Gates Millennium Scholars: Scholarship Amount, Eligibility, How to Apply

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is a higher education scholarship grant and program for high-achieving ethnic minority students in the United States. The Gates scholarship is a fully funded scholarship that covers tuition fees, accommodation, board, books, transportation, and possibly additional personal expenses.

It was founded in 1999 and is supported by Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates Millennium Scholars receive a complete financial scholarship to attend any college or university in the United States, as well as leadership development programs, mentoring, and academic, financial, and social support.

Gates Millennium Scholarship Overview

The scholarship was established in 1999 thanks to Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates’s $1 billion contribution.

The United Negro College Fund and partner organizations such as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, APIA Scholars (formerly the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund), and Native Forward (formerly the American Indian Graduate Center) currently administer the program.

Since its creation, the scholarship has paid over 20,000 students to attend colleges and universities, totaling more than $614 million in education costs such as tuition, fees, books, and accommodation.

As of the latest cohort in the class of 2016, there are 20,000 scholars. This was the Foundation’s first intention when it established this scholarship in 2000.

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Level/Field of Study

This scholarship is only open to graduate students. The scholarship is not available for Undergrads.

Host Nationality

The scholarship is proudly brought to you by the Gates Foundation. Gates Foundation is an NGO founded by Bill and Melina Gates to assist the less privileged

Eligible Nationality

This scholarship is a scholarship that is opened to the US. 

Eligibility for the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program

To be eligible, students must be:

  • A senior in high school
  • at least one of the following racial or ethnic groups: African-American, Asian & Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Hispanic Americans
  • Pell-eligible
  • A national or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • having a minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.3 on a scale of 4.0 (or an equivalent) and being in good academic standing 
  •  In addition, a student must intend to enroll full-time in a four-year degree program at a U.S. private, public, or not-for-profit college or university that has received U.S. accreditation.

*For American Indians and Alaska Natives, documentation of tribe membership will be needed. 

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Perfect Candidate

An ideal applicant will possess the following:

  • A stellar high school academic record (top 10% of their graduating class);
  • Demonstrated leadership potential, for example, by involvement in extracurricular, community service, or other activities.
  • A remarkable capacity for personal success (e.g., emotional maturity, drive, perseverance, etc.)
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Required Documents to Apply for Gates Millennium Scholarship

The following documents, which will be required at various times throughout the application process, must be uploaded by students.

  • The counselor provided a copy of the student’s most recent transcripts.
  • Student Aid Report (SAR), following the completion of the FAFSA.
  • Letter of Financial Aid Award.
  • Admission letter for a four-year bachelor’s program at a non-profit, private, or public university.
  • A headshot image.
  • Resume.

Financial Coverage

The complete cost of attendance, excluding any financial aid previously received, the expected family contribution, and any other costs, will be covered by funding provided to Gates scholars, depending on their college or university.

The Gates scholarship will pay for tuition, fees, accommodation and board, books, transportation, and possibly additional personal expenses.

Awards for Gates Millennium Scholars who continue to make satisfactory academic progress are renewable.

Grants for graduate study in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars.

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How to Apply for the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program

On the Gates Scholarships website, applicants must register for an account (myTGS Profile) and complete the requirements.

Your gateway to everything about the Gates Scholarship is your myTGS Profile. This covers the application and all related support services, including mentorship, academic support, career and internship guidance, advice, opportunities, financial literacy, and more—should you be chosen as a Scholar.

Deadline for the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program

The application period for online submissions runs from July 15 to September 15 of 2024. The sixth scholarship cohort will be chosen in April 2024, and rewards will be given out from July to September of that same year.

Gates Millennium Scholarship Program Achievements

  • providing funding to more than 16,000 Gates Millennium Scholars since the program’s commencement
  • Over the academic years 2000–2012, GMS provided scholarships worth over $763,628,869 to deserving students.
  • The average price for the academic years of 2001 and 2012 was $12,227.
  • Among Gates Scholars, the average retention rate for first-year undergraduate students is 97.9%, and the average rate for second-year students is 96%.
  • Over 86.3% of GMS students graduate within six years, while the five-year graduation rate is 80.6%.
  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Gates Millennium Scholars enroll in graduate programs; 14% pursue disciplines sponsored by GMS, and 14% pursue fields not financed by GMS.
  • Over 1,865 colleges and universities have accepted Gates Millennium Scholars.
  • Since the program began, more than 10,315 Gates Millennium Scholars have graduated with a degree.

The Goal of the Gates Millennium Scholarship 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation planned to launch the Gates Millennium Scholars program to create a network of future leaders from around the world who would bring new vision and commitment to improving the lives of residents in their own countries.

Over time, it is expected that Gates Scholars will become leaders in their particular disciplines and contribute to addressing global issues such as health, equity, technology, and learning, all of which the Foundation is strongly involved in.

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The Motive Behind The Gates Millennium Scholars

Suppose America is to survive and thrive as a global, competitive democracy in the new millennium. In that case, all of its citizens must have access to opportunities for higher education, as seen by the growing diversity of our society.

