Presidential Scholars

The University Honors Program awards 20 Presidential Scholarships each year to high school seniors with a history of outstanding academic performance. These prestigious awards carry recognition for academic excellence, leadership and service.  

Presidential Scholarships provide $16,000 over four years ($4,000 per year) and stack with automatic admission scholarships for a typical award package of around $30,000 over four years.

But there is more to Presidential Scholarships than financial aid alone. 

In addition to active Honors participation, Presidential Scholars are part of special seminars and leadership experiences designed to enhance academic and civic engagement.  

  • First-Year Seminars
  • Sophomore Think Tank
  • Leadership Development 
  • Honors Thesis

Continuation of the scholarship requires a 3.50+ cumulative GPA and active status in the University Honors Program, including progress toward an honors designation.

First-Year Seminars

New scholarship recipients participate in scholars-only seminars during their first two semesters at UNI. Seminars are designed to challenge first-year scholars academically while also giving them an opportunity to establish a unique community of learners.  

Think Tank & Service Learning

Scholars identify and analytically approach a problem or issue affecting the campus or community in year two. The two semester service learning sequence encourages Presidential Scholars to grow intellectually while combining their strengths and talents for the benefit of our campus and community.

Leadership Discussion Series

Each spring UNI President Mark Nook offers a series of leadership discussions for junior Presidential Scholars. This is not a credit-based course (unless you complete an optional 1 credit independent study). Instead, these sessions give you special access to interact with and learn from President Nook!

Honors Involvement

All Presidential Scholars are members of the University Honors Program and take specialized honors classes throughout the course of their time at UNI. Any credits earned through Presidential Scholars Seminars will count toward the honors designation.

Application Instructions and Timeline

Application Criteria

  • 3.80+ GPA AND 29+ ACT Composite (SAT 1340+)       


  • GPA of 3.95+ if admitted by test-optional review

Deadline: 2024 submission deadline has been extended to February 15

To apply, complete an application for admission to UNI and submit the UNI Scholarship Application by February 15. Be sure to provide a clear and complete description of activities, honors and leadership positions in the Involvement section of the application. The essay question required of your major/college will also be used as the writing sample for the Presidential Scholarship review process.

Students who meet the application criteria above and submit a complete UNI Scholarship Application will be included in the Presidential Scholarship review process. Those who advance through the first round of review will be contacted by the email associated with the scholarship application within one week of the February 15 deadline to submit a brief supplemental form for the second round review. Recipients will be notified by March 15.