Edward Munn Sanchez teaching a class in 2019

Pierre Laclede Honors College Dean Edward Munn Sanchez (center, with hand raised), has championed the creation of the St. Louis Scholars Program, designed to serve as a companion program to the Opportunity Scholars Program and award $8,000 stackable scholarships to 20 students each year. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis has been helping top-performing students from underserved communities in the St. Louis metropolitan area realize their dream of a college education over the past decade through its Opportunity Scholars Program.

Through the program, UMSL has awarded five scholarships annually covering the full cost of tuition, housing, meals, books, a computer and other incidental expenses to select students enrolling in the Pierre Laclede Honors College.

The university is now working to broaden its impact with the creation of the St. Louis Scholars Program, designed as a companion to the Opportunity Scholars Program that will provide an additional 20 students $8,000 per year in stackable scholarship funds along with membership in the Honors College and specialized advising and mentoring.

“This is a wonderful addition that will support academically gifted students who are either first-generation college students or are underrepresented in the workforce in their intended fields,” Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said in announcing the scholarship.

Edward Munn Sanchez, the dean of the Pierre Laclede Honors College, has championed this initiative.

“It is really exciting to be able to expand the Opportunity Scholars Program to include the St. Louis Scholars,” Munn Sanchez said. “Extending opportunities to St. Louis area students is at the core of our mission, and this really expands our ability to do this. The students that have come to us through OSP have been amazing, and we are really looking forward to welcoming a much larger group.”

Students can begin applying to the St. Louis Scholars and Opportunity Scholars Programs, and the deadline to submit an application is Jan. 4.

To be considered for the scholarships, students must graduate from high schools in the St. Louis metropolitan area, including the counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, St. Louis City, Warren, and Washington in Missouri and Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair in Illinois.

They must also meet two of the following requirements: rank in the top 10% of their high school class, have earned a cumulative 3.5 grade point average or have a composite ACT score of 26 or higher.

A total of 25 students will be selected for the two programs, and each will interview to receive one of the five coveted spots as Opportunity Scholars and the full-tuition scholarship and wraparound services that come with them. The remaining students will be part of the St. Louis Scholars Program and will receive $8,000 in aid stackable with any other need-based or merit-based scholarships not provided by UMSL.

The St. Louis Scholars and Opportunity Scholars programs are both four-year programs and give preference to first-generation and other underrepresented students, with additional preference to students pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

Together Opportunity Scholars and St. Louis Scholars will form a scholars’ community in the Honors College that will enrich the individualized education each student receives.

Both efforts are part of UMSL’s continued commitment to support student success. In the past three years, UMSL’s development team has worked with donors to establish nearly 100 new institutional scholarships.

For more information or to apply to the St. Louis Scholars and Opportunity Scholars programs, click here.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik