The Gates Millennium Scholars Program provides highly coveted full ride scholarships to outstanding students from underserved backgrounds. This award specifically aims to assist students who show promise afford a higher education. To achieve its mission, the Gates Millennium Scholarship Foundation provides funding to reduce financial barriers that may prevent aspiring leaders to attend college. Furthermore, they aim to augment the representation of minority groups in STEM and related fields, where they are underrepresented.
In order to be eligible for the Gates Millennium Scholars Award, students must hold at least a 3.3 grade point average and have been engaged in activities where they acquired leadership skills. Furthermore, students must qualify for the Federal Pell Grant and be a member of one of the following minority groups: Asian American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic American, or Pacific Islander. All applicants are required to be a resident of the United States and must intend to enroll at an accredited institution within the U.S. full-time.
To be considered for the award, students must submit a completed application prior to the deadline. This application package includes several forms that must be completed by other individuals, so applicants will want to be sure to leave enough time to get the forms fill out by others. One form, called the Nominator Form, provides the committee with an evaluation of the students grades. A second form, called a Recommender Form, enables the committee to gain an understanding of an applicant’s leadership skills and their involvement in community service and/or extra-curricular activities.
The application cycle opens in early August of each award year and winners will be notified in March regarding their application status. One of the unique aspects of the GMS award is that for students who are lucky enough to receive this award for undergraduate degrees, may also have their graduate studies funded through the program as well. The awards may be renewed for up to four years of an undergraduate degree with no limitations on the areas of study. Students who wish to pursue graduate work and who plan to major in one of the eligible fields (engineering, math, public health, science, library science, computer science, or education) can receive continued funding. The exact amount of the award varies depending on the student’s individual financial circumstances. However, the award will cover the gap that remains after other awards have been applied or the unmet need of a student up to the cost of tuition.
Aside from the financial benefits, the Gates Millennium program also afford students with the opportunity to attend leadership programs which aim to increase student’s ability to develop their career and personal goals. In addition, they provide valuable networking experience to young students.
Students who are considering applying for the award, can find additional information on the GMS website: https://www.gmsp.org/publicweb/AboutUs.aspx. There is a frequently asked question section that helps guide students through some of the most common questions regarding the application. Additionally, students can explore the profiles of previous winners through the website.