The CU Boulder Esteemed Scholars Program is offered to a select group of Colorado resident students based on the strength of their admissions application. Scholarship eligibility is based on a comprehensive review of admission materials as outlined below. Recipients may also be eligible for a college/program specific add-on scholarship.

Scholarship Amount

Students admitted for Fall 2022 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)


  • Undergraduate Colorado resident entering CU Boulder as a first-year student
  • Submit a completed application for admission no later than January 15

Scholarship eligibility is based on a comprehensive review of admission materials at the time of application. Your academics are the main focus of review; however, life experiences and other achievements are also taken into account.


  • Minimum 3.85 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 will receive a scholarship.
  • Difficulty of coursework and grade trend through high school
  • Academic awards or recognition
  • Extraordinary academic achievement relative to high school community as documented on transcript, teacher evaluation or counselor school report

  ACT/SAT test scores are not considered when determining eligibility 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.

Other considerations may include life experiences, personal background, activities, and responsibilities such as:

  • Evidence of having overcome difficult social, economic, or physical obstacles to education and explained in an essay or letter of recommendation
  • Demonstrated leadership and engagement within community
  • Employment, extracurricular activities and duration of participation
  • Outstanding talents and accomplishments


Please keep in mind that scholarships are highly competitive and 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 for each academic year.
  • You are 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 have graduated or until you have utilized the maximum eight semesters of the scholarship. 

Students selected for this scholarship will receive an offer with their admission decision which is accessible through their admission application status page.

The scholarship is paid on a semester basis, and the funds for each semester will be credited towards 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.

Recipients are required to complete an acknowledgement which our office requests by email prior to receiving scholarship funds.

  • Enroll full time in a minimum of 12 credit hours (waitlisted courses do not count towards full time enrollment) each fall and spring semester at CU Boulder to receive the scholarship in that semester. Note: You need to take more than the required 12 credits in the fall and/or spring if you do not plan to take summer courses. See Renewal Criteria below for more.
  • If you are not enrolled in at least 12 credit hours at CU Boulder at the start of a semester as of the university’s census date (the third Friday of the semester), the scholarship will be cancelled effective with that semester 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 do not 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 completion of the spring semester.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative CU Boulder grade point average (GPA).
  • Successfully earn a minimum of 27 credit hours at CU Boulder each academic year between the fall, spring and summer to renew the scholarship next year (does not include transfer or AP credit hours). Keep in mind that if you decide to opt for a grade replacement, it may affect your total earned hours that year. 
  • Meet the Office of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.

  • You will be notified if you do not meet the renewal requirements at the end of a semester.
  • If the scholarship is cancelled due to failure to meet the renewal requirements, the cancellation is permanent and it will not 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 are not required to respond if you so choose.

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 will be enrolled 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. You must contact Scholarship Services to make the request. You will not be automatically credited with the scholarship.

  • 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 is not 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 will 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).
  • It is 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 meals, and allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal and incidental 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.