Prestigious scholarships available for MU students

Katy Vaccariello, Staff writer

The Prestigious Awards Program is one of the lesser known but extremely valuable opportunities for Mercyhurst students to take part in.

This program is comprised of a group of highly competitive scholarships that are available for undergraduate and graduate students to increase their educational experience.

The Prestigious Awards Program includes several informational meetings and assistance from faculty advisers.

They give any assistance needed in writing and completing the well-involved application process for Prestigious Awards.

Each one of the scholarships are available to U.S. citizens, but some require a few more specific requirements.

On top of the requirement of being a U.S. citizen, all applicants must have a minimum GPA of a 3.8 to appropriately compete.

Some awards are specifically for research and study both in the U.S. and abroad for undergraduates, but most are international study programs for graduates.

“Currently, the program supports 13 awards and scholarships,” said Justin Ross, Ph.D., director of Writing Center, Honors and Prestigious Awards.

“Because these awards are competitive, writing the application can be an investment of time and energy. That is why we want students to learn about the awards as soon in their college career as possible,” Ross said.

Awards that students can apply for through Mercyhurst include the Gilman Scholarship, Morris K. Udall Scholarship, National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship, Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Rhodes Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship, among others.

The Gilman Scholarship for undergraduate study is for U.S. citizens receiving a Federal Pell Grant who are in the process of getting accepted for a study abroad program. The application and winning of this award provides financial aid for the study abroad opportunities. This support ultimately increases a student’s role in the global economy.

The Morris K. Udall Scholarship is for U.S. nationals, or people with permanent residency. It is also available to any major as long as they are a sophomore or junior. Students who are interested in or have the career goal of working with environmental issues should look into this scholarship.

The National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship is open to sophomores or juniors of any major. The main goal of the award is to provide funding for study or research projects that take place abroad. When studying abroad, the location must be considered an area that is important to U.S. national security. They must also be locations that tend to be underrepresented in the world of study abroad programs.

Perhaps the most well-known and distinguished Prestigious Award is the Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarship. This scholarship is available for seniors of all majors that hold a B.S. or B.A. degree at the time of nomination. Another key factor is having the interest to teach English abroad.

Former Mercyhurst student Cole Lowe was the 2018 recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship.

“I had known the name ‘Fulbright Scholarship’ was a big deal, but never considered it was so attainable,” Lowe said.

In the end, he met all the necessary requirements and found the courage to apply. The possibilities are endless — all it takes is a little courage to try for one of these amazing scholarship opportunities.

For Lowe, it was incredible to use this award to help him gain a chance to explore the world and deepen a sense of global awareness.

“The best part of the whole process is the thrill and excitement of applying, waiting to hear the results and ultimately the feeling of pride of seeing the headline ‘Congratulations on your Fulbright Award,’” Lowe said.

The Rhodes Scholarship is a graduate scholarship for anyone between the ages of 18 and 24. The individual in question can be of any major, but they must be a senior at Mercyhurst at the time of award nomination. It provides the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Oxford for a master’s or doctoral degree.

The Marshall Scholarship is open to all majors like several of the previously stated scholarships, and students need a 3.7 GPA to be eligible. This scholarship offers a two- to three-year graduate study program in the United Kingdom. The study will aid students looking to become a leader or major decision maker for their own country.

The scholarship opportunities do not stop with the ones mentioned above.

Students interested in the scope available through the Prestigious Awards Program on possible study opportunities can check out the Prestigious Awards Web Page through Mercyhurst University.
“Most require applicants to write an essay or a series of essays in response to the goals of the awards. The process can take a few months and several drafts,” Ross said. “It is always important to keep the timeline in mind when working through the application process.”

The Prestigious Awards website provides contact information for all of the board members who can guide individuals through the process.

There is also a corresponding faculty adviser for each of the listed awards who can provide a more in-depth description of the award of interest.

For more information, visit or contact Ross at