Udall Undergraduate Scholarship


Scholarship FAQs


Who can apply for the scholarship?

You can apply for the scholarship if you
  • Are a sophomore or junior-level college student at a two-year or four-year accredited institution of higher education in the United States, pursuing a bachelor's or associate's degree during the 2017-2018 academic year;
  • Will be pursuing a bachelor's degree full-time during the 2018-2019 academic year; and
  • Are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident.

    See our FAQs on how we define “sophomore” and “junior” and visit Who Should Apply for additional information.

Are two-year college students eligible to apply?

Yes. Two year college students may apply as sophomores in the semester before receiving their associate's degree. You must have applied and/or been accepted to a four year university as a full-time student for the following year in order to receive the award.

Are any fields of study given priority?

No. Udall Scholars come from all majors and fields of study. Recent Udall Scholars have majored in environmental sciences and policy studies, agriculture, political science, natural resource management, sociology, anthropology, American Indian studies, tribal public policy, history, English, theater, landscape architecture, and public health, to name just a few areas.

How does the Udall Foundation define Native American?

For the purposes of the Scholarship Program, a Native American or Alaska Native is any individual who is:

  • U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who are members of either State- or Federall-recognized Tribes;
  • Descendants of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who are members of either State- or Federall-recognized Tribes;
  • Those considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose; and
  • Alaska Natives.
What kind of documents are required to demonstrate tribal enrollment or descendancy?

Applicants must submit copies of relevant enrollment forms, cards, and/or descent documentation such as a Certificate of Degree of Indian or Alaska Native Blood. Descendants of enrolled tribal members must provide proof of their parent's or grandparent's enrollment and birth certificates that demonstrate the applicant's relationship to the enrolled tribal member.

I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I apply?

If you are a U.S. national or U.S. permanent resident, you are eligible to apply. Permanent residents must include verification (a copy of the green card) and a letter of intent to declare U.S. citizenship. Applicants who are First Nations of Canada do not need to submit a letter of intent, but must be U.S. permanent residents.

I am not an enrolled member of a state or federally recognized tribe. May I still apply as a tribal public policy or Native health care scholar?

That depends. If you are not currently on your tribal roll, and do not have a CDIB, you may provide proof of a parent or grandparent's enrollment and copies of birth certificates demonstrating your relationship. You should also obtain a letter from a tribal leader indicating your involvement in your tribal community The Udall Foundation will review the letter to determine if it provides sufficient proof of eligibility to meet our criteria.

I am Native Hawaiian. Am I eligible to apply?

No, at this time Native Hawaiians are not eligible. The Foundation may revisit this issue in the future.

I have enough credit hours to be a senior, but I don't plan to graduate for another full academic year. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. The Udall Foundation considers you to be a junior if you will be a full-time undergraduate student for the following academic year. Students who intend to graduate the following December are not eligible. Students who have already applied twice for the scholarship are not eligible.

I’m technically a junior, but I have enough credits to graduate in December of my senior year. Would I still be eligible to apply?

No. Scholars must be enrolled full time both semesters in the year following their award.

I’m in my first or second semester of college, but I have enough credits to be considered a sophomore. Am I eligible to apply?

No. You must have completed at least three semesters of college coursework, not including AP credits or college courses taken in high school.

I'm in a five-year combined bachelor's and master's program. May I apply?

Yes. Students in a five-year program that will lead to a combined bachelor's/master's degree may apply in their 2nd and 3rd years of study, but not in their fourth year. Students in a five-year program leading to a bachelor's degree may apply in two out of three of their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th years of study. Students may not apply more than two times.

Are students who are pursuing a second undergraduate degree eligible?

Applicants who have returned to school for a 2nd undergraduate degree are eligible if:

  • They are returning after an absence of at least 2 years;
  • Their first undergraduate degree was in a field unrelated to the environment, tribal public policy, or health care;
  • They have not previously been awarded a Udall Scholarship or Honorable Mention.

