There is a scholarship (or many scholarships) out there for everyone. Every student has some skill, interest, experience, or characteristic that may make them an attractive candidate for one scholarship or another. And while we often refer to scholarships as “free money,” scholarships don’t actually come for free. It takes work to thoughtfully consider your strengths and research the scholarships that might be most appropriate for you. While the effort that goes into finding and winning scholarships may be akin to a part-time job, we at College Coach want to make your job a little easier. This on-going scholarship series highlights a new scholarship each week. Check out the below, along with the other posts in the series, and you may discover a funding resource that will make covering that college bill a little (or a lot!) easier.
Looking for a merit-based scholarship to attend a University of California campus? The Regents Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship available to top-tier applicants and is solely based upon academic merit and the attributes of the student.
Scholarship: UC Regents
Awarding Organization: Each University of California Campus
Amount: Awards vary by campus and are not transferable if you transfer to another UC campus.
- UC Berkley $2,500
- UC Davis $7,500
- UC Irvine $2,500
- UCLA $2,000
- UC Merced $7,000
- UC Riverside $10,000
- UC San Diego $2,000
- UC Santa Barbara $6,000
- UC Santa Cruz $5,000
In addition, certain perks are provided to Regents recipients: priority registration, extended library privileges, honors dormitories, faculty mentorship, and others, dependent upon campus.
Number of Scholarships Awarded: Varies annually—students in the top 1-2% of the applicant pool are considered for the scholarship.
Eligible Students: Entering freshman or transfer student who demonstrate academic excellence (based upon GPA, standardized test scores, and other academic criteria). Must be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident or CA Dream Act Student. Students must be enrolled full time and maintain a 3.25 GPA in order to continue receiving the scholarship.
Eligible College(s):University of California campuses
How to Apply: Apply for admission to the UC campus or campuses no later than November 30th. Recipients will be notified at the time of admission.
Deadline: November 30th
Best of luck, and please see the awarding organization’s website for full scholarship details and requirements.
Anonymous asked: Hi Arthur. Can you explain how to qualify and get a Regents Scholarship as a transfer student? I have seen the website but I was wondering how the process was like. Also, what is the difference between Regents and FAFSA? Thanks.
The Regents scholarship works differently at each UC, but we can generally categorize them into 3 groups: UCLA, UC Berkeley, and the rest. Not too surprising, considering that when it comes to anything revolving around the transfer process these are usually the categorizations we make.
UCLA has the most clear-cut and predictable process, so, to reflect that, I use bullet points:
- An application that is sent out to about 1500-2000 applicants (not admits) several weeks before the decision date is released; 90-95% of students who receive invitations to apply for Regents are admitted to UCLA so it is regarded as a strong indicator of admission!
- About 10% of the students who apply (which is lower than the number who are screened to apply because people are lazy/busy/demotivated) are selected; 1.5% of all admitted transfer students receive Regents—so, for the Fall 2014 transfers, about 80 students out of 5400 were selected.
- The application process involves submission of a short application essay about your education goals (300-400 words) and a letter of recommendation from any qualified individual. Your UC application will also be scrutinized.
- Scholars are notified 1-3 weeks before the transfer SIR due date.
Berkeley is not as transparent with their selection process, and their website only seems to explain how they select their freshmen Regents. (In case you’re interested about that, there is an initial selection process like UCLA for the freshmen, with a key difference: every single candidate subject to a rigorous interview by faculty members). For transfers, however, they simply screen all admits. This means that, unlike at UCLA where a select number of students receive applications, everyone technically automatically has “applied” to this scholarship—this is understandable because the UC application has a specific page where you check off certain characteristics that let you be screened for scholarships. In short, your chances of receiving it are lower, statistically speaking.
The most annoying part about Berkeley Regents is that they are significantly delayed in their notification. This year, they waited until May 29 and 30—2 and 3 days before the SIR due date—to notify recipients.
The rest of the UC campuses probably screen applicants in a manner similar to Berkeley. From my understanding, you do not receive Regents notifications at these schools until rather the last few weeks before the SIR due date as well. I hypothesize that one of the goals of doing this is to ensure that transfer Regents recipients are committed to attending the campus—they want to maximize the yield rate for Regent Scholars to prevent any allegations of unfairness.
Regardless of UC, it seems like no more than 100 transfer students are selected for the scholarship each year. If you want specific information about the Regents scholarship for any one campus, contact the school’s Financial Aid and Scholarships office. Don’t rely on what the website tells you.
As for Regents scholarship vs. FAFSA, you are asking the wrong question, for you are comparing apples and oranges. Regents scholars receive a $2000 honorarium (gift aid) per year along with additional financial aid as determined by the FAFSA for those with need. The FAFSA itself is the financial aid application that every student must fill out and submit to each school they apply to, for aid awards that accommodate the financial needs of lower-income students.
Applicants from upper-middle class households (SUPER ROUGH, I-AM-NOT-A-FIN-AID-OFFICER ESTIMATE: HH Income ~$200,000+ without unusually high amounts of assets) or wealthier will receive so little aid from the FAFSA (if at all) that they probably have little need to apply. If an admitted student from this socioeconomic bracket receives a Regents scholarship, their financial award is limited to the merit-based honorarium, which is given regardless of socioeconomic status or level of need.
Low-income students receive more federal grants (free money) and qualify for more loans (low interest, not-free money) if admitted. A low-income student that receives a Regents Scholarship receives additional gift aid on top of whatever they already receive. As a result, a low-income student like myself has to pay very little for college.