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Each year, our selection committee utilizes a holistic review process to carefully choose a group of academically outstanding and talented young people pursuing a broad range of majors. Scholars are chosen for their demonstrated academic success in high school, the impact of their leadership skills, commitment to volunteer service, and potential to excel in the university’s rigorous educational environment.

Program Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program at UW-Madison, prospective students must meet either criterion #1 or #2, and must meet all criteria outlined in #3-5.

  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 and social disadvantage, such as coming from a low-income family, a rural or farming community, attending a school with a limited college preparatory curriculum, or other family circumstances that 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.

2021-2022 Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program Application Process

The Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program scholarship application is open beginning October 1, 2021 through November 8, 2021 for early applicants. Applicants applying by November 8, 2021 will be reviewed in concert with the University’s Fall Early Action timeline to ensure award notification by the end of January.

The scholarship application portal will continue to be opened through February 1, 2022. Applicants applying between November 9, 2021-February 1, 2022 will be considered for the University’s Regular Decision timeline and award notification by the end of March. 

Please click here to apply.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application even if they have not yet been admitted to UW-Madison. All they need is their NetID and password, which they will get once they start their UW’s Admissions Freshman application.

If you have any questions, please contact us at or 608-262-9315. 

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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