It Takes More Than Grades to Win a Broad Scholarship

2012 Broad scholarship recipients

Leadership, initiative, community service, and setting realistic goals are a few of the things that the Broad scholarship review committee will be looking for when it reviews applications this spring.

HISD graduates will be applying for $550,000 in scholarships from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, thanks to the district winning this year’s Broad Prize and being named top urban school district in the country. Although the prize recognizes HISD’s efforts as a whole, the direct beneficiaries are students.

Last year, HISD was a Broad finalist, and nine graduating seniors received a total of $165,000 in scholarships. One of those students, Jose Camacho, received a $5,000 scholarship to further his music career. According to High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Principal Scott Allen, Camacho struggled academically during ninth and early-tenth grade, but quickly became serious. “Jose is an extremely talented musician,” said Allen. “Once he directed the same skills of practice and dedication toward his academics, his grades improved.” Camacho is attending Houston Community College with the intention of transferring to a four-year university to major in music business.

This year’s graduating seniors are eligible for two- or four-year scholarships, depending on the type of institution they choose to attend. Students attending a four-year institution receive $20,000 over four years, and students attending a two-year school receive $5,000 over two years, which will be increased to $20,000 should they transfer to a four-year college or university. Awards may be renewed for up to three years, as long as the student maintains a 2.5 grade-point average (GPA). Seniors can start the application process here.

The basic requirements for a Broad scholarship are:
• cumulative GPA of 2.75 during senior year
• academic improvement from 9th to 11th grade as seen in GPAs
• financial need
• U.S. citizen or permanent resident with green card
• enrolled full-time at an institution of higher learning in fall 2014

There are, however, many other attributes that the scholarship review committee is looking for. They like students who are able to set realistic, attainable goals while balancing school, work, and volunteer activities. They favor students who use resources for self-improvement, and follow through and complete tasks. A teacher or counselor will be required to attest to the applicant’s personal accountability, initiative, and respect for others as well.

To boost chances of winning, students should consider trying the following:
• take a leadership role in school and community activities
• develop an essay on goals and aspirations
• write about unusual personal or family circumstances
• take an SAT or ACT class and then retest to raise scores.

Applications must be submitted electronically before midnight March 3, 2014. Recipients are selected by a review committee of admissions and financial-aid professionals from colleges and universities located in the Houston area. Winners will be announced in May 2014.

For questions, email: or call 507-931-1682 or 800-537-4180. For more background on the Broad Prize, visit their website.