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Listed below are some of the nation's most prestigious, highly selective scholarships. There are many more nationally competitive scholarships available. Honors will help you apply for these scholarships and compete for the required university endorsement required for many of them.


Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provide up to $5,000 (or $7,000 for an academic year) for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to participate in study abroad programs in East or Southeast Asia. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study abroad costs. Recipients are required to carry out a service project following their return from studying abroad. Deadline for a fall or academic year award: early April.

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Fulbright Grants

36 USD Recipients

1 Finalist

The U.S. Student Program is designed for recent B.S./B.A. graduates, master's and doctoral candidates, and young professionals and artists. Projects may include serving as an English teaching assistant, undertaking university coursework, independent library or field research, classes in a music conservatory or art school, special projects in the social or life sciences or a combination. Applications are due in October, with an earlier campus deadline.

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Gates Cambridge Scholarships

In selecting Gates Cambridge Scholars, the trust seeks students of exceptional academic achievement and scholarly promise for whom further study at Cambridge would be particularly appropriate. Students provide evidence of their ability to make a significant contribution to their discipline, either by research, teaching or by using their learning creatively in their chosen profession. The scholarship will cover the costs of studying for a graduate degree at Cambridge. Applications are due in the fall, but students must secure admission to Cambridge before applying.

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Gilman Scholarships

13 USD Recipients

The Gilman International Scholarship Program provides up to $5,000 for undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study abroad costs. Deadline for a spring award: early October; for a fall award: early April.

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Goldwater Scholarship

  • 17 USD recipients
  • 3 honorable mentions

Approximately 300 scholarships are awarded on a state basis to students interested in a career in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering. Sophomores who apply are eligible for $15,000 in scholarship money to cover tuition, fees, books, room and board for the last two years of undergraduate education. Juniors are eligible for $7,500 for their last undergraduate year. Applications are due in January, with an earlier campus deadline.

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Boren Awards for International Study

8 USD recipients

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are excluded. In exchange for Boren funding, students commit to seek work in the federal government for at least one year. Applications are due in February, with an earlier campus deadline.

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Marshall Scholarships

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty students are selected each year to study at the graduate level at an U.K. institution in any field. Eligible applicants will be within two years of having received a bachelor's degree or in their senior year. Applications are due in October, with an earlier campus deadline.

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George J. Mitchell Scholarship

The Mitchell Scholarship is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to public service and community. Twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Applicants are judged on three criteria: academic excellence, leadership, and a sustained commitment to service and community. The Mitchell Scholarship provides tuition, housing, a living expenses stipend and an international travel stipend. Applications are due in October, with an earlier campus deadline.

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Rhodes Scholarship

10 USD recipients

Rhodes scholarships are awarded for study toward a degree in any field at Oxford University. Applicants must be 18-24 years of age, and have received a bachelor's degree by the time study commences. There are 32 Rhodes Scholars elected annually. The award consists of the direct payment of all university fees, plus a generous monthly stipend to cover college room and board and personal expenses. Applications are due in October, with an earlier campus deadline.

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Truman Scholarship

17 USD recipients

The foundation awards merit-based, $30,000 scholarships to juniors in college (defined as anyone graduating December-August of the upcoming year) who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service.

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Approximately 60 awards are granted each year on a state basis. Public service is broadly defined.  Applications are due in February of the junior year, but have a December campus deadline.

Udall Scholarships

  • 10 USD recipients
  • 1 honorable mention

The foundation awards approximately 80 scholarships to two groups of students: 1) sophomores or juniors who study the environment and related fields. 2) Native American and Alaska Native sophomores and juniors studying fields related to health care or tribal public policy. Scholars receive up to $5,000 or the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board, whichever is less. Sophomore scholars may be re-nominated during the next year's competition. Applications are due in March, with an earlier campus deadline.

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Selected Awards that do not Require University Endorsement

Madison Scholarship

1 USD recipient

The James Madison Foundation seeks applicants with a demonstrated commitment to a career in teaching American history, American government, or social studies at the secondary level. The maximum amount of each award is $24,000. Two levels of fellowships are offered: Junior Fellowships are awarded to students who are about to complete, or have completed, their undergraduate course of study and intend to pursue full-time graduate work. Senior fellowships are awarded to experienced teachers who want to pursue graduate studies on a part-time basis. Application deadline: beginning of March.

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National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

  • 6 USD recipients
  • 3 honorable mentions

NSF awards are for study and research in the sciences or in engineering leading to master's or doctoral degrees in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, behavioral, and social sciences, and in the history and philosophy of science. Applicants typically apply in their senior year of study or shortly thereafter. Fellowship stipends generate free tuition and fees as well as approximately $15,000 a year in the form of a stipend. Students are eligible for up to three years of support over a five-year period. Applications are due in the fall.

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Rotary Global Grant Scholarship

3 USD recipients

Global grants support large international activities with sustainable, measurable outcomes in Rotary’s areas of focus. Grant sponsors form international partnerships that respond to real community needs. Successful applicant will receive a $30,000 grant for graduate level studies, a humanitarian project or as part of a vocational training team. Students applying for graduate programs must provide proof of acceptance to a university outside the United States. The student’s graduate study must be related to one of Rotary’s six areas of focus. Applicants cannot be related in any way to a member of Rotary, but will apply through a Rotary chapter. The chapter associated with USD is 5610. Annual deadline is approximately February 1. Students will need to begin preparations at least two months in advance (requires identifying and applying to graduate programs overseas).

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