First-Year Student Scholarships

Fall 2020 Merit Scholarships 

Presidential Scholarships:  $30,000 annually ($120,000 total)

Honors at Entrance Scholarships:  $29,000 annually  ($116,000 total)

Gael Scholar’s Awards:  $25,000 annually ($100,000 total)

Benildus Awards: $16,000 annually ($64,000 total)

Cordero Awards: $7,000 annually ($28,000 total)

To apply: Decisions are determined at the time of acceptance, no additional forms are required to be considered for these scholarships. These awards are determined at the time of freshman admission and applied to each of four years of consecutive full-time undergraduate study--toward your first bachelor's degree--at Saint Mary's. Merit scholarships are contingent upon successful academic progress while enrolled at Saint Mary's. These amounts may be combined with other Saint Mary's College merit scholarships, and do not include possible additional need-based aid for which students might qualify. Please contact the Office of Admissions concerning criteria. 

Lasallian and/or Lasallian Affiliated School Scholarships

Lasallian Leadership Awards: $13,000 annually ($52,000 total)

These awards are available to admitted students graduating from De La Salle Christian Brothers high schools who have 3.5 > cumulative weighted academic grade point averages. Students from other historically Lasallian affiliated schools (Carondelet High School in Concord, CA; San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, CA;  Garces Memorial in Bakersfield, CA) may also qualify. Recipients can combine these awards with one of the listed merit scholarships determined at the time of acceptance.

To apply: Decisions are determined at the time of acceptance, no additional forms are required to be considered for these scholarships.

A note about merit-based scholarships:

The total of merit scholarships cannot exceed Saint Mary's College tuition. Merit awards are applied towards any demonstrated need-based aid eligibility. Students who receive the combination of the Presidential and Lasallian Leadership scholarships may compete for any other merit awards; the maximum number of merit awards a student may receive is three. If the combination of merit scholarships and Cal Grant or the Tuition Exchange award exceed tuition, the merit scholarship will be reduced.

Need-Based Aid 

Saint Mary's College General Scholarships:  $1,000-$28,000 annually

To apply: These need-based grants depend on student demonstrated financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Other endowed scholarships have additional criteria, such as geographic qualifications or ethnic heritage. (e.g., the Joseph David Cardoza scholarship for students of Portuguese decent). Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have additional questions.

Departmental Scholarships

Annual merit scholarships of $13,000 ($52,000 total) are available to selected incoming first-year students. Departmental programs will also award a total of three merit-based full-tuition scholarships for notable academic excellence.

To apply: Students may only compete for one Departmental Scholarship. To be considered, applicants must submit all Saint Mary's application materials Common Application, high school transcript, a letter of recommendation, ACT or SAT scores on or before the admissions application deadline of January 15th.

Apply for departmental scholarshipS 

  • Additional materials and letter(s) of recommendation can be sent to:

  • Invited applicants must interview with faculty from their department of interest on campus during our Scholarship Saturday event held on SaturdayFebruary 27, 2021
    • Auditions for Performing Arts Scholarships TBA

Saint Mary's offers scholarship opportunities for students who are interested in majoring in the following subjects: 

  • Accounting and Business Administration
Application Materials:
Brief 1-page essay (describing academic goals and career pursuits)

Submit the self nomination form
*Only a handful of students who self-nominate will be selected to interview*
**Declaration of SEBA major (Business Administration or Accounting) is required at entrance

Apply for ACCOUNTING/BUSINESS scholarship 

  • Art Practice and Visual Arts

Application Materials:
An essay (<500 words), describing the applicant’s interest and qualifications for the scholarship
Two letters of recommendation from teachers and/or others addressing the applicant’s qualifications
A DVD or online portfolio of original work (video as well as artwork of other digital or traditional mediums)
List of software skills
List of any relevant art projects including titles, duration's, and synopses

Apply for ART PRACTICE scholarship 

  • English

Application Materials:
Two letters of recommendation, one to be written by the applicant’s junior or senior year high school English teacher
 Two essays. The first should explain (in 500 words or fewer) why the applicant wishes to major in English. The second (1,000-1,250 words) should analyze a literary text. Applicants may also include a sample of their creative writing.

Apply for English scholarship 

  • History

Application Materials:
A list of history classes taken in high school including the titles of texts read in each class
Essay 1:  500 words addressing your interest in studying history
Essay 2:  250 words describing your leadership ability experience
Two letters of recommendation from teachers/one being from a history teacher

Apply for history scholarship 

  • Integrated Liberal Arts and Sciences (the Integral Program)

Application Materials:
Two letters of recommendation from individuals testifying  to the applicant’s interest in the Integral Program
A portfolio illustrating a commitment to inquiry based on the reading and discussion of primary texts. Applicants are invited to be inventive in constructing their portfolios
A short cover letter (no more than 250 words) introducing the portfolio and indicating the student's interest in the Integral Program should be included

Apply for integral program scholarship 

  • Mathematics (Bro. Dominic Barry Math Competition)

Application Materials:
Register for Math Competition*
*Students interested in participating in the Scholarship Competition must participate in the competition on campus Saturday, February 27, 2021 to be eligible to receive the scholarship.

