,000 per year for eligible students
  • Renewable for 3 years as long as the NMSCs eligibility requirements are met
  • As part of a need-based aid package, student loan or campus employment may be reduced
  • Finalists selected for a non-renewable NMSC-sponsored or corporate-sponsored award will receive a Pioneer Grant in years 2-4 to create a total 4-year award comparable to the Grinnell-sponsored National Merit Scholarship.