The Gates Scholarship is a highly selective, full scholarship for high school seniors. Beginning in 2018, the scholarship will be awarded to exceptional, Pell-eligible, minority students. The scholarship will award top student leaders in order to promote their academic excellence through college graduation, and to provide them with opportunities.

The Gates Scholarship will fund 300 students per year, starting with the 2018 inaugural cohort, totaling 3,000 students over the life of the program. With the launch of this scholarship, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues its long-standing commitment to helping outstanding minority students who come from low-income backgrounds to realize their maximum potential.

This prestigious scholarship program is based on evidence that by eliminating the financial barriers to college, a full scholarship can enable high-potential, low-income minority students to excel in college, graduate, and continue to be leaders throughout their lives.

Scholars will receive funding for the full cost of attendance of their college of choice (costs not already covered by other financial aid and the expected family contribution, as determined by the FAFSA). In addition to funding, The Gates Scholarship will provide support to scholarship recipients by engaging with them and their institutions in a variety of ways, to ensure they have access to the resources and services they need.

How do I know if I am eligible for the Gates Scholarship?

To apply for the Gates Scholarship, students must be:

  • A high school senior
  • From at least one of the following ethnicities: African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American
  • Pell-eligible
  • A US citizen, national, or permanent resident
  • In good academic standing with a minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)

Additionally, a student must plan to enroll full-time, in a four-year degree program, at a US accredited, not-for-profit, private or public college or university. An ideal candidate for the Gates Scholarship will have an outstanding academic record in high school (in the top 10% of his/her graduating class), demonstrated leadership ability (e.g., as shown through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities), and exceptional personal success skills (e.g., emotional maturity, motivation, perseverance, etc.).

The scholarship effort is being administered by the nonprofit Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). Fidel Vargas, the president and CEO of the HSF, said the scholarship recipients “will be selected from a diverse, competitive, and national applicant pool. We expect the demographic

profile of each class to mirror the diversity of the targeted communities served by the program.”Vargas’ recommendation for applicants: Focus on finishing the application. “In many cases, more than half of students that start a scholarship application do not complete the application for one reason or another,” he said.