Each year, Bill Gates and his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offer two scholarship opportunities, covering all the tuition fees + study-related costs

This article will give you all the necessary information about the two scholarships: Gates Cambridge Scholarship offered exclusively for studying in Cambridge and Gates Millennium Scholars Program, granted to US minorities for studying in the US or US accredited universities. 

Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The start of the Gates Cambridge scholarship was in 2000, with the largest single donation of 210 mln $ to a UK university. The sum was donated to Cambridge by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and provides continuous support for studying in Cambridge since then. 

Currently, you have a chance to be one of the 80 students who receive the full-cost scholarship each year. Two-third of all the annual scholarships are given to Ph.D. students. 

The main criteria for choosing scholars are outstanding intellectual abilities, motivation for the selected course, a commitment to improving others' lives, and leadership skills. 

The scholarship covers the following costs:

- The University fee
- A maintenance allowance 
- Air transportation at the beginning and the end of the course
- Visa costs
- Costs of Immigration Health Surcharge

It does not cover:

- Bench fees
- Expenses for scientific equipment or similar academic resources

Eligibility for the Gates Cambridge

The Gates Cambridge scholarship's main mission is to provide a non-UK citizens with the opportunity to receive an education in Cambridge. So, first of all, you are eligible for the scholarship if you are not a citizen of the UK.

Other than non-UK citizenship, you are eligible for the scholarship in case of applying to a full-time residential course in Cambridge such as Ph.D. or MSc/MLitt. You may also take a scholarship if you choose a one-year postgraduate course. However, note that the scholarship does not cover the following one-year courses:

- BA (undergraduate) or BA affiliated (a second BA)
- Business Doctorate (BusD)
- Master of Business (MBA)
- Master of Finance (MFin)
- MBBChir Clinical Studies
- MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time)
- Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)
- Part-time degrees
- Non-degree courses

How to Apply for Gates Cambridge

If you correspond to all the eligibility criteria mentioned above, here comes the application procedure. Gates Cambridge has a separate section to fill in inside the usual university application form. You reach it after the sections of admission to a course and a college place. 

The Gate Cambridge inside the section for funding will require the following application components:

1. Less than 3000 words statement where you should describe your motivation for a scholarship and prove your eligibility to the scholarship criteria. 

2. Research proposal only in case you are applying for a Ph.D. program. 

3. Gates Cambridge Reference, where an appropriate person such as your instructors, professors, etc. should prove your eligibility for the scholarship. You may upload their recommendation letter as a separate file or type it inside the special section. The word limit for this part is less than 4000 words.

Selection Timeline

Gates Cambridge has two selection rounds: the first one for US citizens and residents, and the second one for other eligible candidates. See the detailed timeline for both sections below.

For US citizens and residents

September 1Opening of the application
October 14The deadline for applying
October-NovemberDepartmental ranking
DecemberApplication outcome notification for all the candidates
December-early JanuaryOnline review and selection by panels
Late JanuaryOffering of the scholarships
72 hours after the offeringAcception of the scholarship

For other eligible applicants

September 1Opening of the application
December 3 or January 7The deadline for applying, depending on your chosen course
December-FebruaryDepartmental ranking
FebruaryNotification of the outcome for all the candidates
February- MarchOnline review and selection by panels
Late MarchOffering of the scholarships
72 hours after the offeringAcception of the scholarship

Gates Millennium Scholars Program: The Gate Scholarship

Having the same course of funding the full education and staying costs, Gates Millennium Scholars Program provides a scholarship for studying in the US or US accredited universities. The scholarship target is students from ethnic minorities: African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American. 

Starting from 2018, there is The Gate Scholarship within the program, which funds 300 students yearly. 

The scholarship covers the following costs:

- Tuition
- Fees
- Room
- Board
- Books
- Transportation
- Also may cover other personal expenses

An ideal candidate to receive the TGS should have exceptional academic skills, demonstrate outstanding leadership and personal success skills. 

Eligibility for the Gates Scholarship

As already stated, the Gates Scholarship funds only students' education from the above mentioned four minorities. The scholarship is strictly for full-time 4-year undergraduate study programs either in a US university or a US-accredited university. 

If you fit the most important criteria, take a look at the other factors before applying.

- You should be a high school student when applying for a scholarship.
- You should be pell-eligible, meaning your eligibility should be calculated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after submitting an application. FAFSA calculates your eligibility based on family contribution, status as a full-time student, and the student's academic plans.
- It is required to be a US citizen, national, or permanent resident. 
- You should also have a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent. 

There are no restrictions in your chosen major as long as the university corresponds to the scholarship requirements. Also, you should apply before starting the 4-year studies. A scholarship can't be granted to a student in the middle of studies. 

How to Apply

As the scholarship is prestigious and highly-selective, the scholarship committee conducts nationwide research and invites potential candidates to apply. However, students considering themselves as eligible have a flow of procedures to apply without receiving an invitation. 

In this case, your first step should be creating a MyTGS Profile. Your profile is the platform for every scholarship-related information, activity, and service you will have both in case of being funded and not. If the scholarship application is closed at the moment of your registration, you should wait until it is available. 

Upon availability of the scholarship application form, you will need to submit the following documents:

1. A copy of recent transcripts
2. Student Aid Report after the completion of FASFA
3. A financial aid award letter
4. Letter of admission to the university
5. Enrollment verification
6. Headshot photo
7. Resume

After passing the first stage of the application, a potential scholar is invited to the scholarship team interview. The stage of interviews is designed to choose a scholar among the finalists. 

There is also a Refer a student option for supporting the scholarship team in finding eligible students. Suppose a student you know corresponds to the eligibility criteria. In that case, you may fill in their information in the arranged section so that the Gates Scholarship sends them an invitation to apply. 

Selection Timeline

The application and selection process starts in July and finishes in the fall every year. More detailed phases of the process are listed below. 

July 15The opening for the applications
September 15The deadline for applying
December 1The announcement of the semi-finalists and the opening for the second round of applications for only semi-finalists 
January 15The deadline for the semi-finalist applying
March 1The announcement of finalists
Whole MarchInterviews with finalists
April 20The announcement of the scholars
FallThe distribution of financial awards

The two of the above-described scholarships, along with 20,000+ others available in the world, are proof that hard work pays off. There are plenty of opportunities to reach your dream education completely free, even without paying for your stay, if you succeed in your academic life. So, make sure you do not miss the opportunities!

Published on Jan 15, 2021