Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

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The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by the United States Congress in 1986 in honor of former United States Senator and 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Its goal is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who are US citizens or permanent residents and intend to pursue careers in these fields.

The scholarship—the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship given in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics[1][2][3]—is awarded annually to about 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide. The scholarship is awarded based on merit, and the actual amount given is based on financial need, up to a maximum of $7,500 per academic year.

In addition, since at least 2006, about 150 exceptional applicants not awarded the Scholarship have been recognized with official Honorable Mentions.[4]

Competition for the scholarship is intense. Colleges and universities are allowed to nominate only four of their undergraduate students per year to receive the final scholarship, making it a premier award in the US conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences. Through March 2006, Princeton University had the most Goldwater Scholars with 64, followed by Harvard University with (60), Duke University (58), Kansas State University (57), and the University of Chicago (53).[5]

In awarding scholarships, the Foundation Board of Trustees considers field of study, career objectives, commitment, and potential to make a significant professional contribution. This is judged by letters of reference, student essays, and prior research experience. The number of scholarships awarded per region depends on the number and qualifications of the nominees for that region. The regions are defined as each of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and, considered as a single entity, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Change in number of scholarships awarded, 2019[edit]

In 2019, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation partnered with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP) to dramatically increase the number of scholarships offered from the historical average of 15-20% of nominees at the national level to over 40%. This awarded a Goldwater scholarship to all students who would have received an Honorable Mention in previous years. The motivation for this partnership was described by Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Director of the NDEP program, as "vitally important that the Nation ensures that it has the scientific talent it needs to maintain its global competitiveness and security".[6]

Changes implemented in 2020[edit]

  • Nomination materials will now be reviewed by discipline instead of state of residence.
  • Four-year schools that present a transfer student as a nominee can also nominate an additional (5th) student.
  • Institutions cannot reduce a student's institutionally-controlled scholarship funding after a student receives the Goldwater award.
  • The foundation will no longer reduce a student’s Goldwater award if the student receives additional scholarship funding during the same year.[7]


  1. ^ "The Road to a Goldwater Scholarship". Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  2. ^ "An Insider's Look at the Goldwater Scholarship". Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  3. ^ "ECS Junior Alexander Metcalf Selected for 2021 Goldwater Scholarship". Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  4. ^ "Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Website". Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
  5. ^ "List of Institutions with Most Goldwater Scholars". Kansas State University. Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  6. ^ "2019 Scholar Press Release". Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Retrieved 2019-08-24.
  7. ^ "New for 2020". Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Retrieved 2019-08-24.

External links[edit]