The development of a broad group of leaders who will contribute to creating a more cohesive society will determine the future of our country’s economy, democracy, and quality of life.

These future leaders must have the assistance they need to navigate the road to earning a college degree since they come from historically excluded communities from higher education.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, which was started in 1999 to give deserving African American, American Indian/Alaska Native*, Asian Pacific Islander American**, and Hispanic American students the chance to finish their undergraduate degrees in any field of study.

The following fields of study are eligible for financing from the Gates Millennium Scholarship program: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, and science.

Scholarship Accomplishment

  • providing funding to more than 16,000 Gates Millennium Scholars since the program’s commencement
  • Over the academic years 2000–2012, GMS provided scholarships worth over $763,628,869 to deserving students.
  • The average price for the academic years of 2001 and 2012 was $12,227.
  • Among Gates Scholars, the average retention rate for first-year undergraduate students is 97.9%, and the average rate for second-year students is 96%.
  • Over 86.3% of GMS students graduate within six years, while the five-year graduation rate is 80.6%.
  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Gates Millennium Scholars enroll in graduate programs; 14% pursue disciplines sponsored by GMS, and 14% pursue fields not financed by GMS.
  • Over 1,865 colleges and universities have accepted Gates Millennium Scholars.
  • Since the program began, more than 10,315 Gates Millennium Scholars have graduated with a degree.

Tips for Winning Gates Millennium Scholarship

Here are some valuable tips to increase your chances of winning the Gates Millennium Scholarship:

First and foremost, familiarize yourself with the eligibility requirements and criteria of the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Understand the application process, deadlines, and any specific guidelines the scholarship program provides.

Maintain a strong academic record. Focus on achieving high grades, taking challenging courses, and performing well on standardized tests. The scholarship committee looks for students who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to learning.

Engage in extracurricular activities that align with your interests and showcase your leadership skills. Get involved in community service, clubs, or sports that highlight your passions and demonstrate your dedication to making a difference.

Craft a compelling personal essay that tells your unique story. Share your experiences, challenges, and aspirations, emphasizing how the scholarship will help you achieve your goals. Be authentic and let your genuine voice shine through.

Seek strong letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, or community leaders who can speak to your character, achievements, and potential. Choose individuals who know you well and can provide specific examples of your strengths and contributions.

Pay attention to detail and submit a well-prepared and error-free application. Take the time to review and polish your materials, ensuring they effectively represent your accomplishments and ambitions.

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Finally, believe in yourself and stay positive throughout the process. Winning the Gates Millennium Scholarship is competitive, but remember that you have unique qualities and experiences to offer. Stay focused, persevere, and remain confident in your abilities.

FAQ

Does your program provide graduate funding?

For a graduate degree program in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science, current Gates Scholars may apply for a fellowship. You can use the Gates Millennium Scholars Award at any accredited college or university in the United States. Only current Gates Scholars pursuing graduate studies are eligible for graduate support.

What kind of factors does GMS consider for the selection process?

A student application, a Nominator Form, and a Recommender Form are the three components that make up a full package, and these three factors were considered when evaluating each application. Additionally, students’ potential for leadership, community involvement, and academic success were assessed; however, no single indicator alone can predict how well an application would do.

How much is the scholarship?

The amount of funding given to students chosen as Gates Millennium Scholars will be decided by GMS based on their financial needs.

The award is determined by considering the cost of the student’s tuition, fees, books, and living expenses for the academic year as well as any grants and other scholarships that may be available, as stated on the student’s financial aid award letter.

Annual renewal of the undergraduate scholarship is possible with good progress, full-time enrollment, and timely submission of all necessary paperwork. Support for graduate degrees in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science is available for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars.

Does GMS require a certain major for undergraduate students?

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program award can be used for any undergraduate study program at any accredited college or university in the United States.

Conclusion

The Gates Millennium Scholarship is a prestigious and highly competitive opportunity that offers substantial financial support to deserving students. As a Gates Millennium Scholar, you receive a full scholarship that covers the costs of tuition, fees, books, and living expenses for the duration of your undergraduate and graduate studies.

To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident, demonstrate academic excellence, and come from a low-income background. Additionally, you should show leadership skills, community involvement, and a commitment to positively impacting society.

The application process for the Gates Millennium Scholarship requires careful attention to detail. It involves submitting academic records, letters of recommendation, and a compelling personal essay that showcases your unique experiences and aspirations.

Winning the Gates Millennium Scholarship can be a life-changing opportunity, providing the financial means to pursue your educational dreams without the burden of student loans. It opens doors to prestigious universities and offers access to a supportive community of scholars.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and believe you have what it takes, I encourage you to prepare your application and put your best foot forward diligently.

The competition is fierce, but with careful planning, strong academic performance, and a compelling narrative, you can increase your chances of becoming a Gates Millennium Scholar.

I wish you the best of luck as you embark on this exciting journey to secure the Gates Millennium Scholarship and fulfill your educational aspirations. Believe in yourself, showcase your unique qualities, and let your passion and dedication shine through your application.

References

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