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Presidential Scholarship Program

Apply now for the Carthage Presidential Scholarships!

The Presidential Scholarship Program offers 35 scholarships ranging from $25,000 to full tuition per year. These scholarships are offered to incoming students, and are renewable for four years.

Candidates for the Presidential Scholarship Program are invited to Carthage in January or February to have a conversation with two faculty/staff members and complete an essay. Parents are invited to an interactive session to learn more about the benefits of a Carthage education Students who attend the on-campus competition will receive a $1,500 grant towards tuition, renewable for four years. In addition to submitting the scholarship application, you must also apply for admission. Submit your application for admission and supporting materials including high school transcripts to Carthage by December 3 to be considered for these scholarships, and you can apply for admission online.

How to Apply

Candidates interested in applying for a Presidential Scholarship must complete the following no later than December 3:

  • Submit an application for admission to Carthage and supporting materials (high school transcripts).
  • Submit the Presidential Scholarship Program Application.
  • Submit a 250-word maximum essay: Evaluate how a significant experience or achievement in your life has helped shape who you are today. (this is part of the online scholarship application).
  • Submit a list of all high school and community organizations and activities (including work) in which you have participated (this is part of the online scholarship application).


The Presidential Scholarships

Lincoln Scholarships

(3 offered) Full tuition per year, renewable

The Lincoln Scholarship symbolizes the College’s strong commitment to students seeking the challenge of
the Carthage Honors Program. Named for Abraham Lincoln, an early Trustee of the College, this prestigious
scholarship covers full tuition for up to four consecutive years of undergraduate study — an
award worth more than $125,000. Carthage selects three Lincoln Scholars from the incoming class.

Clausen Scholarships

(3 offered) Full tuition per year, renewable
The Clausen Scholarship extends the College’s commitment to excellence even further. Named for distinguished alumnus A. W. “Tom” Clausen ’44, this prestigious scholarship covers full tuition for up to four consecutive years—an award of more than $125,000. Carthage selects three Clausen Scholars from the incoming freshman class.

Ruud Scholarships

(3 offered) Full tuition per year, renewable
The Ruud Scholarship continues the College’s commitment to students exhibiting academic and leadership excellence. Offered through the generosity of Susan (Young ’69) and Alan Ruud, this prestigious scholarship covers full tuition for up to four consecutive years of undergraduate study — an award of more than $125,000. Carthage selects three Ruud Scholars from the incoming freshman class.

Hay Scholarships

(11 offered) $25,000 per year, renewable
Named for President Lincoln’s private secretary and secretary of state for presidents McKinley and Roosevelt, the John M. Hay Scholarship will be offered to 11 competitors from the incoming freshman class. In tribute to Secretary Hay’s leadership and diplomacy, these scholarships offer $25,000 per year for up to four consecutive years.

Lentz/Dahl/Anderson/Campbell Scholarships

(15 offered) $25,000 per year, renewable
Named for Carthage’s 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st presidents, Harold Lentz, Erno Dahl, Alan Anderson ’50, and F. Gregory Campbell, these scholarships symbolize the College’s strong commitment to students seeking the challenge of a top liberal arts program. These scholarships offer $25,000 per year for up to four consecutive years. 

Application Review

The Office of Admissions screens applications and identifies candidates most suitable for the Presidential Scholarship Program. The College notifies these students in January and invites them to a hybrid competition (on-campus and remote options) in January or February 2022, offering a unique opportunity to interact with Carthage faculty, potential classmates, and Carthage Honors students, while competing in the Presidential Scholarship Program.

Additional awards for top students

The Carthage commitment to scholars extends beyond the 35 scholarships in the Presidential Scholarship Program. Top students typically receive a substantial package of multiple non-need-based awards. Many qualify for additional need-based assistance, making Carthage quite affordable.

The Presidential Scholarships may incorporate all Carthage assistance. Scholarships and grants may be combined with federal and state grants, not to exceed full tuition.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …