Now accepting applications for the graduating class of 2023.
What is the Smith Diversity Scholarship?
Lutheran Family Services established the Coyner and Donna Smith Diversity Scholarship Fund to provide a college education for graduating high school seniors from low-income, minority families who are residents of Nebraska.
Annual scholarships of $25,000 are awarded to support each recipients’ college education, regardless of where they want to attend. Annual scholarships of $12,500 are also available for recipients wishing to attend trade school.
The deadline to apply is Feb. 28, 2023.
Who is eligible to apply?
To be eligible, students must:
- Be graduating from a Nebraska high school or obtain GED in the current academic year and plan to begin their freshmen year of post-secondary the following academic year.
- Be a resident of Nebraska at the time of graduation.
- Show financial need, a defined as a low-income family whose adjusted gross family income is $65,000 or lower annually.
Preference will be given to applicants from disadvantaged ethnic backgrounds that do not identify as Caucasian.
I am not a U.S. Citizen. Do I qualify?
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply, but you do need to be a documented resident of Nebraska and graduate from a high school in Nebraska.
Is there a fee to apply?
No, it is free to apply for the Smith Diversity Scholarship.
I am home schooled. Do I qualify?
Yes, you qualify for the Smith Diversity Scholarship. Please list “Home School” as your school name on your application.
What are the minimum GPA, SAT or ACT requirements to apply?
There are no minimum grade point average (GPA), SAT or ACT requirements. We invite you to apply, regardless of past grades or test scores.
I have already received my GED/diploma. Do I qualify?
If you graduated high school or completed your GED within the current academic year, you may still qualify. Please reach out to email@example.com or call (402) 681-7024 to confirm your eligibility.
What school should I list on the application if I have no made a final decision?
Please list your first-choice school on the application. If you are selected for the scholarship, you will be asked to confirm your final school choice.
Once I start the application, do I need to finish it in one session?
No, your application can be started, saved as a draft and returned to. You will need to complete and submit your application by the application deadline to be considered for the scholarship.
When is the application deadline?
All applications must be finalized by Feb. 28, 2023. Any applications received after that date will not be considered.
I missed the deadline, can I still apply?
Due to the number of applications submitted, late applications will not be accepted.
Can I use a Smith Diversity Scholarship at any college and for any major?
Yes. The scholarship can be used at any college or trade school for any major. Selected students attending four-year programs will receive $25,000 per year and two-year programs will receive $12,500 per year.
Previous Smith Diversity Scholars have attended New York University of Abu Dhabi, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of North Carolina, and many more.
When are the recipients notified? Are applicants who have not been selected also notified?
Applicants that are selected to receive the Smith Diversity Scholarship will be notified via phone and email by the end of April of the current academic year.
Applicants who have not been selected will be notified by email during the second semester (spring semester) of the current academic year.
If I receive the scholarship, what academic and financial information will need to be provided?
If awarded the Smith Diversity Scholarship, the student’s academic information (i.e. GPA, class ranking, coursework, etc.) will need to be verified as well as proof of financial need. Financial need is defined as a low-income family whose adjusted gross family income must be $65,000 or lower.
Is the scholarship renewable?
Yes, the scholarship is renewable if criteria are met.
- The recipient must maintain a minimum 3.4 GPA for each semester to renew the award.
- If attending a four-year university, the scholarship provides an annual award for a maximum eight semesters, or until receipt of a bachelor’s degree.
- If attending a trade school, the scholarship provides an annual award for a maximum of four semesters, or until receipt of degree.
If I am awarded other scholarships or financial aid, will that impact my eligibility for the Smith Diversity Scholarship?
If you are awarded other scholarships, that does not affect your eligibility for the Smith Diversity Scholarship. Each semester, any excess funds from the Smith Diversity Scholarship will be given to the recipient to assist with other personal expenses.
If I am awarded a Smith Diversity Scholarship, how will I receive my scholarship?
Yearly payments shall be made directly to the Scholarship Recipient’s school account in two equal payments: half in the first semester (fall semester) and half in the second semester (spring semester) once renewal criteria are met.
If the recipient’s tuition bill is less than the allocated awarded per year, the Scholarship Recipient shall retain the additional funds to assist with other expenses.
Will references be contacted?
Yes, all listed references will receive an auto email from firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to find the email, search your spam or junk folder.
How is the Smith Diversity Scholarship funded?
The Smith Diversity Scholarship is funded through the generosity of Donna and Coyner Smith. In 2020, Lutheran Family Services received a $3,000,000 gift to establish the Coyner and Donna Smith Diversity Scholarship Fund to provide a college education for graduating high school seniors from low-income, minority families who are residents of Nebraska.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
If you have additional questions, please reach out to email@example.com or call (402) 681-7024.