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US Presidential Scholars Program

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is a recognition program. Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June and the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House, in commemoration of their achievements. During their visit to Washington, Scholars have access to important national and international figures, including government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished people. Scholars are provided opportunities to: wrestle with issues that concern America and the world; attend recitals, receptions and ceremonies held in their honor; and visit area museums and monuments. But perhaps the greatest benefit to the Scholars, and the one they most often remark on, is the chance to exchange ideas with similarly motivated and accomplished peers, and to forge friendships that last a lifetime. More information can be found at www.ed.gov/programs/psp.

Program Summary

The South Dakota Department of Education is seeking candidates for the state’s nominations for U.S. Presidential Scholars. The program was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and, since that time, has honored more than 7,500 outstanding high school seniors. The mission of the program is to recognize and honor outstanding high school seniors, and further encourage high achievement among all students. Since 2016, outstanding students who demonstrate excellence in CTE are also included for recognition.

Each Chief State School Officer can nominate up to 20 students in the traditional Scholars program: 10 males and 10 females. Additionally, up to five students in CTE can be nominated. All high school seniors graduating between January and June of 2020 who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and who attend public, parochial, or independent schools, as well as those who are home-schooled, are eligible.

After South Dakota submits its U.S. Presidential Scholars nominations, applications will be reviewed and narrowed to a list of nation-wide nominees. All U.S.-nominees will be announced and invited to apply in mid-January 2020 by the U.S. Presidential Scholars program office. Completed applications will be due in February 2020, and Scholars will be announced at the beginning of May 2020.

Eligibility Requirements
Candidates must:
  • Be a high school senior graduating between January and June of 2020
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident
  • Attend public, parochial, or independent schools, as well as those who are home schooled
  • Achieve an ACT composite score of 30 or higher
Program Application

Application Deadline: Application period has passed.

To submit a nomination for the U.S. Presidential Scholar Program, nominators must submit a Program Application Form by October 11, 2019.

After South Dakota submits its U.S. Presidential Scholars nominations, applications will be reviewed and narrowed to a list of nation-wide nominees. All U.S.-nominees will be announced and invited to apply in mid-January 2020 by the U.S. Presidential Scholars program office. Completed applications will be due in February 2020, and Scholars will be announced at the beginning of May 2020.



For more information, contact Holly Robling with the South Dakota Department of Education at (605) 773-5669.