Presidential Scholarship

This scholarship will be awarded for the 2023-2024 academic year

The Presidential Scholars Distinction-in-Service Program is the most prestigious scholarship award offered by San Francisco State University. Funded through the generous support of YF Chang, the Osher Foundation, and James Alan Ross, the scholarship requires excellence in academics and distinguished service to the community.

  • Awarding Department: Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
  • Scholarship Intent: The scholarship recognizes high achieving first time freshman who have distinguished themselves as scholars and leaders in their communities. The award provides full coverage of resident tuition, a course material/textbook allowance and housing (on-campus for the first two years) for up to six (6) first-time Pell Grant eligible freshman from traditionally under-represented communities in the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma) for up to four years of full-time study at SF State pending budgetary approval and satisfactory completion of program requirements.
  • Criteria: Non-Resident students (out of state) are not eligible to apply.
    Presidential Scholar applicants are required to submit:
    1) Two letters of recommendation (from a teacher, coach, counselor or community member). IMPORTANT APPLICATION INFORMATION: The reference letters must be received, via AcademicWorks, no later than the application deadline in order for an application to be considered qualified and reviewed. This requires applicants to submit their application before the deadline, which includes providing the reference names and email addresses. References should be notified by the applicant that letters need to be submitted through AcademicWorks no later than a week before the application deadline to allow time to solve any potential issues. Applicants should check their AcademicWorks student portal to ensure that reference letters have been submitted before the application deadline, re-sending reference letter requests for letters not submitted. Applications that do not have the required reference letter by the deadline will not be reviewed and are not eligible for the scholarship.
    1) A 200-word statement that a) lists the applicant’s service participation areas throughout high school b) and describes the leadership role played for area of service. A 500-word letter that addresses the following questions: Why is SF State a good fit for you? What is a decision you have made that had real consequences for yourself and other people? Tell us about a real mistake you made and how you learned from it.
    3) Applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) by Feb 4, 2022 and submit the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) with their scholarship application.
    4) Finalists may be interviewed by video conference or phone as a part of the review and selection process.
    4) Recipients will be notified between April 16 – April 29 and will have 48 hours to accept or decline the award.
    Scholarship Award Requirements:
    1) Selected scholars will be required to live in campus housing during their freshman and sophomore years. ADA accommodations will be made.
    2) Scholars must participate in on and off-campus events to promote the importance of scholarship and service in the Bay Area.
    3) Scholars are required to meet with their primary major’s department chair and college dean to discuss opportunities to represent the college as its Presidential Scholar Ambassador.
    4) Each semester, students will participate in a leadership course taught by the Presidential Scholar Program’s Faculty Coordinator.
    5) Presidential Scholars must choose a faculty mentor from their major. The mentor, along with support from the Faculty Coordinator, guides scholars in their short and long-term academic, professional, and community engagement goals.
    6) Scholars are also expected to spend one semester on a study abroad program to advance the Presidential Scholars mission of advancing and culturally and socially diverse society of life-long learners.
    7) To continue to receive the scholarship award, students must maintain a 3.5 GPA, actively participate in all program activities, and apply for the FAFSA each year by the end of the first week of January.
    8) The Presidential Scholarship Faculty Coordinator in conjunction with the Assistant Dean of SAEM may remove a scholar from the scholarship if the scholar does not participate in all activities, engages in any illegal activity on or off campus, or fails to act as a campus leader.
  • Major: Any
  • Class Level: HS Seniors; Undergrad: N/A; Grad: N/A
  • Enrollment Status: Entering
  • Enrollment Requirement: Undergrad: FULL-TIME (12 UNITS); Grad: N/A
  • Financial Need as determined by the FAFSA and/or CA Dream App: Yes, must be Pell Grant eligible
  • Citizenship: Any (International students are not eligible to apply)
  • GPA: HS GPA: 3.5; Undergrad GPA: N/A; Grad GPA: N/A
  • Contact Person: Cristina Azocar or Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
  • Campus Address: SSB 403
  • Street Address: 1600 Holloway, San Francisco, California 94132
  • Phone Number: (415)338-3134
  • Email:
  • Web page:
  • Number of Awards: varies

An amount equivalent to resident tuition, textbook allowance, on-campus room and board, and educational expenses
Supplemental Questions
  1. What is your expected major?
  2. A high school GPA 3.5 or higher is required for this scholarship. What is your GPA?
  3. Will you be enrolled in at least 12 in the fall 2023 semester?
  4. What is the Name, City, and Zip Code of your high school?
  5. What Bay Area or surrounding county is your primary residence in?
  6. List your responsibilities to family, and advocacy or leadership at school, or within your community, throughout high school.
  7. Describe the initiative you took in one or more of the leadership roles listed above, and address the following question: Why do you want to study at San Francisco State University?
  8. Confidential letter of recommendation for a scholarship applicant
    • Confidential letter of recommendation for a scholarship applicant 1
    • Confidential letter of recommendation for a scholarship applicant 2
  9. Show 3 more