The goal of nurturing future leaders is at the heart of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation’s mission: to attract to the University the most promising leaders, scholars, and citizens in the world.

The Scholarship

University of Virginia is a place where producing leaders for a self-governing people has always been a primary goal. The Jefferson Scholarship Program has been attracting and cultivating undergraduate leaders since 1980, providing them sufficient financial support so that they are free to develop their talents and to use them for the good of the University community.

Award - ​Intended to cover the entire cost of attendance for four years at the University of Virginia plus coverage of the supplemental enrichment experiences

Total value of the Scholarship exceeds:

  • $293,000 for non-Virginian students
  • $157,000 for Virginian students

The Jefferson Scholarship stipend in 2020-2021 will exceed:

  • $68,000 for non-Virginian students  
  • $34,000 for Virginian students
  • Jefferson Scholars’ stipend includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, and personal expenses.

Enrichment - The Scholarship also includes an extensive enrichment program which supports and nurtures these students throughout their four years at U.Va.  Opportunities include:

  • Team Challenge Program
  • Institute for Leadership and Citizenship
  • Foreign Travel Studies
  • Alumni Connections Program
  • Career Counseling
  • Public Service Fellows
  • Enrichment Dinners and Receptions

Community - Not to be overlooked, an important part of the program is the community that develops among Scholars, Graduate Fellows, staff, and alumni.  

Selection Process

Awarded solely on the basis of merit, Jefferson Scholarships are granted to candidates who have undergone a rigorous selection process.

Nomination - No one may apply for a Jefferson Scholarship directly. For the regional competitions, a prospective Jefferson Scholar must be nominated by his/her school (eligible schools may nominate one or two students per year from the senior class). Currently, over 5,000 secondary schools are eligible to nominate in the regional competitions.

Nominations for the Scholarship pour in from all corners of the country and globe. In 2019, over 2,000 students from 41 U.S. states and 42 countries were nominated. The depth and diversity of talent to consider ensures that we will invite a group of Scholars who will sharpen and challenge each other—and the University at large.

Selection - Once nominated, students are placed into regional competitions, which will determine the 120 finalists who will be invited to participate in the Jefferson Scholarship Selection Event in late March.

In 2019-2020, 32 Jefferson Scholars emerged from the pool of over 2,000 nominees.

Meet the Scholars



The Jefferson Fellowship is the premier graduate fellowship offered at the University of Virginia. Based solely on merit, the Fellowship seeks to attract Ph.D. and M.B.A. candidates.

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The Jefferson Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship at the University of Virginia. Scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that is based on exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, scholarship and citizenship.

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David and Jane Walentas

A transformational gift for UVA — $100 million to benefit first-generation students

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