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The Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program is a four-year, full-tuition scholarship program for undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The program offers a community to students who value scholarship, leadership and service. Scholars begin as freshmen and are selected for their demonstrated academic success in high school, the impact of their leadership skills or capacity to grow as a leader, commitment to service and civic engagement, and potential to excel in the university’s rigorous educational environment.

Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program, prospective students must meet either criterion #1 or #2 below. In addition, all prospective students must also meet ALL other criteria outlined below (#3, #4, and #5).

  1. Member of traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education: African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, and Southeast Asian (i.e., Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Vietnamese); OR
  2. Socioeconomically disadvantaged*
  3. Plan to enroll as a new freshman in the fall following graduation from high school.
  4. Demonstrate outstanding academic performance. A minimum cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0/4.0 or higher.
  5. U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

* The term “socioeconomically disadvantaged” refers to educational or social disadvantage, such as coming from a low-income family, an underserved rural or farming community, attending a school with a limited college preparatory curriculum, or other family circumstances that have impacted your educational opportunities.

Note: All applicants must have a completed Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with UW-Madison. For instructions on how to submit, please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Selection Process

Utilizing a holistic review process, the Office of Admissions & Recruitment reviews all applications to UW–Madison to determine eligibility for the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program. Scholars are chosen for their demonstrated academic success in high school, the impact of their leadership skills or capacity to grow as a leader, commitment to service and civic engagement, and potential to excel in the university’s rigorous educational environment. The program seeks students who will begin as freshmen at UW with aspirations to be part of a thriving community that builds relationships with peers, faculty and staff. The program also seeks students excited to contribute to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.

Applicants who wish to apply to the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program should highlight these experiences and qualifications in their application/essay to UW. In addition, it is suggested that the individual completing a letter of recommendation for students can directly speak to their qualifications and characteristics making them a strong candidate to receive this competitive scholarship.

Please note that there is NOT a separate application to complete in order to be considered for the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program. The Office of Admissions & Recruitment will review all aspects of a student’s application to UW-Madison (e.g., high school transcript, essay, letters of recommendation, etc.) to determine their eligibility and qualifications for the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program. All questions regarding admission to UW-Madison and selection for the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program should be directed to the Office of Admissions & Recruitment.

Please contact the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program at mjlsp@cdo.wisc.edu or (608) 262-9315 with any questions.

Dates and Deadlines

To be considered for the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program, students should apply to UW–Madison by the university’s early action or regular decision deadline. Students are encouraged to complete their application for admission to UW by the early action deadline to ensure award notification by the end of January.

The university’s admissions application portal will remain open through January 15. Students applying between November and January will be considered for the university’s regular decision timeline and will receive award notification by the end of March.

Please visit the website of the Office of Admissions and Recruitment for updated dates and deadlines. 

group picture with art
CSPK Students share announcements at the 2019 spring graduation

"I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today without the continual support of the CS/PKS family."

Chundou Her, Powers-Knapp Scholarship Class of 2017