United States Presidential Scholars Program

The Texas Education Agency invites high school seniors graduating between January and June of 2017 to apply for the opportunity to be a U.S. Presidential Scholar. The United States (U.S.) Presidential Scholars Program honors graduating seniors for their outstanding scholarship, achievement and promise of future success. Seniors chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars are selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars and will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. where they will be presented with a medallion at a ceremony in their honor. While there, the students will engage with accomplished people and participate in conversations and events over issues that concern America and the world.

The Texas commissioner of education will nominate 10 male and 10 female candidates to apply for the honor.

Last year, President Obama amended the program by adding a new component – recognition for excellence among students in career and technical education (CTE). Therefore, TEA also invites high school seniors who are participants of a CTE program graduating between January and June of 2017 to apply for the opportunity to be a U.S. Presidential Scholar. In addition to the 20 general application candidates who will be nominated to apply, the Texas Commissioner of Education will nominate five additional students who are in CTE to apply for the honor.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Education website.


High school seniors are eligible. Seniors must meet the following criteria:

  • graduate between January and June of 2017,
  • are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents,
  • attend, public, parochial, or charter schools, as well as those who are home-schooled,
  • CTE scholar applicants must be participants in a career and technical education program (i.e., Healthcare, IT, Advanced Manufacturing, STEM, and Transportation).
  • Each school may only nominate one general applicant and one CTE applicant.

How to Apply

To apply for the opportunity to be nominated, please download and complete one of the following applications:

2016-17 General Application

2016-17 Application for CTE scholars

  • Students may only apply for one competition (General OR CTE). If an application is received for both programs, the applicant will only be considered for the CTE competition.
  • Each school may only nominate one student for the general competition and one student for the CTE competition. Principals must sign the application form in acknowledgement of their nomination.

Return the application securely in the following manner:

  1. Go to the TEA send files web page.
  2. Click on "I don't have an account yet".
  3. Enter your email address.
  4. You should receive a verification email. Follow the link in the email to verify your previously entered email address.
  5. Create a password. Passwords must be at least eight characters long and must contain a minimum of one number and one uppercase letter.
  6. Once the account is created, use the Send File tab to send a secure email to kelly.ocasio@tea.texas.gov with your file attached. (All files must be submitted in a .doc, .pdf, or .docx format. Any other format is not acceptable.)

Applications are due by 5:00pm on Friday, October 7, 2016. Applications received after this date and time will not be considered.

*Please note that applications MUST be submitted through the secure format outlined above. Any applications received in another method will be ineligible for review.

*All submitted applications must be complete. A complete submitted application includes:

  • completed application form (form must be completed and may not be altered)
  • responses to essay questions
  • official school transcripts

Applications that are missing any component of the complete submitted application will be considered ineligible for review.

Selection Process

A review committee will consider the following when reviewing applications:

  • involvement and service (in school and community)
  • leadership and character
  • writing samples
  • academic achievements
  • discretionary points for extraordinary achievement, heavy workload, family responsibilities, or obstacles overcome

Additionally CTE scholars applications will be considered on the following:

  • technical competence
  • employability skills
  • ingenuity, creativity, and problem solving

The review committee will submit 40 student names and their general applications to the Commissioner for review. The commissioner will make the final selection of the 10 female and 10 male general student nominations.

The review committee will submit 10 student names and their CTE applications to the commissioner for review. The commissioner will make the final selection of the 5 CTE student nominations.

Please note that student applicants will not be notified of the status of their application from TEA. If a student is selected to apply for the honor, he/she will be contacted directly by the Commission on Presidential Scholars in mid-January 2017. All scholars will be announced at the beginning of May 2017.


You can review the timeline of events in the table below.



Time Frame

Application Due DateFriday, October 7, 2016
Review Committee Process October 7– November 18, 2016
Names Submitted to U.S. Department of Education    November 23, 2016
Nominees Invited to Apply for HonorJanuary 2017