The Gates Millennium Scholars Program


The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The GMS Scholarship Award provides:

  • Support for the cost of education by covering unmet need and self-help aid;
  • Renewable awards for Gates Millennium Scholars maintaining satisfactory academic progress;
  • Graduate school funding for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science;
  • Leadership development programs with distinctive personal, academic and professional growth opportunities.

Program accomplishments:

  • Funding more than 16,000 Gates Millennium Scholars since the inception of the program
  • GMS has awarded over $763,628,869 in scholarships between the 2000-2012 academic years
  • The average award was $12,227 between the 2001-2012 academic years
  • The average first-year undergraduate student retention rate is 97.9% among Gates Scholars; the average second-year rate is 96%
  • The GMS five-year graduation rate is 80.6% and the six-year graduation rate is over 86.3%
  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Gates Millennium Scholars transition into graduate school; 14% into a GMS-funded field and 14% into GMS-unfunded fields
  • Gates Millennium Scholars enrolled in over than 1,865 colleges and universities
  • Over 10,315 Gates Millennium Scholars completed a degree since the program's inception

The Gates Scholars Millennium process

The deadline for the 2014 GMS Online Application process was Wednesday, January 15, 2014. The database is now closed. Please note that application forms that were submitted online by 11:59 p.m. EST January 15, 2014 are currently being processed and we will not be able to provide status updates. 

Students who submitted their application by the deadline will begin to receive notification in March 2014.

The selection and notification processes are as follows: 
- February 2014, independent readers will complete an individualized reading and scoring assessment of eligible students in three major areas: 
   * academic achievement
   * community service
   * leadership potential 
- March 2014, students will be notified and informed if they are selected as a finalist or not selected. 
- Finalists will be notified if they are selected as Gates Millennium Scholars or not selected by mid-April 2014. All selected Gates Scholars will be notified no later than May 1, 2014

Thank you for your interest in the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. For more information, visit 

The Gates Experience

This blog showcases Claflin University's current Gates Scholars. They will be sharing their experiences and opportunities with you.

Dillon Isaac is a junior biology major and chemistry minor from Blackville, South Carolina. During his high school years, Isaac attended Blackville-Hilda High School, where he graduated as salutatorian of his class. Also, during his senior year, Isaac was awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which funds 10 years of education virtually debt free.
Since attending Claflin University, Issac has participated in internships, research experiences and even a couple of studying abroad opportunities. After his freshman year, he participated in the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at Duke University, in which he received the opportunity to take rigorous course work in physics and organic chemistry while shadowing physicians. The following summer, Isaac participated in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. There, he conducted intensive research regarding fundamental immunological processes and was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award — an award given to students who demonstrate the most academic and research potential. Shortly after, Isaac studied abroad in Gold Coast, Australia, for four-and-a-half months during his junior fall semester.
Isaac is a volunteer at a local soup kitchen, member of the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students and a student researcher. Recently, he was awarded the UNCF Merck Science Initiative Undergraduate Award, valued at $25,000 and includes internship opportunities. His favorite life motto is: “When you think you’ve ran out of all possibilities … remember this: you haven’t."

Jerel Lee
, from Garnett, South Carolina, graduated with high honors from Ridgeland High School, where he participated in a host activities and organizations. He is a senior biology major and chemistry minor. Lee said he choose Claflin because he felt as though he could maximize his true potential and gain the Claflin Confidence that will allow him to make a difference in the world. While at Claflin University, he has participated in many activities and organizations. He is currently president of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, the executive to the president for the American Chemical Society and parliamentarian of the Pre-Alumni Council. He also participated in the Claflin University Gospel Choir, NAACP and National Society of Black Engineers. 

Antonio "Tony" Riley is a native of Sumter, South Carolina. He graduated from Lakewood High School in 2012 as president of the student body. While in Sumter, Riley spent much of his time at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, and through his service, he was named South Carolina Youth of the Year. He has volunteered more than 600 hours at Tuomey Regional Medical Center. Riley is a human performance and recreation major and education minor. The contagious empowerment and noticeable vision of success is really what attracted Riley to Claflin. Riley serves as a consultant in the University's Writing Center and was a member of the Claflin University Concert Choir. He has earned a paid internship with South Carolina Chamber of Commerce for the summer, and looks forward to more opportunities to come his way. 

What the Gates Millennium Scholarship means to me

by User Not Found | May 01, 2014


When I received the Gates Millennium Scholarship, it took me a while to wrap my head around what I possessed in my hands. This scholarship is far beyond the likes of being measured by a simple monetary value. My uncle recently sent me a message, “Do you realize you are a millionaire already?" Even though that is not entirely true, I suppose I could consider myself a millionaire because of the many, many opportunities and people being a Gates Millennium Scholar has and will introduce me to. I have no doubt that the GMS, UNCF and Claflin Family is blessed beyond measure. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program truly enables dreams and ambitions. To be a part of this experience is nothing that can be measured, but only appreciated as you are empowered to pursue your life’s greatest and most visionary ambitions.


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