Cornell University

Udall Scholarship

Cornell endorsement is required.

Campus Deadline: February 13, 2020


The Udall Scholarship Program honors the public service legacies of Morris K. Udall, Congressman from Arizona (1961-1991), and Stewart L. Udall, Secretary of the Interior (1961-1969). The scholarship covers eligible expenses for tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,000. Juniors are eligible for one year of support; sophomores may be renominated during their junior year and compete for a second year of support. Approximately 60 scholarships are awarded each year.


Awards are made to outstanding sophomores and juniors who fall into one of two groups:

  1. Those who intend to pursue careers in environmental public policy; and
  2. Native American and Alaska Native students who intend to pursue careers in health care or tribal public policy. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and be in the top quarter of their class.


Applicants first submit their materials to a campus committee for review in February. Cornell chooses up to eight students as nominees to the national Udall Scholarship competition, a maximum of four applying on the environment side, a maximum of four applying on the Native side. Students’ applications must be processed and endorsed through the CCS fellowships office to be eligible for the competition at the regional and/or national level. Endorsement decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

In March (date TBD), nominees submit the final version of their applications to the national competition.

Selection decisions (both on-campus and at the national level) are based on the following criteria:

  • Strong commitment to pursue a career related to improving or preserving the environment -OR- for Native American or Alaska Native candidates, a strong commitment to pursue a career in any area of health care or tribal public policy. Students should have shown such commitment through their academic program and extracurricular activities.
  • Potential for significant future contribution in the student's chosen career field. Selection committees judge the student's potential by looking at performance in relevant coursework and level of contribution to public service and community activities related to the student's stated career interest.
  • Academic record: Outstanding academic achievement is necessary. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required; award winners often hold a 3.5 or higher.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Recommenders are asked to comment on the student's motivation and potential for a career in the chosen area, as well as academic performance. Choose recommenders who know you both academically and personally. Strong letters focus on your potential ability to make an impact on public policy and cite specific examples of maturity and initiative.
  • Personal statement: This 800-word essay must focus on a significant public speech, legislative act, book, or public policy statement by Congressman Morris K. Udall or Secretary of Interior Stewart L. Udall and its significance to you and your field of study. The essay should clarify your own interests and goals, show how you will pursue them, and demonstrate more than a passing acquaintance with either of the Udalls' legacy.

Read carefully the Udall Foundation site for further information.


Beth Fiori, Fellowship Coordinator
103 Barnes Hall