Skip to content Skip to navigation

President Barack Obama Scholars Program

ASU is proud to promote equal access to education for all Arizonans through programs like the President Barack Obama Scholars Program.

President Barack Obama represents outstanding academic achievement, thoughtfulness, a long record of service to others, inspired leadership and a commitment to building strong communities across this country.

He has set new standards for what is possible in America, and encouraged people around the world to pursue their dreams.

In Arizona, we have many motivated, high-achieving students. For some of them, a lack of family resources has been a barrier to higher education. With the right support, these students can be successful, build better communities and create positive change. Arizona State University is committed to providing these opportunities.

About the Obama Scholars Program

By combining gift aid (i.e., Pell Grants, SEOG, University Grants, LEAP, and scholarships) from federal, state, private, and institutional sources with Federal Work-Study, ASU will cover students' estimated direct costs of attending ASU (minus the Expected Family Contribution as determined by the FAFSA) for up to eight full-time, consecutive fall and spring semesters (summer sessions are not covered). Estimated direct costs include actual tuition and mandatory fees as well as standardized allowances for room, board and books/supplies.

Special class fees, study abroad program fees, academic program fees or summer tuition/fees will not be covered as part of the program. You may choose to spend one semester in an ASU-sponsored study abroad program, only after completion of your first year in the Obama Scholars Program. This will count as one semester towards the eight semester maximum. Your funding will continue to be based on ASU cost of attendance and will not cover any study abroad program fees.

ASU will award recipients a combination of the following sources of aid. These awards do not require repayment.

  • Pell Grants—this federal gift assistance program supports students who have exceptional need.
  • Institutional Grants—ASU gift assistance available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. These grants include University Grants.
  • FSEOG and LEAP Grants—gift assistance available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.
  • Federal Work-Study—a student employment program that allows students to earn funds to assist in paying their educational costs. Participants in the Obama Scholars Program are automatically awarded $2,500 in federal work-study.
  • Scholarships— gift assistance awarded by ASU and private donors that recognizes exceptional achievement.
  • Outside Resources—funding received from outside sources that assists students in paying for their educational expenses.

Sample Obama Scholars Financial Aid Package

Estimated Direct Costs for On-Campus Student* $19,816 $19,816 $19,816
Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)† ($2,000) ($2,000) $0
Federal Pell Grant† ($3,600) ($3,600) ($5,550)
Institutional Grants ($3,000) ($1,500)  
Institutional Scholarships   ($9,000) ($12,000)
Federal Work-Study ($2,500) ($2,500) ($2,266)
ASU Obama Scholars Eligibility† $8,716 $1,216 $0
Total Gift Aid + FWS + EFC $19,816 $19,816 $19,816

* Direct costs include tuition, mandatory fees, and standardized allowances for books/supplies, room and board (housing plans vary in cost). Amounts are for the 2012-2013 academic year.

† Example amount only; Pell Grant is determined by EFC.

‡ Example amount only; actual amounts of institutional grants are based on eligibility and available funding.

Fall 2015 Eligibility

  • Open to Arizona residents, admitted to ASU for fall 2015 who are degree-seeking, full-time freshmen (pursuing first undergraduate degree). This includes Native American high school seniors who are not residing in Arizona who meet the Arizona residency criteria for tuition purposes at ASU.
  • Admission to the university does not guarantee eligibility for the program. You must meet all course competencies and at least one of the aptitude requirements for admission described on the Freshman Admission Requirements.
  • You must enroll in ASU at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester immediately after Arizona high school graduation. If you do not enroll at ASU in fall 2015, you will forfeit eligibility for any future participation in this program.
  • You must demonstrate a total annual family income of $42,400 or less on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Obama Scholars Program will be closed for the year when program funds have been exhausted.
  • You must be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant.
  • ASU Online degree programs are not eligible. If you change your major to an ASU Online major, you will be removed from the Obama Scholars Program and adjustments will be made to your awards.

Important Deadlines*

Meeting criteria and deadline dates does not guarantee placement in the program as funding is limited and the program will close when available funds have been exhausted.

March 1, 2015 - Students must submit their FAFSA and have a complete ASU admissions application on file (application, transcripts and application fee).

July 1, 2015 - Students must submit all requested documents for financial aid verification.

* There are no exceptions to these dates. The FAFSA must be free of errors and the admissions application with all necessary materials must be complete to be eligible for consideration. Be sure to apply early in order to resolve any errors or issues before the deadline dates.

For more participation details, see the Obama Scholars Fact Sheet for the year you entered the program below. 

Resources for Mentors and Scholars

The ASU Obama Scholars Success program offers one-on-one mentoring to scholars during their first year at ASU. Studies show that students who receive mentoring have a higher likelihood for success at the university, and students enjoy multiple benefits from their mentoring experience.

The mentor serves as a point of contact for the students, checking on the student's progress and making referrals to appropriate offices/services as needed. Mentors meet once a month with their students, and spend anywhere from one to three hours per month working with the students. ASU hosts orientation sessions for new mentors before the beginning of the academic school year.

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about the President Barack Obama Scholars Mentoring Program, please contact Mark Sanders at (480) 965-6601 or .


Obama Scholars Fact Sheets