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Abilene Christian University, Texas
Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas | Credit: Jeremy Enlow / Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University, Texas

The deal: Free tuition for all National Merit finalists and semifinalists.

The Preliminary SAT, or PSAT, qualifies some high school juniors for National Merit Scholarships. Among the 1.5 million students who take the test each year, only about 8,000 receive money from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. But some colleges will pay handsomely for National Merit contenders.

"National Merit finalists and semifinalists have enormous academic capacity and potential," says Kevin Campbell, chief enrollment officer for Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. "They help set a proper pace and level of student engagement in the classroom, and they partner with faculty on research projects. They enrich the academic experience for other students and faculty."

Abilene offers smaller awards to students who achieve National Merit commendation status.

Many colleges offer aid for National Merit finalists and semifinalists, but only a few offer full tuition. Among those is Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, which offers free tuition to semifinalists and pays room, board and fees for finalists.

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