I'm not enrolled full time right now, can I still apply?

Yes, students need not be enrolled full time in coursework during the year they apply for the Udall, but must be considered degree-seeking by the college or university they attend. During their award year (both fall and spring of the academic year following their application semester), all Scholars must be enrolled full time.

How to Apply

My school doesn’t have a faculty representative. What should I do?

Discuss your interest in the Udall Scholarship with a professor, the dean of your academic college, or a faculty advisor. Direct them to Udall Faculty Reps to explain the importance of the faculty rep's role in the application process. In the meantime, use the sample application to begin thinking about your essays and letters of recommendation (you can request your letters even before you have a faculty rep). If one of your letter writers is affiliated with your undergraduate institution as faculty or staff, that person may also serve as your faculty rep. If you are having trouble recruiting a faculty rep, please contact the Udall Scholarship program manager for assistance.

Why can't I access the online application?

Your Udall faculty representative must register you in order to give you access to the online application. When you have been registered, you will receive an email with a link to the application and your username and password.

Which "Indian country" category should I apply in?

There are two distinct categories within the "Indian country" designation. Keep in mind you must be an enrolled tribal citizen or descendant of a tribal citizen to apply in these categories. Just about any career you're working toward that will benefit your tribe or American Indians or Alaska Natives in general will likely qualify you for the Indian country categories. We strongly recommend you discuss your ideas with your faculty rep and make a decision with her or him as to which category you'll apply in.

You might apply in Tribal Public Policy if your area of interest is something like:
•economic development
•natural resources/ wildlife
•language preservation
•journalism/ media
•renewable energy
•traditional and modern arts
•Indian law
•sovereignty and self-determination
•criminal justice
•child welfare
•sustainable development

You might apply in Native American health care if your area of interest is something like:
•western or traditional medicine
•chronic disease care and prevention
•family therapy
•social work
•gene therapy
•public health
•health care research
•child welfare
•holistic medicine
•elder care
•physical therapy
How do I determine my state of legal residence?

Typically, your state of legal residence is the state in which you are registered to vote or your family's primary residence. Your school address is not usually your legal residence unless you have a permanent address in that city (and are not there simply for the purpose of attending university).

Which transcripts should I submit with my application?

You should submit transcripts from your current institution, transfer institutions, and any institutions where you took summer courses for college credit. If your transcript lists transfer credits, but no grades, we require transcripts from the transferring institution.

You do not need to submit transcripts for:

  • College courses taken during high school;
  • Summer courses that were not for college credit;
  • Courses for which you did not receive credit at your current institution;
  • College courses taken more than 10 years ago.

  • Do current transcripts need to be official?

    No. Since the faculty rep uploads all transcripts and letters of recommendation in the online portal (facultyreps.udall.gov), current transcripts may be unofficial and are often easier for our selection committee members to read. Faculty reps should ensure that all materials are true and correct to the best of their ability before uploading.

    Award Benefits & Conditions

    What can the scholarship money be used for?

    The financial aspect of the Udall Scholarship can be used toward tuition, fees, books and supplies, and room and board. It can be used to cover these expenses at an institution other than your home institution, with additional documentation.

    What is Scholar Orientation?

    Udall Scholar Orientation is four days of networking, critical thinking, and community building with your scholar class. Scholars tackle a challenging case study, network with alumni and special guests from a variety of tribal policy and environmental fields, learn what it means to be part of the Udall legacy, and leave Orientation feeling inspired and supported. Travel from the Scholar's home or school, lodging and meals will be provided by the Udall Foundation. All new and repeat Scholars must attend

    I'm not able to attend the Scholar Orientation; can I opt out of the weekend? Attend next year?

    Scholar Orientation is an integral part of becoming a Udall Scholar; all new and repeat Scholars must attend. If you are awarded the scholarship and cannot attend the Orientation, the Udall Foundation will revoke your scholarship.

    If selected as a Scholar, may I defer the award? I intend to do something impressive and/or scholarly.

