The Obama administration is focusing on the importance of global competition. Expanding higher education opportunities to American students is an important part of ensuring the nation’s success on a global level. Unfortunately, the financial crisis has wreaked havoc on millions of households and college costs can be prohibitive. In steps the GM Foundation with the creation of a new scholarship program, Buick Achievers.

The Buick Achievers scholarship program will provide up to $25,000 per year to 100 first-time college freshman and $2,000 per year for an additional 1,000 students. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years (or five years in the case of eligible engineering programs) and the first round of scholarships will be awarded for the fall 2011 college semester.

Here are just a few examples of the requirements that students must meet in order to qualify for a scholarship.

  • First time college student enrolling in the fall 2011 semester
  • Enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program at an accredited four-year university
  • Majoring in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) program
  • Recently expanded to include business administration and marketing degree programs
  • U.S. citizenship and permanent residence in the U.S. required
Scholarships will be awarded based on several criteria including academic achievement, financial need, leadership and community involvement. Additionally, special consideration will be given to first-generation college students, females, minorities, military veterans and dependents of military personnel.

The decision to give special consideration to these populations was purposeful. According to John Montford, GM Foundation Chairman, the organization wants to extend the hand of opportunity to students that may not otherwise be able to attend college.

This includes nontraditional students that will be enrolling as college freshmen for the fall 2011 semester. For example, a 20-something female military veteran decides to return to school to study environmental engineering – she would qualify for the Buick Achievers scholarship and receive special consideration. Although she is not fresh out of high school, she is still a first-time college student.

While there are many scholarship programs out there, the fact that the Buick Achievers scholarship provides up to $25,000 per year sets it apart from most. Depending on the college chosen, $25,000 can cover an entire year’s tuition, books, fees, and even room and board. When asked about the significant value of the scholarship, Montford commented, “we wanted to give a meaningful scholarship.” With a possible value of $125,000 for students enrolled in a five-year engineering program, this is definitely a meaningful scholarship.

Stimulating interest in American manufacturing was one reason for the launch of the Buick Achievers program. Despite the decline in American manufacturing jobs over the past few decades, it is important that the nation’s colleges prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing jobs – especially in the clean energy and advanced transportation arenas. The GM Foundation feels so strongly about Buick Achievers that Montford has declared it a signature program for the organization.

Although the Buick Achievers program was only recently launched, the application deadline is just a few weeks away. Eligible students need to submit their application no later than March 31, 2011. The rapidly approaching deadline is needed to ensure that recipients can be chosen and funds disbursed in a timely fashion.

For more information, including application instructions, please visit the Buick Achievers website.