What it means to be a STAR Scholar
Receiving a STAR Scholarship honors your academic excellence and commitment to earning an engineering degree. Through this prestigious award, you’ll receive a renewable scholarship for up to eight semesters, with annual award amounts ranging from $1,000 to $13,500.
Importantly, you’ll be part of a community. You’ll connect with engineers like you. You’ll meet professors and staff who are invested in you and your success. And you’ll have access to a range of support services so that you can achieve your educational goals.
“The Grainger STAR Scholarship encouraged me to always give it my utmost and strive through a variety of difficulties. At first, it was challenging to adjust to a new educational system but having the support of the STAR community kept me going each day. Using my BME degree, I aspire to be an inventive doctor who designs medical devices. With the guidance I have received, I believe I am one step closer to achieving my goals.”
biomedical engineering undergraduate from Istanbul, Turkey
How to become a STAR Scholar
We’d love to consider you! But first, you’ll need to complete a UW-Madison admissions application. That’s it! We strongly encourage you to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to UW-Madison no later than the UW-Madison priority deadline of Dec. 1—but we don’t require the FAFSA to consider you for a STAR Scholarship. What we do evaluate when we choose STAR Scholars is your academic merit, extracurricular activities and essay responses.
If you’re admitted to UW-Madison and we’ve selected you to receive a STAR Scholarship, we’ll let you know by early March (for early action applicants) or mid April (for regular decision applicants). Each academic year, approximately 50 incoming engineering students receive a STAR Scholarship.
How we support our STAR Scholars
Here in the College of Engineering, we believe in the power of community, and of working together. That’s the environment you’ll experience as a STAR Scholar. You’ll study in groups (sometimes we even throw in some food and fun) with STAR Scholars who live near you on campus, and you’ll be able to attend special STAR Study Nights at our engineering Undergraduate Learning Center (ULC). Throughout your engineering education, you’ll also have access to one-on-one tutoring appointments through the ULC’s Tutoring-By-Request program.
Through events, workshops, tours and more, we’ll help you grow in other ways, too. Want to explore undergrad research (and get paid to do it)? Visit one of our employer partners? Take a deep dive into everything you can make and do in our makerspace? Volunteer at a science outreach event? We’ve got those covered, plus lots more.
As engineering students, you’ll work with an advisor, but you’ll also have a dedicated STAR Scholars advisor (her name’s Keeley Meier). She can connect you to campus resources, chat about your transition to college, help you hone your professional (and personal) goals, and lots of other things, too.
The fine print (i.e., how to keep your STAR Scholarship)
When we choose you to become a STAR Scholar, we’re making an investment in you—and we want you to take that commitment seriously. STAR Scholarships are renewable for up to eight semesters of your undergraduate enrollment (College of Engineering scholarship awards, including STAR Scholar awards, are deferred to a future semester if you participate in our cooperative education program), but we expect that you:
- Maintain full-time student status (complete a minimum of 12 credits each semester) in the College of Engineering
- Maintain a cumulative and semester GPA of at least 3.0
- Continue to make satisfactory progress toward your engineering degree program
- Be a good citizen of the university community and adhere to the university’s rules, policies and procedures pertaining to student conduct
- Actively participate in donor engagement events
- Actively participate in STAR programming opportunities
- Provide thank you messages and personal updates for your scholarship award donors as required
About the STAR Scholars program
The STAR (Strategic Targeted Achievement Recognition) Scholarship Program was established as part of a $32 million commitment from The Grainger Foundation to the College of Engineering in 2020. The program is designed to recruit, retain and graduate academically talented, motivated and engaged engineering students who interested in making a difference. STAR Scholars can craft and customize their student experiences to grow in their leadership skills, professional development, identity as a researcher, and advocate for the community. The program launched with a cohort of 55 students in fall 2021.
$32M Commitment from The Grainger Foundation to UW-Madison Engineering will fuel growth
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MADISON – A $32 million commitment to the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Engineering will further propel this prestigious College on its upward trajectory and continue to enhance its ability…
Support a STAR scholar
Financial support from our alumni and friends is crucial to the success of our STAR Scholarship program!
Effective solutions to today’s challenges arise when we bring the brightest people to the table. Gifts to the STAR Scholarship fund help our college recruit the nation’s best students so that they can become tomorrow’s problem-solvers and difference-makers. Thanks to a commitment from The Grainger Foundation, there’s also matching support available—doubling the impact of those gifts. To make a gift, contact Kyle Buchmann, senior managing director of development.