Which schools have merit based aid for music (voice/orchestra)?

My child’s conservatory director noted that some liberal arts colleges give merit aid for musicians She gave Bucknell as one example. Does anyone know of others who do that?


The University of Richmond has merit based music scholarships.


When my 2018 grad applied, these schools had music scholarships available for nonmajors (which is what she was – they likely have them for majors too):
Lawrence University
St Olaf College
Whitman College
University of Puget Sound


The College of Wooster (Ohio) has merit-based scholarships for music, both voice and orchestra.


Skidmore does. Competitive.

My kid got free instrument lessons and $750 a year from Santa Clara.

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We had no financial need and did not qualify for financial aid, but D received pure merit/talent awards for voice at Eastman, SMU, Maryland, DePaul & Michigan SMTD.


@songbirdmama was your student a music major?

Mine was not a music major.

Yes. Vocal performance major.


Are you asking about liberal arts colleges that give music merit aid to music majors…or students who are not music majors?

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I think most small schools that have a music major do. Just look at the ones you’re interested in online and see if they offer one. They are usually called talent or performing arts scholarships. You don’t usually have to major in music to get one.

Oberlin, I believe. D22 just received an Oberlin email announcing a $10K scholarship for all students for 2022-2023.

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That is essentially a reduction in tuition that they are calling a “scholarship”.


Luther College in Iowa.

Trinity U and Southwestern U in Texas.

Many of the LAC’s offer some music merit. In our experience those scholarships are smaller. I believe my son was offered $7000 from Luther on top of a larger academic scholarship. The music scholarship was based on audition.
Southwestern offers $2500 to non majors and the amount offered to music majors varies. They require a separate application for the music scholarships. My D’s roommate was a music minor there.
You’ll really need to check the website of each college of interest and see how they award merit, or If they do at all, and whether it will make a difference in affordability for you.

St Olaf, Bard, Oberlin, Lawrence, Puget Sound, Luther get mentioned often for music majors.

S21 got $8,000/year from Whitman College with requirement to be in an ensemble, irrespective of major.

St Olaf and Lawrence both have excellent merit scholarships for musicians, whether they major in music or in anything else.

For students who are not majors. Thanks


As I noted upstream, one of my kids was a very strong musician who played an “endangered” orchestral instrument…and was state ranked on it. Played in Precollege orchestra and wind ensemble, had 9 years of private lessons prior to college.

She wanted to continue to play in a college orchestra, and did so for four years of college. She still plays. In college, she received private instrument lessons at no cost, and a $750 a year award for being in the orchestra.

Her music performance major sibling got a much much larger music merit award based on his audition. MUCH larger.

There are colleges that give merit awards to students who aren’t majoring in music. But the bulk of their music merit awards go to music majors.