    No, the Udall Scholarship cannot be deferred. Scholars must be enrolled as full time undergraduates during the following academic year or decline the scholarship. All Scholars must also attend their Scholar Orientation, which is an integral part of becoming a Udall Scholar. If you cannot attend Orientation, the Udall Foundation will revoke your scholarship.

    Application Advice

    How important are grades?

    Grades are less important than community service and leadership records, but they are still significant. The most important thing is that your GPA be generally on an upward trend, or steady. To see the relative importance of grades in relation to leadership, public service, and demonstrated commitment, review the application rating form at Who Should Apply.

    I applied my sophomore year, but did not receive a scholarship. How can I improve my chances?

  • First, review the Advice & Guidance section. Ask your faculty rep to contact the Udall Foundation to request feedback on your application. Be sure that your essays clearly demonstrate your commitment, leadership, and public service. What are you doing now that demonstrates that commitment? What problems or issues do you hope to find solutions to? How will your educational goals and career plans help you address these issues?
  • Write clearly and succinctly. Ask someone who doesn't know you well to read your application and give you their impressions.
  • Spend some time reading about Morris Udall's or Stewart Udall’s life and legislative achievements. In your "long essay" or "Udall essay" be sure to integrate your analysis of a significant speech, legislative act, book, or public policy statement with its impact on your studies or career goals.

  • Can you give me any advice on the essay?

    A well written essay will:

    • Incorporate the values that guide the Udall Foundation’s mission: civility, integrity, and consensus;
    • Give readers more insight into your professional goals and uniqueness;
    • Talk about your leadership and how you see yourself as part of the Udall legacy;
    • Contribute to your overall demonstrated commitment in combination with other parts of the application;
    • And although not required, you are encouraged to reference the contributions of Morris and/or Stewart Udall as a demonstration of your understanding of the Udall legacy.
    How does the Udall Foundation define public service?

    Examples of public service include work in the public's interest that is either paid or volunteer. This includes

    • Work for government at any level, such as law enforcement, military service, elected office, the park service;
    • Education;
    • Work for non-profit or public interest group;
    • Preservation and/or restoration of natural and cultural resources;
    • Health care services; and
    • Volunteering for your campus community.

      Consult with your faculty rep if you are unsure whether your service meets the Udall Foundation's criteria.

    I haven't yet been involved in formal research. How should I approach the question on research (D3)?

    Many students who haven't undertaken formal, scientific research have conducted research projects for campus initiatives and community organizations; an example would be researching alternatives to Styrofoam take away containers and conducting surveys to determine which alternatives would be appropriate for your campus community.

    You need only answer the question "if applicable." Readers do not penalize applicants who leave the question blank.

    I've been involved with many campus initiatives, but I like to think of myself as a team player. How important is leadership?

    Leadership is an important quality in a Udall Scholar. The selection committee looks for applicants who:

    • Bring people together by inspiring and motivating others to act, or by mediating opposing factions or groups to bring about consensus;
    • Identify problems or needs and propose and implement solutions;
    • Take initiative by looking for and creating opportunities.
    • The committee also evaluates whether applicants are likely to have a significant impact in their chosen career field.

    Faculty Rep FAQs

    How can my students gain access to the online application?

    You must register students at http://facultyreps.udall.gov in order to give them access to the online application system. You may register students at any time between September 1 and March 7. When you have registered a student, he or she will receive an email with a link to the online application and a username and password.

    When I registered my student, I entered the email address incorrectly/misspelled her name. What do I do?

    Log in to http://facultyreps.udall.gov and go to Manage Applications. You will see your student’s name and a link, View Application. Click View Application to enter your student’s application area. Click on Confirm Profile in the right menu. You will see a button at the bottom of your screen, Update Profile. You can make changes to your student’s profile until the student begins the application process. Please note that you will be required to fill in all fields in order to save your changes at this time. Once your student begins the application process, their status will change from "Registered" to "In-Progress" and you will no longer be able to edit the profile.

