Applying for the President’s Challenge Scholarship

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors from our local community and beyond, the President’s Challenge Scholarship assists first-generation Ulster County high school students with overcoming financial barriers associated with attending college. Students are identified in eighth grade by their sponsoring school district and receive mentoring and college readiness preparation through the completion of high school. Upon graduation, students are able to attend SUNY Ulster tuition-free for two years!





To apply, students must be in 8th-grade. Students must also be first-generation college students, have an 80% cumulative GPA (75% in their four core classes – English, math, science and social studies) and have an 85% or better attendance record in school with minimal discipline infractions or have a strong recommendation from a teacher or school administrator. Preference is given to students with economic need.


  • Applicants must submit an application and essay prior to the deadline set by the school district, which is typically in the spring of a student’s 8th-grade year.
  • Each school reviews the application materials and identifies the top 10 candidates for their district.
  • These candidates are invited to participate in a brief interview at the high school or online with members of the school district and SUNY Ulster.
  • Five scholarship recipients are selected after the interview process.
  • Recipients are notified shortly before their Moving-Up Ceremony in June.
  • PCS recipients participate in activities on the SUNY Ulster Campus and at their school district starting in 9th grade and throughout high school to support college readiness.

PCS Student Experience

Starting in 9th-grade, PCS recipients take the PCS Promise as well as work with a PCS College Coach (comprised of members of the SUNY Ulster Enrollment and Success Center team) and a Club Advisor at their home school district. Coaches,, assigned to support PCS students from a participating high school, meet with students on campus, and at the schools. In addition to motivating students to remain on the college-bound track, the PCS Coach will assist with college readiness skills like academic planning, communication, and career exploration, as well as other engagement and growth opportunities as the program expands. The Club Advisor is charged with meeting regularly with students while working closely with SUNY Ulster’s College Coach and President’s Challenge Scholarship Program Coordinator on the student experience and support needs. The Club Advisor offers another level of consistent mentoring for students within the schools, but will offer students the opportunity to engage with fellow recipients in a constructive way. We hope to have all school districts participate in the Club Advisor initiative starting in the Fall of 2023.

Access your school district's PCS Application:

The awarding process for 2023 has closed. Congratulations to those students selected! Applications for students in the 8th grade for the 23-24 school year will open in April 2024. For more information, please contact your school counselor or PCS Program Coordinator Nancy Clarke by phone at 845.688.1927 or by email at






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