The National Fellows Program was launched in 2000 with the sole purpose of identifying and funding outstanding scholars at top institutions across the country who are completing dissertations in American history, politics, public policy, and foreign relations. Since its inception, the Program has helped launch the careers of more than 150 National Fellows. One hundred and two former Fellows have been placed at major universities, with more than 80 holding tenure or tenure-track positions. Other Fellows have forged successful careers in public service, the nonprofit sector, government, and other public-facing professions. Fellows have published 71 books with major presses, and they regularly place op-eds related to their research in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and leading digital media.
In August 2016, recognizing the unique scholarly value of the National Fellows Program and its deep connections to the University of Virginia, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation agreed to assume full responsibility for funding, nurturing and sustaining the Program, beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year.