Millennium Scholarships

Written by Tara Peris
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For the past six years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded Millennium scholarships to promising individuals from minority backgrounds. The goal of the program is to help minority students succeed in higher education, particularly in fields in which they historically are under-represented. By receiving college funds, outstanding students will be in a position to choose colleges based on proper fit rather than on financial constraints.

The ethnic gap in educational attainment has been well-documented. For decades, Caucasian students have attained higher levels of advanced education compared to their African American, Latino, and Asian American counterparts with similar grades and test scores. Most research suggests that this attainment gap can be attributed to financial constraints that prevent minority students from both initiating and completing a college education.

Promoting Scholarship in the Sciences

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMS) is designed to help bridge this gap. With the assistance of the United Negro College Fund, the GMS program awards thousands of scholarships each year. The hope is that a successful undergraduate experience will leave these exceptional scholars well positioned to pursue graduate training in the math and science fields.

To qualify for GMS awards, students must be nominated by teachers, principals, or other school staff. They must have strong academic records, with particular emphasis on performance in math and science disciplines. In addition to the independent nominations, students are required to complete an application form and personal statement that can be downloaded from the program website.

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