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Gates Grants: Do You Qualify?

Jan 18, 2010 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Founded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private charitable foundation in the world. It splits most of its charitable focus between global health and development, library development, and educational scholarships.

There are numerous scholarships available under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for students hoping to attend college. Some focus on students from underprivileged backgrounds, while others are designed for students of color or graduate researchers. Here are a few of the scholarships you might be eligible for under the Foundation.

The DC Achievers Scholarship

This program offers over $110 million in partnership with the District of Columbia College Success Foundation. The program is designed to help approximately 250 low-income students from six participating high schools in Washington DC every year. The scholarship offers funding and mentorship for selected students to attend college. It also sets aside funds to improve schools in Wards 7 and 8, two of the most economically disadvantaged sections in the DC school district.

Gates Millennium Scholars 

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There are numerous scholarships available under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for students hoping to attend college. 




The Gates Millennium Scholarship provides funding to African American, Native American, Asian and Pacific-Islands American, or Hispanic American students who are planning to enroll as full-time students at an accredited college in the fall of 2010. The students need to have achieved at least a 3.3 unweighted GPA in high school. They also need to meet the requirements to be eligible for federal Pell Grants.

Gates Public Service Law Scholarships

This scholarship offers five scholarships per year to students entering the University of Washington School of Law to study for their Juris Doctorate. The scholarship funds tuition, books , and all other school fees as well as room and board and incidental costs. Students who are awarded this scholarship are expected to work in the public service sector for at least five years after graduating college.

African Women in Agricultural Research & Development

This scholarship provides a two-year fellowship package targeted toward increasing the skills and career of a female scientist in the agricultural research and development field. The fellowship offers a two-year mentorship with a senior scientist in the recipient’s field, as well as funding for presentation of her research at a prominent scientific conference on an annual basis. The recipients are also given leadership training through leadership and negotiation classes with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Recipients are given access to a global and regional network of female scientists and researchers, as well as opportunities to mentor other female scientists during the second year of the fellowship.

Mary Gates Scholarship

This scholarship actually encompasses four different awards given to undergraduate students at the University of Washington:

  • The Honors Scholarships award two new undergraduates with two years of tuition and book costs. Students awarded the Honors Scholarships are chosen by applying to the Honors Program at UW. 
  • Research Scholarships provide funding for students in numerous disciplines to collaborate with professors on research, curriculum design, creative initiatives, and other significant projects.
  • Leadership scholarships deliver funding for students to pursue a project that’s usually focused on public service-either on campus or in the surrounding community.
  • Venture scholarships fund students interested in undertaking a major unique project over six to twelve months that may include creative work, research, new product or business development, or travel.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

These scholarships provide funding for students from any country outside the United Kingdom to attend Cambridge University. Students must be interested in studying for a PhD degree or applying for one of Cambridge’s one-year post-graduate courses, two-year MSc degree, MBBChir Clinical Studies program, or earning a second Bachelor’s degree. They also have to qualify for admission to Cambridge through the school’s usual admission procedures.

There are many sources of funding for college—not just student loans. Instead of relying on expensive private loans to pay for your college degree, look into grant programs such as the ones offered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s possible that you may qualify—and every dollar you earn through a scholarship program is a dollar you don’t have to pay back when you graduate.



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