Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1890 National Scholarship application forms are now available online, said George Richardson, USDA 1890 program liaison at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Because the stakes are so high, he suggests that students download the application and work on it during the semester break.
Students, at times, may think the application process is lengthy, said Richardson. With the average cost of attending a four-year public in-state university approaching $20,000 per year, the return on the time spent on the application process is well worth it.
USDA 1890 National Scholars can graduate from college debt free with a bachelor’s degree. They have a job with employee benefits with USDA during the summers while in college and a professional position available through www.jobsusa.gov upon graduation.
The National Scholars Program awards scholarships to students attending one of nineteen 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Universities and who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences or related academic disciplines.
Students receive full tuition, books, room and board. The scholarship is renewable and continues for up to four years as long as normal progress is made toward a bachelor’s degree, said Richardson.
When the program began in 1992, applicants had to be incoming freshmen, but now the program is open to college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate leadership and community service.
National scholars must major in agriculture or related sciences which include agronomy, animal sciences, botany, food sciences and technology, botany, forestry, home economics and nutrition, horticulture, natural resources management, soil conservations, farm and range management, pre-veterinary medicine and computer sciences.
Recipients are selected by participating agencies and not the 1890 institution. Recipients apply for admission directly to the 1890 institution of their choice and then submit a scholar’s program packet. Each 1890 institution can submit up to 12 packets of qualified candidates to the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach, which contacts the USDA agencies who make the final selections.
Students are not restricted to applying to only one institution; they can apply to multiple institutions, but each packet submitted must contain original signatures and transcripts or it will be disqualified, said Richardson. With the scholarship application deadline not until April 11, 2016, students have time to apply for admission to more than one 1890 institution thus increasing their chances for a debt free college education, said Richardson.
Application packets are posted on the web at http://www.outreach.usda.gov/education/1890/index.htm. Click on the application link near the end of the website.