Eligibility Criteria

After you’ve determined your eligibility, click here to apply.

Students who apply to the First Scholars program must:

  • Be a first-generation student, meaning 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 a first-time freshman who has applied and been admitted to NAU for the 2016-17 year. This includes submitting appropriate fees, high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores
  • Demonstrate financial need and complete the FAFSA/Free Application for Federal Student Aid online at www.fafsa.gov by Feb. 26, 2016.
  • Have an ACT/SAT score(s) between 19-25 or 920-1130 and/or a minimum high school core GPA of 3.0.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen as defined by federal law.
  • Be eligible for in-state tuition.
  • Complete the Student Strengths Inventory® (instructions to complete this assessment will be sent if you're determined eligible to be a First Scholar, and after the February application deadline).
  • Be willing to fully participate in First Scholars program and activities.

Students selected to be a First Scholar must:

  • Agree to attend an NAU new student Orientation in June 2016, date to be determined.
  • Agree to enroll in a designated NAU 100 course for First Scholars during the fall 2016 semester.
  • Agree to live on campus as a freshman in housing designated for the First Scholars Living-Learning community, and apply for housing by the required dates.
  • Participate in designated retreats, activities, workshops and service projects.
  • Participate in a mentoring program.
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA.
  • Transition to leadership roles as an upperclassman.
  • Understand that this is a four-year program that helps students achieve success.

Selection process and dates:

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

  • Application closes on Feb. 14, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. (all mailed applications must be postmarked by this date).
  • Students will be notified of their eligibility by Feb. 26, 2016.
  • Students will be directed to complete the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) assessment starting approximately Feb. 27, 2016. The SSI must be completed by March 6, 2016 (if an applicant does not complete the SSI by the deadline they are not eligible to be a First Scholar).
  • First Scholars’ Selection Committee’s process runs March 21 – April 1, 2016.
  • Selection date: students will be notified of their application status by April 11, 2016.


Participating in First Scholars includes an annual scholarship of $5,000, renewable for an additional three years for a total maximum award of $20,000.Each First Scholars recipient will be granted these one-year scholarships toward undergraduate studies each year, provided that the student:

  1. Maintains full-time student status*
  2. Maintains a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  3. Stays on track to graduate on schedule (earns 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.

*NAU defines a full-time student as 12 or more credits per semester. Keep in mind students should aim for 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year) in order to graduate in four years. The First Scholars scholarship is renewable for up to four years.