Scholar Program Q&A

Information that individuals who are in the process of applying to law school, and who are members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, need to know about seeking scholarship and other assistance from the Foundation.

What scholarship assistance does the Foundation provide?

Each Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is eligible for consideration to receive a $30,000 tuition scholarship award. The Foundation makes several such grant awards each year to students beginning their first year of law school. These scholarship awards that are payable over three years in $10,000 per year increments. To be considered for such a tuition grant award, an applicant seeking recognition as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is encouraged to submit a FASFA form as part of the application process.

How do I apply for Scholar recognition and scholarship assistance?

Applicants must complete an online application available at the link below before April 1 (11:59PM, EDT, March 31).  A complete application consists of an online questionnaire, as well as copies of academic transcripts, a short personal statement, and a resume.  For applicants seeking scholarship assistance, a FASFA form should also be provided.  Complete instructions are provided on the website for providing the required materials.

What are the application deadlines for Scholar recognition and scholarship assistance?

Applicants seeking recognition as Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars are encouraged to apply early in the process of seeking law school admission.  Applications for the Scholar Program are accepted at any point prior to April 1 of the year during which law school admission is being sought, but can be made as early as January 1 of the preceding year.  To be considered for a $30,000 tuition grant award, applications should be made prior to February 1 of the year during which law school admission is being sought to be assured of consideration.

Do I need to have a STEM education to apply for Scholar recognition?

Yes.  Currently the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program is limited to individual who could become registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Normally, this requires a degree in a science or engineering field.  Detailed information on the requirements for registration is available as part of the online application.

Is Scholar recognition limited to individuals from specified racial and ethnic groups?

No.  The Foundation does not have a policy that a priori limits the racial and ethnic groups from which recognition as a Scholar is available.  Applicants for Scholar recognition are required to self-identify with one or more racial-ethnic groups to receive consideration for Scholar recognition.  Available data on representation in STEM-related fields generally indicates significant underrepresentation of Hispanics or Latinos, blacks or African Americans, and American Indians or Alaska Natives, as well as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.  Similar data indicate underrepresentation of these racial-ethnic groups and others in the patent law profession.  Individuals identifying as members of a diverse set of racial-ethnic groups have been recognized as Scholars.

When are the recipients of Scholar recognition and scholarship assistance announced?

The Foundation review applications for Scholar recognition on a rolling basis throughout the year, but limits the announcements of new Scholars to no more than three or four times per year.  The Foundation’s tuition grant awards are made once per year and recipients of these awards will normally receive a notification of the tuition grant prior to the time the recipient would be required to make “seat deposit” signifying acceptance of an offer of admission to law school.

Does the Foundation limit the number of individuals recognized each year as Scholars?

Yes.  While the number of individuals recognized each year as Scholars has grown over the past several years, the Foundation currently expects to name no more than 25 new Scholars each year.