Frequently Asked Questions

The Ron Brown Scholar Program benefits from the generous support of numerous donors and partners who provide not only financial support, but also valuable mentoring, internship opportunities and other important investments in Ron Brown Scholars. 

The Ron Brown Scholar Program awards 50 college scholarships annually in the amount of $40,000 to extraordinary African American high school seniors. Students must attend a four-year accredited college or university within the United States. Since 1996, the Program has awarded more than 650 scholarships.  

Yes, financial assistance is provided only for undergraduate education. However, the Ron Brown Scholar Program strongly supports creating life-long bonds with and between the Scholars and the Program staff. Scholars do continue to receive mentorship and guidance toward personal and professional goals far beyond their undergraduate careers.

Students must be current high school seniors at the time of their application. The Ron Brown Scholar Program has a final deadline of December 1st.

We begin accepting applications after August 1 of your senior year in high school. There is no advantage in sending your application early for the scholarship competition as all applicants are considered equally regardless of submission date.  

All transcripts and letters of recommendation should be submitted by the deadline of December 15th. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Your counselors or teachers will not be asked to submit their supporting documents until AFTER you submit your application. So, we encourage you to complete your application early to give these individuals ample time to submit their documents. All letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically through the online application process.

We ask for two letters of recommendation. At least one of these should be written by your high school counselor, teacher or principal. The second letter may be submitted by someone who knows you well and can attest to your character, leadership ability, commitment to community service, and/or academic achievement. This may include an employer, mentor or coach. It cannot be your mother, father, guardian or a family member.

Due to the national trend to test optional, we do not require either SAT (Verbal and Math) or ACT (composite) scores. Results of AP/IB exams are optional as well. If you have taken these exams and have scores to report, you should submit those scores on your application.

Because we do not require SAT/ACT test scores, there are no minimum requirements. Because the scholarship is competitive, successful applicants have demonstrated a serious commitment to academics. This is reflected in their course selection, high grade point averages, rank in class and test scores.

The application says to submit an essay that I wrote for my college applications. What if my selected college or university did not require any? We require two essays, each approximately 500 words. In the first essay, we ask that you answer a specific question. The second essay can be on any topic. If you haven’t written one for a college application, you may submit an essay that you wrote for one of your classes, or write a new essay. Keep in mind that the essays are an opportunity for you to tell us something about yourself that we cannot learn from your application, transcript or test scores.

APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE FAXED. Due to the large number of applicants, we are unable to accept faxed applications. 

Because it is an online application, late applications cannot be accepted.

Yes. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to apply.

Financial need is a factor that we consider in awarding scholarships. If you think that you will be eligible for financial aid at the colleges to which you are applying, you should apply for a Ron Brown scholarship.

In the first stage of the application process, you should list the income of both parents if it is available to you. This should include the non-custodial parent. If a parent’s whereabouts is unknown, you should list that on the application. If you are residing with a legal guardian, you should list their income on the application. Should you advance to the next stage, information about your non-custodial and stepparent’s income will be requested and will be taken into account in determining financial need.

The application asks your parents for their adjusted gross income on last year’s federal income tax return, that is, the return that they filed when you were a junior in high school. By their signatures, they also agree to provide proof of income, including copies of income tax returns, if required. If you advance to the next stage in the application process and become a semifinalist, verification of income will be required.

The scholarship may be used at any degree-granting four-year college within the United States. Recipients may study any academic discipline of their choice. The scholarship may not be used for vocational or technical training.

Semifinalists will be contacted by mid-February. Finalists will be notified by early March and invited to Washington, DC, (we pay expenses) to be interviewed by the National Selection Committee. Because of the large number of applicants, we are not able to guarantee notification of those who have not reached the semifinalist or finalist stage.  We will post the names of the scholarship winners on our website in early May.

Scholars attend a wide range of schools and are not limited in where they may attend or the discipline they may study. Ron Brown Scholars boast a 99% graduation rate; more than 60% attend Ivy League colleges and universities, with approximately 54% pursuing graduate or professional degrees.