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Student Scholarships, Awards & Special Programs

U.S. Presidential Scholarship Program

Each year, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (DESE) Commissioner seeks school nominations of high school seniors for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, approximately 160 students from across the country are named by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

Scholars are chosen based on their accomplishments in many areas — academics, leadership, and involvement in their school and the community — and represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America's youth. U.S. Presidential Scholars are honored during the National Recognition Program each June. To commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are awarded the Presidential Scholars Medallion.

Please see the chart below for general program timelines. Questions may be emailed to .

Anticipated TimingSteps
September 2023All high schools are invited by the Commissioner to submit names of up to two students (of different genders).
October 6, 2023Student nominations from high schools due to DESE for consideration. See Nomination Guidelines for submission details.
Early November 2023Commissioner selects up to 20 students (no more than 10 male and 10 female) nominees for the General Category and up to 5 total (of any gender) for the Career Technical Education (CTE) Category.
December 2023 Names of selected student nominees (up to 25) are submitted to USED from DESE.
January 2024Principals and superintendents are notified of the state's student nominees. These are referred to as "candidates" at the national level.
Mid-January 2024USED sends candidate invitations to apply.
February 22, 2024Candidates' applications due to USED.
Mid-April 2024USED announces semi-finalists.
Early-Mid May 2024USED announces Presidential Scholars.
Late June 2024U.S. Presidential Scholars Recognition Program held.

2024 information and previous years' Candidates, Semi-finalists, and Scholars can be found on the USED Presidential Scholars web site.

Last Updated: January 23, 2024

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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