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Scholars Awards

The Scholars Award Program is College of DuPage's premier merit-based scholarship program for 2022-2023 high school graduates. Scholarships are awarded based on a holistic review of all scholarship materials. Applicants should try to highlight why they stand out on their Scholars Award application.

Eligibility Requirements

When students apply for the Scholars Award Program, they are evaluated based on their cumulative GPA, academic rigor and their answer to the Scholars Award essay question. Graduating high school seniors who live in District 502 or attend a District 502 high school are welcome to apply. 

Application Criteria

  • Must be a current high school senior who lives in District 502 and attends a U.S. high school or a current high school senior who lives out of District 502 but attends a high school in District 502.
    • To determine if you are in-district, review the District 502 map. Note that only portions of communities listed with an asterisk (*) are in District 502. Refer to the property taxes of the home or contact the Office of Student Registration Services at (630) 942-2377.
  • Minimum 3.5 GPA/4.0 Scale or 4.37 GPA/5.0 Scale (weighted or unweighted).
  • Strong writing skills as demonstrated through the Scholars Award Program essay prompt.

Steps to Apply

  1. Complete the General Admissions application to College of DuPage at
  2. Complete the general application on the Academic Works Scholarship Portal using your myACCESS username and password.
  3. Complete the College of DuPage Scholars Award supplemental application on Academic Works Scholarship Portal.
  4. When submitting the application on Academic Works, make sure to submit the following:
    • Unofficial or official high school transcript (sixth semester for fall deadline, seventh semester transcript for spring deadline.)
    • An essay that addresses the prompt question in 1 to 2 pages.
  5. Contact if you have any questions about the application process.

Scholarships Available

Once students complete the Scholars Award application, they may be offered one of our three Scholars Awards. Scholarships are awarded based on the recommendations of the Scholars Award Committee.  

  1. Presidential Scholars Award
    Covers up to 64 credit hours of in-district tuition at College of DuPage.
  2. Board of Trustees Scholars Award
    $2,500 award ($1,250 per semester). Renewed annually for up to four semesters.
  3. Deans Scholars Award
    $1,000 award ($500 per semester). Renewed annually for up to four semesters. 

Timeline to Apply

  • Spring Deadline: May 31

Once a student is awarded one of the three Scholars Awards, they must accept their position in the program by June 30. Details about how to accept a Scholars Award will be provided in the acceptance letter and email.

Application Video

student holding a scholars award sign

Watch the video to learn how to apply for the Scholars Award or follow the steps below.

Important notes for scholar applicants

  • All communication will be sent to the COD student email. It is the responsibility of the student to stay updated on all communication.
  • Students that have already established a COD GPA (e.g., Dual Credit or Early Admission), the COD GPA will be considered for review. If the students GPA falls below the required 3.5 GPA, the student may be at risk of losing their scholarship after the first semester.
  • Students will only be awarded once. Students that apply and are awarded during the priority deadline, will not be reviewed and awarded for the final deadline. Students that anticipate their GPA to be higher once 7th semester grades are posted are encouraged to apply during the regular deadline.
  • The scholars award covers in-district tuition for two consecutive academic years. The scholarship will not be extended if students take coursework beyond this timeframe.
  • Students that are graduating early in December are encouraged to apply for the priority deadline. Early grad students that are awarded during the priority deadline will be allowed to use funds for spring semester (January).

Maintaining the Scholars Award

In order to maintain the Scholars Award, you must: 

  1. Be enrolled full-time (minimum 12 credit hours) pursuing a degree or certificate program.
  2. Maintain a 3.5 GPA while at College of DuPage.
  3. Meet with an assigned academic advisor prior to registering for classes each semester.
  4. Presidential Scholars Award Recipients Only: Complete 20 hours of approved volunteer service during the first year of the scholarship.

NOTE: If a student fails to comply with the above requirements, they will no longer be considered a part of the Scholars Award Program. The student would then be responsible for payment, in full, of all tuition after that semester. Note that the Scholars Award cannot be reinstated even should the student achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in the future.

Contact if you have questions about maintaining your award.

At the Scholars Award Student Advising and Registration Sessions, students meet with the Scholars Award Counselors, learn more about the program requirements, register for classes and setup payment plans (if awarded the Board of Trustees or Deans Scholarships). 

Students will be sent more information about the Scholars Award Student Advising and Registration Sessions once they've accepted their award online. Students are required to attend these registration sessions as part of the requirements of the Scholars Award program. 

There are many benefits of being a Scholar at College of DuPage. In addition to being awarded a Scholars Award scholarship, students will be invited to join the College of DuPage Honors Program, qualify to earn membership to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and participate in unique Student Life opportunities.

Honors Program

Students who accept their Presidential, Board of Trustees or Deans Scholarship are invited to enroll in the College of DuPage Honors Program. The Honors Program is a vibrant community of students and faculty dedicated to academic excellence. The program offers many benefits, including: honors sections of required courses and electives, small class sizes, extra-curricular activities and events, honors recognition on the transcript, and transfer scholarship opportunities.

There is no application to participate in the Honors Program. Students will work with their counselor through the Office of Counseling, Advising and Transfer Services to determine what courses are a good fit for their academic plan.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

The Phi Beta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa is an international award-winning honor society at College of DuPage. Phi Theta Kappa is the only honor society who has the distinction of being named the official honor society for two-year colleges by the American Association of Community Colleges. For more information on the overall organization and benefits of memberships you can visit Phi Theta Kappa's website.

For students that receive the Presidential Scholars Award, they may be eligible for automatic membership to Phi Theta Kappa, for which the $80 membership will be waived.

Student Life

Michael Santana accepting diploma

Both Michael Santana and his sister, Isabel Santana are COD Presidential Scholars. As Scholars Awards recipients, graduating students who complete the Scholars Awards are recognized at the spring Celebration of Academic Excellence.