Student celebrating graduation with arms wide

Foundation Scholars

About and value

Since 2015, the Foundation Scholars program has supported students who demonstrate personal resilience and outstanding academic performance in spite of economic and other hardships. Students receiving the award become part of a community of scholars who support each other and work toward common goals.

This scholarship awards $16,000 annually for four years, for a total award of $64,000.

Application Criteria

Application Criteria - Fall 2023


  • 3.7+ weighted cumulative GPA at the time of admission
  • Must be a first-year student enrolling in fall 2023
  • Admissible to WMU
  • Have verified financial need based on one or more of the following criteria:
    • Student is enrolled in or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program (FRPL)
    • Student is a ward of the state, an orphan, or in foster care
    • Student is homeless, as determined by their district's McKinney-Vento Liaison
    • Student is undocumented/DACA
  • Undocumented/DACA students are invited to apply for this scholarship
  • December 1 applications accepted

  • February 15 deadline to apply

Please note that the GPA and financial need criteria are the minimum criteria for consideration. The Foundation Scholarship is highly competitive and selective, and not all students who meet the consideration criteria will be awarded.


Academic Performance

In the first two entering classes of Foundation Scholars, the average high school GPA of recipients is 4.0. Many of the Foundation Scholars were high school valedictorians or salutatorians. The average GPA of Foundation Scholars at WMU is 3.8.

Scholarship Renewal

To be eligible for annual renewal of the Foundation Scholarship, students must maintain a minimum cumulative WMU GPA of 3.0 and complete at least 24 credit hours between fall and spring semesters.

Other activities


Activities and opportunities available to Foundation Scholars


Student Testimonials

  • Too often circumstances stand in the way of educating bright minded and deserving individuals. Foundation Scholars are given the opportunity to pursue a high quality Western Michigan University education. They are given this opportunity despite the challenging life selected scholars have lived. In the future they will have a positive impact in their homes,communities, nation, and the world.

  • It is worth the effort to apply! I did not think I would be chosen, but I was. I could not believe it; I was at the end of my rope trying to see how to attend college. I had stopped believing in myself, but I was chosen. Here at WMU I have achieved more than I thought possible and made incredible friendships. Believe in yourself, and apply. You just never know, you might just get chosen.

  • When I first heard about the scholarship, I was pretty excited but not entirely hopeful. I thought 'that kind of thing just doesn't happen to me' but I knew it wouldn't hurt to apply. I wanted to at least be able to say I tried. It doesn't matter how you look or where you're from. What matters is your action, and how much effort you give.

  • I never thought that I would receive this scholarship, but I'm so glad that I applied for it! The Foundation scholarship has enabled me to pursue my dreams. I'm also thankful for the Foundation Scholar Community because I've gained such amazing, life-long friends who support and encourage me every step of the way.

  • I strongly encourage you to take the time to apply for the Foundation Scholarship. This opportunity will truly change your life. There is nothing to lose. This is a chance to further you education. Education is the key to success and success is truly priceless.

  • Sometimes in life you have to take a chance. You have to turn what seems impossible and change it into an opportunity. Becoming one of the recipients of the Foundation Scholarship demonstrated that all of the hard work and perseverance does pay off.

  • I know how it feels to lose hope of ever being able to attend college. You are a good student, but for some reason college might only be something you can dream of. However, dreams come true. Western has believed in the hard work I put into school since the day they chose me for the scholarship. They don't just choose you for what your grades show, but also for how you deal with what you have been through. They believed in me and they believe in you.