The Gates Scholarship Application Guide 2021

What is The Gates Scholarship?

Basically, it’s an amazing opportunity—a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship awarded to 300 student leaders each year, with the goal of eliminating financial barriers to college. Their philosophy is that students have a better shot at reaching their maximum potential if they don’t have to worry about money.

Scholars receive funding for their full cost of attendance to earn a bachelor’s degree (for up to five years), that isn’t already covered by other financial aid and the expected family contribution.

If you like to think about formulas, The Gates Scholarship Award looks like this:

Cost of Attendance for the year (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – Gift Aid (Scholarships and Grants) = The Gates Scholars Award Amount

In addition to the financial support, The Gates Scholarship also provides Scholars with a ton of online support services including career services, mentoring, leadership development, and wellness. And there’s also a Summer Institute where Scholars can meet one another and begin to build their Gates network with peers and mentors.

What exactly does The Gates Scholarship cover?

  • Tuition and fees

  • Room and board (housing and food)

  • Books and supplies

  • Transportation

  • Personal expenses (as outlined in your COA)

  • Health insurance premium (provided by institution)

  • Work study contribution

  • Study abroad (for credit and offered through your institution; summer excluded)

  • Computer (if included by institution in your COA)

  • Co-op and internship programs

  • Summer courses at institution (only in some cases)

How do I figure out if I am eligible for The Gates Scholarship?

To apply, you must be:

  • A current high school senior

  • African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native*, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American (*proof of tribal enrollment is required)

  • Pell-eligible (If you’re not sure, use the FAFSA4Caster to determine eligibility 

  • A U.S. 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)

What are the characteristics of an ideal Gates Scholar candidate?

  • Stellar academic record, likely in the top 10% of your class

  • Demonstrated leadership ability (this could be in a club/organization, community service, religious institution, work, etc.)

  • Excellent personal abilities – motivation, perseverance, emotional maturity, etc.

How do I apply for the Gates Scholarship?

First, create a myTGS Profile online, which will be your portal to all The Gates Scholarship resources, for the life of the scholarship.

Phase One of the application is pretty straightforward. It’s divided up into eight sections:

  • Eligibility

  • Profile

  • Education

  • Involvement

  • Future

  • Household

  • Finances

  • Details

It’s basically like the first sections of college applications, before you get to the essay writing portion. The essay part of the application comes later, if you are selected as a semi-finalist.

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