Eligibility Criteria

Participating in First Scholars™ includes an annual scholarship of $5,000, renewable for an additional 3 years for a total maximum reward of $20,000. The program is open to incoming first-time, full-time freshmen whose parents have no more than two years of education beyond high school and no post-secondary degree.

Program participants must:

  • Be a first-generation student, which means that your parents have no more than two years of education beyond high school and no post-secondary degree, including an Associates or Bachelors degree.
  • Be an incoming first-time, full-time freshman.
  • Apply, and be admitted to the University.
  • Demonstrate financial need.
  • Perform in the mid-range of the university’s admission standards (minimum 3.0 core high school GPA, 20 – 25 composite ACT score or 950 – 1140 combined math and verbal SAT scores).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen as defined and permitted under Federal or state law.
  • Be eligible for in-state student tuition at the affiliate university.
  • Intend to live on campus and apply for campus housing by the required dates.
  • Apply for financial aid by the university's deadline by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or qualify for financial aid as defined and permitted under Federal or state law. 
  • Complete the Student Strengths Inventory™ (SSI), a non-academic assessment of your potential for success.
  • Be willing to fully participate in the First Scholars program and activities.

First Scholars will be selected based on our eligibility criteria and the results of the SSI. If selected, First Scholars will provide opportunities to maximize success in college and help each Scholar create an individualized plan.


Each First Scholars recipient will be granted up to four one-year scholarships toward undergraduate studies, provided he or she:

  1. Maintains full-time student status (as defined by the university).*
  2. Maintains a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  3. Stays on track to graduate on schedule (attains an average of 30 credits per academic year).
  4. Demonstrates commitment and full involvement in the First Scholars program, including developing and following an individualized strategic plan and participating in required activities.
  5. Completes the service requirement for the academic year.

*Although most universities consider students who are taking 12 credit hours per semester to have full-time status, taking 12 credits per semester does not keep you on pace to graduate in four years. Please keep in mind that this scholarship covers four years. In order to stay on track to graduate in four years, you should aim to earn an average of 30 credits per year. Consult your advisor to verify the exact number of credit hours needed to earn your particular degree.