The CU Boulder Esteemed Scholars Program is offered to a select group of new Colorado resident first-year students based on the strength of their admissions application. Recipients may also be eligible for a college/program specific add-on scholarship.

Scholarship Amount

Newly admitted students will be considered for one of two Esteemed scholarships:

  • Horace M. Hale: $4,000 per year (renewable for four years, totaling $16,000)
  • Joseph A. Sewall: $7,000 per year (renewable for four years, totaling $28,000)


  • You must be an incoming undergraduate Colorado resident entering CU Boulder as a first-year student
  • Submit a completed application for admission no later than January 15


New students are considered for scholarships based on a comprehensive review of admission materials. Your academics are the main focus of review; however, your personal background is also taken into account.

To be considered you must demonstrate:

  • Minimum 3.6 weighted high school grade point average at time of application based on 4.0 scale
    • A high GPA alone may not be enough to qualify. Typically, about 25% of our incoming class earns a 4.0 GPA and not all students who are eligible receive a scholarship.
  • Difficulty of coursework and positive grade trend through high school
  • Extraordinary academic achievement relative to high school community

  ACT/SAT test scores are not considered and will not be reviewed if submitted. Updated GPA or supporting materials will not be used for scholarship consideration after the admission application has been submitted.


Keep in mind that scholarships are highly competitive. Not all students who are considered will receive an automatic consideration scholarship.

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More Details

  • Four years (eight semesters maximum) for fall and spring semesters based on renewal requirements each academic year.
  • You're limited to receiving a single semester’s scholarship amount at a time. If you graduate in fewer than four years, the remainder of the benefit is forfeited. However, if you continue to be enrolled at CU Boulder in a graduate program, the scholarship will be extended until you graduate or until you use the maximum eight semesters. 

Students selected for this scholarship will receive an offer with their admission decision which can be accessed through the admissions status page.

The scholarship is paid on a semester basis, and the funds for each semester will be credited toward your university bill, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. This scholarship can pay toward all charges on the bill and isn't limited to paying just tuition and fees.

  • Enroll full time in a minimum of 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester. Waitlisted courses don't count toward full time enrollment.
  • If you're not enrolled in at least 12 credit hours by the third Friday of the semester, the scholarship will be cancelled effective immediately and the remainder of the scholarship will be forfeited. The cancellation is permanent and the scholarship cannot be reinstated.
  • Courses taken for no-credit through Continuing Education and Professional Studies don't count toward the minimum credit hours.
  • Meet the Office of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.

Your eligibility to renew this scholarship next year will be reviewed at the end of spring semester.

  • Enroll full time each fall and spring semester (12+ credit hours)
  • Maintain a minimum 2.75 cumulative CU Boulder GPA
  • Meet the Office of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.

  • You'll be notified if you don't meet the renewal requirements at the end of spring semester.
  • If the scholarship is cancelled due to failure to meet the renewal requirements, the cancellation is permanent and it cannot be reinstated (i.e. even if GPA is above the minimum in a future semester), other than through appeal.

How to Appeal:

  • You may submit an appeal for reconsideration if you have extenuating circumstances (examples: serious illness, accident, death of a loved one, house fire, etc.) which contributed to your inability to meet the standards for renewal. The appeal information will be provided with the nonrenewal notification.
  • Appeals are decided on a case-by-case basis and the outcome of any appeal will depend on: the nature of the circumstances; the quality of the documentation provided; your current academic progress; the nature of any violation of the university’s Student Conduct Code; and fund availability.
  • Appeals should be submitted no later than the third Friday of the term you become ineligible for the scholarship (typically the fall semester).
  • CU Boulder has a responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. Please be aware that if your appeal references sexual misconduct or protected class discrimination or harassment, the Office of Financial Aid is obligated to report allegations of this nature to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) in addition to considering your appeal on these grounds. OIEC may contact you in this case, but you're not required to respond.

You may defer your admission to CU Boulder for up to one year and retain your scholarship. You must contact the Office of Admissions to formally request a deferral. 

Summer school is not typically funded. However, if you plan to enroll in summer school at CU Boulder in a minimum of six credit hours and meet the renewal criteria as of the end of the previous spring semester, you may request to receive a semester’s scholarship in the summer in lieu of receiving it in the fall or spring. However, you won't be automatically credited with the scholarship so you must contact Scholarship Services to make the request.

You may use the scholarship for semesters in CU Boulder sponsored Education Abroad (study abroad) programs of at least 12 credit hours per semester. The scholarship isn't available for other Education Abroad programs.

  • Undergraduate, degree-seeking students are eligible to return to the University within 1-3 terms from their last graded semester without readmitting or reapplying for admission (read more at the Registrar’s website).
  • If you withdraw or are absent from the university and return within the allowable timeframe, you'll be eligible to reinstate the scholarship upon your return assuming that the renewal conditions have been met.
  • Withdrawal grades may impact your Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status.
  • It's your responsibility to contact Scholarship Services to request reinstatement. The scholarship will not be automatically reactivated upon your return.

The Cost of Attendance (COA), also known as the cost of education or "budget," is the total amount it should cost a student to go to school for one school year. This amount includes tuition and fees, housing and food, and allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

The total of any financial aid that you receive, including the CU Boulder Esteemed Scholarship, cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance. If it does, you may have aid adjusted and/or cancelled, depending on your individual circumstances.