Presidential Scholarship

For exceptionally strong incoming freshman students, the Pine Honors College offers three different awards. This application pertains to the Pemberton Presidential and Presidential Scholarships. You can find more information here:

Who is the ideal EIU Presidential Scholar?
We are seeking to build a diverse class of Presidential Scholars who exemplify the best qualities of the excellent students who are part of the Pine Honors College. Presidential Scholars come from all majors and areas of academic interest.

Presidential Scholars demonstrate outstanding qualities, including but not limited to: true uniqueness, intellectual rigor, a passion for problem-solving, brash creativity, visionary leadership, an open-minded attitude, and curiosity, grit, and determination in the face of obstacles. In short, we want the best ambassadors for the values we uphold in the Honors College.

The Pemberton Presidential Scholarship: The most prestigious of Honors College scholarships, the Pemberton Presidential Scholarship covers on-campus room and board (approximately $9,300 per year) and up to $12,000 per year towards tuition and fees for four years. Each freshman Honors College class will include approximately five Pemberton Presidential Scholars. This particular scholarship cannot be combined with automatic merit awards that students would otherwise receive from EIU.

The Presidential Scholarship: The Presidential Scholarship is up to $12,000 per year for four years, which is approximately the amount for tuition and fees for a full-time student taking 15 semester hours. The award is not limited to tuition costs, however. Each freshman Honors College class will include up to fifteen Presidential Scholars. This particular scholarship cannot be combined with automatic merit awards that students would otherwise receive from EIU.

To retain their awards, all Honors scholarship recipients are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.40, and to remain in good academic and judicial standing with Eastern Illinois University, the University Honors Program, and the Presidential Scholars Program.

In evaluating applications, we consider high school transcripts, extracurricular and volunteer activities, and personal essays.. We are looking in particular for leadership potential, ambition to make the most of college, and intellectual maturity. The financial need of academically eligible students may also be considered. All applications are reviewed by the Honors Council (a faculty and student body).

Eligibility requirements for the Pemberton Presidential Scholarship and the Presidential Scholarship:

27 ACT composite score (= 1260 SAT)


3.75 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) or ranking in the top 10% of the graduating class

Students who have an ACT score above 27 and a GPA between 3.5 and 3.75 (on a 4.00 scale) may be invited to apply.

Please note: When you apply for the Presidential Scholarship, you will automatically be considered for the Honors Incoming Freshman award and thus do not need to complete the Honors Award application.

What constitutes a complete Presidential Scholarship application?

1) Make sure that you qualify for the Presidential Scholarship. See minimum eligibility requirements, above. The minimum GPA set is exact. For example, a 3.745 unweighted GPA does not count as a 3.75 GPA.

2) At the time of your application, make sure that your latest transcript has been sent to EIU. Make sure that this transcript reflects the minimum required GPA of 3.75.

3) Answer all questions. Do not leave answers blank. Write thoughtful, well-edited answers, and keep in mind that your reviewers will consider your answers carefully.

4) Stay within the maximum word length (300 words) for your two essay answers. The two essays ask for you to reflect on obstacles you have overcome and what you most want to get out of your learning experiences in college.

5) Write with care and remember to proofread and polish your short answers and essays.

6) Check your email for important notifications about your application. Finalists will be contacted in late January 2020 to schedule campus interviews on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

Honors College, University - General
Supplemental Questions
  1. Please list the classes you are taking in your senior year. If applicable, indicate which are honors, dual credit, AP, etc. Please mention if your high school does not offer honors, dual credit, and/or AP courses.
  2. Please list up to ten of your most significant extracurricular, volunteer, leadership and employment experiences, in descending order of significance. Please include the dates and duration of each experience.
  3. As one pursues goals, one frequently encounters obstacles. In a short essay, tell us something about an obstacle (or obstacles) you have overcome and what these experiences have taught you. (300 word limit)
  4. A higher education does more than prepare one for a particular career. What is the most important thing you want to get out of your learning experiences at university? Explain your answer in a short essay. (300 word limit)
  5. Do you rank in the top 10% of your graduating class?
  6. Show 3 more