About CAO

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Center for Advancing Opportunity is a research and education initiative created by a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation, and Koch Industries. CAO supports faculty and students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other postsecondary institutions to develop research-based solutions to the most challenging issues in education, criminal justice, and entrepreneurship. Our constituency is people living in fragile communities and they are members of all races, ethnicities, and religions.

Scholarship Overview

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), and the Center for Advancing Opportunity are proud to offer a research scholarship to undergraduate students attending a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Up to 20 scholars will be selected to receive a scholarship of up to $7,500 for 2020-2021 academic school year ($3,750 per semester which can only be applied to verifiable costs associated with average tuition and usual fees).

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be enrolled full-time as a sophomore, junior or senior at an HBCU during the 2020-2021 academic school year.
  • Current cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  • Must be currently involved in a research project with a professor that aligns with CAO’s work in education, criminal justice, entrepreneurship, and economic mobility
  • Able to demonstrate leadership abilities.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident with a valid permanent resident card or passport stamped I-551.

How to Apply

All Applicants Must:

  • Provide a copy of the 2020-2021 FAFSA Student Aid Report.
  • Provide the transcript (official or unofficial) for your most recently completed academic term-this should include your end of Fall 2019 grades and cumulative GPA.
  • Upload two letters of recommendation from:
    • One Professor who is conducting the research project
    • A former professor, college administrator, community leader, or another person supporting the academic ability, character, reputation or professional aptitude of the applicant.
  • Answer the following (Maximum of 750 words):
    • Tell us about yourself and why you are interested in becoming a CAO Scholar.
    • Why does education reform, criminal justice reform, and entrepreneurship matter to your community? Describe something you have done in the past year that has made a difference in your community under the purview of criminal justice reform, education reform, or entrepreneurship.
    • What solution you would propose to improve or resolve a current issue that relates to education, the economy, or criminal justice? How will your solution help remove barriers to opportunities for people living in fragile communities? (Use evidence and data from CAO’s 2019 State of Opportunity in Americaopens in a new window report to support your solutions).

Application Dates

This application opens February 17, 2020, and closes April 27, 2020 (11:59 PM EST).

Click the website below to start the scholarship application.