    Can I use the online application for our campus nomination process?

    Absolutely. You may register as many students as you wish, and you and your students may use the online system for your campus's internal selection process. However, you may submit only eight nominations to the Foundation.

    Can I review individual sections of my student’s application before it’s submitted to me?

    Yes. You can view your student's application while it's in-progress. Your student can also create a PDF of the application at any time and email the PDF to you.

    How do I upload recommendation letters and transcripts?

    Log in to http://facultyreps.udall.gov and go to Manage Applications. You will see your student's name and a link, View Application. Click View Application to enter your student’s application area. Click on Upload Supporting Documents in the right menu. To upload your documents, click "Select" and then select the document type; letter, transcript, or other documentation.

    We can accept files in Word, PDF, GIF, or JPEG format up to 4 MB. You may upload only one file for each of the three letters and the current transcript; you may upload up to three files for other transcripts (transfer credits). If you upload the wrong file or wish to make a change, you will be able to do so at any time before the submission deadline.

    If you are unable to upload any item, please contact us for assistance. We will not accept paper copies of materials unless there is no possible way the materials can be submitted electronically. If you must mail hard copy materials, they must arrive at the Foundation one week before the March deadline to allow for processing.

    There’s no “Submit to Foundation” link on my student’s application? I’m confused. How do I submit the application to the Foundation?

    Before you will able to submit an application to the Foundation, you must approve each section of your student’s application and have uploaded three letters of recommendation and a current transcript. In addition, you will need to upload a copy of a tribal enrollment card or other tribal verification for applicants in tribal public policy or health care, and a copy of a permanent resident card and a letter of intent to become a U.S. citizen for applicants who are U.S. permanent residents (First Nations of Canada members are excepted from the last requirement.)

    When you have uploaded the required documents and approved your student’s application, return to the student's home page and click "Complete Application." The application status will change to "Complete," and you will be able to submit the application to the Foundation.

    One of my student’s recommenders mailed the letter to the Udall Foundation. She doesn’t have email access, the deadline is tomorrow, and I can’t submit my student’s application because it’s not complete. Can you help?

    You can upload a placeholder document that explains the situation, and you will be able to submit your student's application.

    Isn’t there an institutional nomination form that I submit with my student’s application? Where is it?

    We no longer require a separate form for the institutional nomination. You have officially nominated the student when you submit the application to the Foundation in your faculty reps portal.

    How will I know that I’ve submitted the application successfully?

    When you have submitted the application, you will see a page confirming your submission. You will receive an email verifying that the application has been submitted successfully, and your student will also receive an email to inform him or her that the application has been submitted.

    Will I be able to access my student’s application after the submission deadline?

    Yes. You will still be able to print a PDF of your student's application after the deadline, but you will not be able to delete or add letters, transcripts, or other supporting documents.

    I submitted a student’s application to the Foundation by mistake. What do I do?

    Contact Jason Curley. He can "un-submit" the application back to you.

    One of my environmental applicants is also Native American. Will the application be read in the tribal public policy or the environmental category?

    We recommend that Native American students who want to give back to Indian country in their environmental career apply in the tribal public policy category. Students who don't intend to give back to Indian country should apply in the environment category even if they are Native American.

    One of our nominees studied abroad last semester, and hasn’t received her fall grades yet. What should she do?

    The International Studies office, Dean's office or the Registrar should be able to provide either or all of the following:

    • Verification that the student was enrolled in a program of study;
    • List of courses taken during the semester abroad;
    • Explanation of why the grades are not available.

    You may also, as the faculty representative, provide a signed statement attesting to the above.

    We have nominated students for the past several years and none has received a Scholarship or an Honorable Mention. I am frustrated and feel like the effort put into the applications is not worth it. What should I do?

    Please call or email Jason Curley (520.901.8564). He is happy to explain the selection process further, give you feedback on your past applicants, and answer any other questions you may have.