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Ford Scholarship Essay

Applications are now open
(for the 2018-2019 academic year)
Applications due: March 1, 2018.


The Ford Scholars Program was created by Kenneth W. Ford (1908-1997), a founder of The Ford Family Foundation, to assist students who otherwise would find it impossible, or at least very difficult, to obtain a college degree. Mr. Ford established the Foundation to help many worthy causes, but the Ford Scholars Program was always one of his favorite projects. Each year, 120 Ford Scholars are selected.

Scholarship amount: Covers 90% of unmet college costs not covered by outside resources

Who qualifies?

  • Residents of Oregon or Siskiyou County, Calif.
  • Graduating high school seniors (or equivalent) or community college students at point of transfer as a junior and who are seeking a bachelor’s degree
  • Students who plan to enroll full time in the fall in their state of residence (Oregon or California)
  • Students who have NOT already started full-time at a 4-year college

What is the scholarship?

  • Supports students who have significant financial barriers to college
  • Award amount is calculated on college cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room and board, personal costs, etc.), minus other grants and scholarships
  • Non-financial support including academic, emotional and professional guidance and leadership development
  • Renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study

how to apply


For complete eligibility and selection criteria: 
Download the Ford Scholars Handout PDF


The Ford Family Foundation Scholarship Office
44 Club Road, Suite 100 | Eugene, OR 97401
Toll Free: (877) 864-2872 | Local: (541) 485-6211
Fax: (541) 485-6223

Ford Scholars Program

Each year the theme for the President Gerald R. Ford Scholarship Essay Challenge reflects on an important part of Gerald R. Ford’s character. High school students from public, private, city, suburban, rural and home schools participate in the contest. Finalists are chosen and recognized at a special awards program at the Museum.

Click here for 2018 President Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge Rules and Guidelines

The President Gerald R. Ford Essay Challenge is open to all 9th through 12th grade students. Review the rules and guidelines for the 500-750 word essay on the 2018 theme: courage.

President Gerald R. Ford lived what many people would define as a life of courage. From overcoming family adversity as a child to standing up for his beliefs in college to becoming President of the United States during a time of deep political divide and social unrest, President Ford demonstrated tremendous courage. Examples of courage can be found all throughout our history as well as in our own, everyday lives. Is there someone in history or in your own personal life that you believe exemplifies this character trait? Reflect on your interpretation of courage and share your thoughts in an essay.

Submit your 2018 Essay Online by March 12, 2018

NEW THIS YEAR! Students are invited to submit entries online. To enter online, please click link for online submission below. If mailing your essay, please submit to address provided below.

  • Easily submit your Essay today via our online submission by uploading a PDF
  • Or, submit your Essay by Mail to the following address by March 12, 2018:
    Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
    c/o Clare Shubert
    303 Pearl Street, NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Tips for a Successful Essay

Follow this link to find some helpful resources and suggestions for the pre-writing, writing, and revision process of your scholarship essay.


Utilize the following contacts for questions on the Essay Contest and submissions.

  • President Gerald R. Ford Scholarship Essay Contest Contacts
    Clare Shubert: cshubert@38foundation.org / 616-254-0409
    Kailie West: kwest@38foundation.org

President Gerald R. Ford Essay Challenge previous year and past winners

2017 Winners
First Place: Daisy Hagen, 11th Grade, Newaygo High School
Second Place: Maya Trowe, 12th Grade, Forest Hills Eastern High School
Third Place: Deena Hoffman, 12th Grade, Plymouth Christian High School

2017 President Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge Finalists and Winners

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