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The Hughes Scholarship was offered by Hughes Aircraft Company, a major aerospace and defense contractor, to exceptionally well qualified employees seeking to complete an undergraduate degree in the sciences. Participants in the program were called Hughes Scholars. Only a small number of such scholarships were ever awarded before the program was discontinued following the sale of the company to General Motors by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1985.
Several current programs, each called the Hughes Scholars Program, exist at a number of undergraduate universities and are funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Hughes Scholars Program (HSP) is described at the University of San Diego as "designed to increase the number of first generation, low-income, ethnic and cultural groups historically underrepresented to pursue careers in biological/medical/bioengineering fields."
At least one other program by a similar name exists. It describes itself this way: "The HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program, also known as the Cloister Program, was established in 1985 to give outstanding students at U.S. medical schools the opportunity to receive research training at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland."