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PINE BLUFF, Ark. – As high school students weigh their options fully cognizant of
potential student loan debt, they would be wise to consider being named a USDA/1890
National Scholar, says George Richardson, USDA 1890 program liaison. Scholars graduate
debt free with a professional position available to them upon graduation.
Traditionally, the deadline has been Feb. 1, but this year applications must be postmarked
no later than Feb. 28. Students will be notified by April 30.
Only a select few are accepted into the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program, a partnership
between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the eighteen 1890 Historically
Black Land-Grant Universities. Launched in 1992, the program awards scholarships to
students attending 1890 Historically and Black Land-Grant Universities and pursuing
a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences or related academic
When the program began, applicants had to be incoming freshmen, but now the program
is open to entering sophomores or juniors exhibiting leadership and community service
and junior college or second-year college students transferring to a four-year institution,
Scholars receive tuition, room and board, fees, books, use of a laptop and software
while on scholarship. As long as normal progress is made toward a bachelor’s degree,
the scholarship continues for up to four years. Another plus, says Richardson, is
employment. Students have a job with employee benefits with USDA during the summers
while in college and a professional position available through www.usajobs.gov upon graduation.
Recipients are not selected by the 1890 institutions. Recipients apply to the 1890
institution of their choice and then submit a scholar’s program packet. Each 1890
institution can submit up to 10 packets of qualified candidates to the USDA Office
of Advocacy and Outreach, which contacts the USDA agencies who make the final selections.
Students are not restricted to applying to only one institution; they can apply to
multiple institutions, but each packet submitted must contain original signatures
and transcripts or it will be disqualified.
Standards are high, and the competition is stiff, says Richardson, but the stakes
are also high. For the past five years, fewer than 30 scholarships were awarded per
Twenty-two national scholars have graduated from UAPB, which has four national scholars
on campus this year. Three are new -- Michael Jones, a regulatory sciences/environmental
sciences major from Monticello, Ark.; Elijah Muhammad, agriculture major from Chicago;
Matthew Dismuke, a plant science major from Camden, Ark; and returning scholar Daniel
Perry, an agricultural economics major from Marianna, Ark.
Application packets are posted on the web at www.outreach.usda.gov/education/1890 Richardson and some high school counselors will also have packets. For more information
or help with the application process, contact Richardson at (870) 575-7241; (870)
541-0047 or email@example.com orGeorge.firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 31, 2014
By Carol SandersWriter/editorUAPB School of AgricultureFisheries and Human Sciences(870) email@example.com