Apply for mathematics scholarship 

  • Performing Arts (Audition Required)
    Annual merit scholarships of $13,000 are available to selected incoming first-year students who major or minor in Theatre, Dance or Music. The Performing Arts department will also award up to two merit-based full-tuition scholarships for combined artistic and academic excellence.
    Apply for performing arts scholarship 

  • Physics 

Application Materials:
Submit a self-nomination form
Visit campus Saturday, February 27, 2021 to participate in the lab activity. You must participate in the lab activity to be eligible to receive the scholarship.

Apply for physics scholarship 

  • Politics

Application Materials:
A letter of recommendation from an individual testifying  to the applicant’s interest in politics
A personal essay (<750 words) addressing the applicant’s interest in politics and providing evidence in the form of personal experience, study, service, or career expectations

Apply for Politics scholarship

  • Theology and Religious Studies

Application Materials:
A personal essay of (<1000) words addressing the following:
Your interest in pursuing theology and/or religion, providing evidence of such interest in the form of personal experience, study, service, or career expectations. Describe why Saint Mary’s College would be a good place to pursue the study of theology and/or religion.
Two letters of recommendation addressing your intellectual interests in studying  theology and/or religion: at least one of which should be from an academic professional (e.g. teacher or guidance counselor)

Apply for theology & religious studies  scholarship 

Apply for departmental scholarshipS 

Other Saint Mary's Scholarships

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

Beginning for Fall 2020 applicants, the Alumni Legacy Scholarship valued at $2,000 is available to new first-year and transfer students who are the children or grandchildren of Saint Mary’s College alumni. Qualification as an 'alumni' constitutes successful completion of an Undergraduate (B.A. or B.S.) or Graduate (M.A., M.S., MBA, MFA, M.Ed, Ed.D) degree from the college. The scholarship amount for the Fall 2020 year is $2,000 and is annually renewable for up to three years of consecutive full-time undergraduate study, contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. 

To apply: Eligible legacy applicants will be automatically awarded upon contingent acceptance to the college.

*Please note: This award may be combined with other Saint Mary’s College Scholarships for up to a maximum of three separate awards, which may not exceed the cost of tuition.  These awards will be applied against any financial need that you may demonstrate through the filing of the Free Application of Federal Student Aid.  Please note that should you later prove eligible for any Pell and or California Grant aid, the maximum amount of gift aid that you will be awarded will not exceed the cost of tuition.

You may contact Jenna Sciarrino, Associate Director of Admissions, at if you have any questions.


Mentored Access to Programs in Science (MAPS)

The MAPS program provides a full-tuition scholarship program to high-achieving students with financial need interested in studying Biology, Math, Physics, Chemistry or Biochemistry.

To Apply:

The deadline for applicants is January 15, 2021. You will also need to complete a FAFSA by the February 15th deadline.

Apply for MAPS scholarship 


The Macken Collegiate Forensics Scholarships

Scholarships: 2,500-13,000 annually

To apply: In order to compete for one of the Macken Collegiate Forensics Scholarships, please submit a self-nomination form.

Self-nomination form

Saint Mary's Macken Collegiate Forensics program offers a variety of scholarship opportunities to incoming first-year, transfers, and currently enrolled SMC students.

Students are selected to receive scholarships based on their level of commitment to the Macken team, their competitive potential and contributions, and their academic standing.


Robert W. Summers Scholarship in Communication and Journalism

The Communication Department of Saint Mary's College is pleased to offer the "Robert W. Summers Scholarship Award in Communication and Journalism." This scholarship in Journalism and Communication offered to one eligible entering first-year student and one transferring or continuing junior each year. This $6,000 per year merit-based award is for Communication majors or those with a demonstrable commitment to journalism.

To apply: Students may fill out the form by clicking on the Robert W. Summers Scholarship button below. In addition to a brief (500 words) statement of interest, proof of 3.0+ GPA, portfolio of work on journalism (broadly defined) and one letter of reference, students must participate in an interview with a faculty member of the Communication Department during Scholarship Saturday.

Robert W. Summers Scholarship


Private Scholarships

Private organizations and corporations offer a variety of scholarships, which can be used to fund your education at Saint Mary's. See Private Scholarships and Scholarship Websites That Work for more information.

Veteran's Benefits

Saint Mary's is approved for the training of veterans and their eligible dependents under the various public laws which come under the direction of the Department of Veterans Affairs. We proudly participate in the GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Programs. Please visit here for more information.