What Does a Full Scholarship Mean?

When you hear that someone got a "full scholarship," you are excited for the recipient, but then you may wonder what that term actually means. Generally, a full scholarship means that the student is only responsible for paying for personal expenses and certain expenses related to going to college not covered by the scholarship. It is important to read through the scholarship details of each college, however, to understand its specific full-scholarship package. As a testament to this, some athletes are finding that their "full" scholarships do not completely cover what they have to pay to attend college.

Different for Each College

Colleges' full-scholarship amounts may vary, depending on the cost of attendance at the college and funding the college has for full scholarships in any given school year. Each college may cover only certain expenses as well, meaning that some full scholarships may be more generous in what they cover than others.

Tuition and Fees

Getting a full scholarship means that the cost of tuition and fees are completely covered for the student. Full scholarships are often renewed for the full four years it takes to complete an undergraduate education. At the graduate level, the tuition and fees may be covered for two years for a master's program or more at the doctorate level.

Room and Board

A student's room and board is also often covered in a full scholarship. This means that the costs of housing and eating on campus are covered in most cases.


Some full scholarships provide funding for extra costs of college above and beyond tuition and fees and room and board. These might include the costs of books, travel expenses, health insurance (which is required on many college campuses), and supplies (computer, notebooks, pens, for example). Some full scholarships also include a work/study program for the student to earn extra cash for personal expenses. This may also take the form of a summer job to cover personal expenses.