The deadline for the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA/1890 National Scholars Program Scholarship application is Jan. 31, 2018. Because the stakes are so high, applicants may want to download the application and work on it during semester break, said George Richardson, USDA 1890 program liaison at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).

USDA/1890 National Scholars can graduate from college debt free with a bachelor’s degree. They have a job with employee benefits with USDA during the summers while in college, but they are required to compete for appropriate employment immediately upon graduation.

Students receive full tuition, books, room and board. The scholarship is renewable and continues for up to four years as long as normal progress is made toward a bachelor’s degree, said Richardson.

The National Scholars Program awards scholarships to students attending one of 19 historically black land-grant universities. National scholars must major in agriculture or related sciences which include agronomy, animal sciences, botany, food sciences and technology, botany, forestry, home economics and nutrition, horticulture, natural resources management, soil conservation, farm and range management, pre-veterinary medicine and computer science.

When the program began in 1992, applicants had to be incoming freshmen, but now the program is open to college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate leadership and community service.

Recipients are selected by participating agencies and not the 1890 institution. Recipients must apply for admission to the 1890 institution(s) of their choice and then submit a scholar’s program packet to the universities they select. The university submits the packet to the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, which contacts the USDA agencies who make the final selections.

Applicants are not restricted to applying to only one institution; they can apply to multiple ones, but each packet submitted must contain original signatures and transcripts or it will be disqualified, said Richardson.

Application packets are posted on the web at Click on the application link near the end of the website.

For more information or help with the application process, contact Richardson at (870) 575-7240, (870) 575-7241 or or