UNCF Announces Inaugural Achievement Capstone Program Awardees

New scholarship for HBCU and PBI college graduates sponsored by the National Achievement® Scholarship Program

Thirty-seven recent college graduates were announced today as inaugural recipients of the UNCF Achievement Capstone Program, each receiving a $2,500 award to pay an unmet undergraduate balance or finance an advanced degree. The new program, administered by UNCF and underwritten by the National Achievement Scholarship Program, conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), honors and grants financial assistance to high-achieving, underrepresented college graduates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) in the United States.

“The award money that I’m receiving from UNCF is an investment in my future, and those who donate to support African American students can see a return on that investment in me,” said [UNCF-member institution] Shaw University graduate Jordan Galloway, who is pursuing his Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical biology at the University of California, Merced.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program has recognized and honored academically talented Black American high school students through NMSC for 51 years. The final group of high school students recognized in the program entered college in 2015. UNCF now carries on the National Achievement Scholarship Program’s name and legacy through the newly-designed UNCF Achievement Capstone Program, which launched last spring.

UNCF Achievement Capstone Scholars were nominated by their college or university presidents, chancellors and deans based on outstanding academic performance, character and demonstrated leadership honoring the legacy of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Candidates must be African American, must attend an accredited four-year, degree-granting HBCU or PBI and must have high academic performance leading to their campus’ eligibility for earning the designation of cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude upon undergraduate graduation. Awardees may use the scholarship to pay off outstanding undergraduate educational costs at their current institutions or to finance additional degrees, professional certifications and continuing education programs.

Nominations for the 2017 awards will open in January for 87 eligible HBCUs and PBIs. The award amounts for selected scholars will be between $2,000 and $5,000.

Jasmine Bogan is a 2016 graduate of Fayetteville State University with a degree in biology. She is currently pursuing her masters in animal science at Fort Valley State University and will use the Achievement Capstone award to attend her dream school—UNCF-member institution Tuskegee University—to become a veterinarian.

“A lot of people aren’t able to receive financial assistance to make it through college, especially for graduate studies,” said Bogan. “Grad students are still students and we still need help. This award will truly help me out a lot.”

“For more than 72 years, UNCF has worked to get students to and through college, and awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually,” said Larry Griffith, UNCF senior vice president of scholarships and programs. “This program further expands UNCF’s reach to African American students across the country who will benefit from the honor, recognition and financial assistance accompanying these prestigious awards upon earning their bachelor’s degree.”

“NMSC is proud to partner with UNCF to carry on the name and legacy of the National Achievement Scholarship Program through the newly established UNCF Achievement Capstone Program,” said Timothy McGuire, President and CEO of NMSC. “We are thrilled to join with UNCF in honoring the inaugural class of UNCF Achievement Capstone Scholars, and we look forward to witnessing their continued successes and ongoing accomplishments well into the future.”

View the UNCF Achievement Capstone Scholars Fact Sheet

View the 2016 UNCF Achievement Capstone Scholars by last name

View the 2016 UNCF Achievement Capstone Scholars by institution name


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About NMSC

National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a private, not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the National Merit® Scholarship Program to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States. The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by approximately 440 independent corporate and college sponsors, including NMSC, that share the Corporation’s goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education.  The National Achievement Scholarship Program was established by NMSC in 1964, contemporaneously with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, specifically to recognize and honor academically talented Black American high school students and to encourage their pursuit of higher education. Please visit www.nationalmerit.org for more information about NMSC and its scholarship programs.


About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF.