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DEADLINE EXTENDED: White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities 2020 Competitiveness Scholars Application

March 16 @ 12:00 am - May 31 @ 11:59 pm


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A MESSAGE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE CONTACT: Like you, we are closely monitoring COVID-19 and understand the many concerns and that several of our HBCUs have made the decision to close your campus. As a result the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities has decided to extend the submission deadline for our 2020 Competitiveness Scholars Program. 

The new submission deadline is May 31, 2020 and is reflected in the attached application and on our website.


The nominee must submit a completed nomination, including an unofficial transcript, a student interest essay, resume and a signed institutional endorsement commitment letter. The nominee must be a current undergraduate, graduate or professional HBCU student in good standing at an accredited institution and must be enrolled in good standing for the entire 2020-2021 academic school year.

The nominee must work with their institution’s leadership to complete and submit the nomination package by the established deadline.  Only complete nomination packages approved by HBCU President or Chancellor will be reviewed by the Initiative for final processing. Only completed nominations will be accepted.


Students may nominate themselves as a competitiveness scholar to their institutional leadership, but it is up to the institutional leadership, President or Chancellor to determine which nominee packages are submitted to the Initiative. The WHIHBCU will accept no more than two nominees per school. Although each HBCU is allowed two (2) nominees, The Initiative has the authority to only select one (1).

The HBCU Competitiveness Scholar nomination form must be submitted and endorsed   by the President, Chancellor or designated surrogate. A designated surrogate is someone delegated by the HBCU President or Chancellor to complete the submission requirements.

All nominations must be submitted electronically. Nomination components are outlined below:



Part C: ENDORSEMENT COMMITMENT LETTER {completed by President, Chancellor or designated surrogate)

President or Chancellor must provide a signed written nomination attesting to the nominee’s current performance, potential for a leadership and institutional endorsement commitment. A designated surrogate is someone delegated by the HBCU President or Chancellor to complete the submission requirements.

Part D: STUDENT INTEREST ESSAY (To be completed by the nominee)

In 500 words or less, the nominee must briefly describe their:

  • Academic achievements;
  • Demonstrated civic and/or campus engagement;
  • Proven entrepreneurial ethos;
  • Personal and career aspirations/needs;
  • Institutions’ and communities’ aspirations/ needs; and
  • Ideas how the WHIHBCU and this recognition support those aspirations/needs.


*National Recognition

  • Scholars and institution names cited in official press release issued by the Initiative and U.S. Department of Education.
  • Recognition Ceremony at Annual HBCU Week National Conference.
  • Student name and institutions will also be posted on Initiative website.

*Invitation to Annual HBCU Week National Conference

  • Scholars will be invited to attend workshops designed to help them model promising and proven practices related to the spirit of engagement, competing in the 21st century, entrepreneurship, innovation and career development.
  • During the conference workshops and offsite convenings, recognized scholars will have opportunities to engage with their peers, public partners and private organizations from a wide range of

*Acknowledgement Letter

  • Scholars will receive an acknowledgment letter signed by the Initiative Executive Director.
  • Scholars will also receive a plaque certificate signed by the Initiative Executive Director.

*Invitation to Regional Meetings and Virtual Convenings

  • Scholars will be invited to Initiative hosted events and meetings in their region. These events provide students with the opportunity to articulate their contributions and needs during the events while also serving as opportunities to network with partners and stakeholders.
  • Scholars will be privy to a series of virtual events designed to connect students at HBCUs with non-profit organizations, industry, federal agencies, and young professionals to explore career development opportunities and identify challenges and solutions for HBCU students preparing to enter the 21st century