McNair Scholars Program: Dream, Prepare, Achieve

Student sitting at a table studying
November 13, 2020

College of Western Idaho students looking for opportunities to enhance their personal and professional development in preparation for graduate school, may want to look closely at the McNair Scholars Program.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is one of eight TRIO programs federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Designed to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the McNair Program is the only TRIO grant focused on helping college juniors and seniors prepare for admission into graduate schools and successfully attain advanced degrees. 

Paired with faculty mentors in their field of study, McNair Scholars design and implement an independent research project for presentation at regional, or national conferences. Other benefits to participation include:

  • $2,800 stipend to support research internship during at least one summer
  • enhanced career planning and personal guidance from McNair staff
  • paid tuition of McNair courses
  • scholarship application assistance
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) preparation courses and exam fee reduction waivers
  • assistance in applying to graduate schools along with cost offsets
  • funded travel to regional and national research conferences
  • paid travel to visit prospective graduate schools
  • graduate school funding offered by several institutions specifically for McNair Scholars

The McNair Scholars Program is a unique learning opportunity for students who fit the eligibility criteria and are highly motivated to achieve success in their doctoral studies. Anyone interested in gaining a competitive advantage in their academic and professional careers should seize the opportunity. Application deadlines generally fall in October for the spring semester, and in February for the fall semester. However, dates are discretionary with some universities accepting applications on a rolling basis. It is important to track each school’s policy as qualified students who meet priority deadlines are given the most consideration.

Eligible participants must be low income, AND first-generation, OR come from communities historically underrepresented in higher education (African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander). Transfer students planning to attend Boise State University, Idaho State University, or the University of Idaho can find additional information, instructions, and applications on their respective McNair Scholars pages. A list of all 187 universities currently partnering with the McNair Program can be found on the U.S. Department of Education Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program website.

Written by Lesah Ashton, a current CWI student who plans to graduate in May 2021.