In 1548, a group of students founded the first Jesuit educational institution under the guidance of Ignatius of Loyola in Sicily. They called themselves “amigos in el Senor,” or Friends in the Lord. The scholars dedicated their lives to educating students by focusing on the “whole person.” Today 28 universities and colleges and 54 high schools in the United States carry on the Jesuit tradition, and they offer scholarships and awards to help deserving students reach their educational goals.

Scholarships for High School Students

Marquette University in Wisconsin offers a half-tuition scholarship to one student from each of the Jesuit high schools in the United States. Students can renew the award at the beginning of each six-month semester for eight semesters. Georgetown University, the first Jesuit college in the United States, offers the Bellarmine scholarship to Jesuit high school seniors. To qualify, students must graduate first in their class and receive their school’s nomination. Scholarships also are available for non-Jesuit high school students. For example, Fordham University in New York awards scholarships geared specifically to incoming freshman students. The scholarships are renewable; students must demonstrate academic merit and financial need.

Scholarships for Transfer Students

Universities accept students transferring from other schools if they fulfill certain criteria. Foremost among these requirements is a good grade point average. Saint Louis University in Missouri offers scholarships of differing amounts for varying GPA scores. Students receive $8,000 for a 3.0 to 3.19 GPA, while those with a GPA of 3.5 to 4.0 qualify for a $12,000 scholarship. Students who score at least a 3.5 GPA and obtain two letters of recommendations can qualify for the Jesuit Founders Scholarship, which offers full tuition scholarships at the University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan.

Ignatius and Magis Scholarships

Students who achieve academic excellence can compete for the Ignatius scholarships, while those who serve their communities and display leadership skills can qualify for the Magis scholarship. The awards depend on the university or college. Marquette University awards up to $14,000 under these programs, and Gonzaga University in Washington offers $24,000, which they pay over four years in installments of $6,000 each. Georgetown University offers the scholarship to five students who rank among the top 5 percent of their class and follow Ignatian theology.

Endowments and Need-Based Scholarships

Jesuit High School of New Orleans offers the Henry C. Prevost award to financially disadvantaged students. The school keeps the names of the recipients confidential and only requires that they contribute by participating in a work assignment. The Loyola Mary Mount University in Los Angeles offers underprivileged students with good academic performances scholarships of around $10,500 every year for 4 years; Santa Clara University offers a single scholarship of $7,500 for a needy student.

Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students

Saint Louis University offers Jesuit Community Scholarships, which range from $5,000 to full tuition, depending on the student’s financial needs. To qualify for these scholarships, students must show academic merit and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The College of the Holy Cross offers the Bean Latin Scholarship to students who major in the Classics, which includes studying ancient Greek and Roman cultures and languages. John Carroll University offers tuition scholarships to Jesuit priests and brothers and also assists Jesuit high school teachers who are also full-time graduate students.