Vilas Scholarship

What is the Vilas Scholarship?

The Vilas Scholarship is a $140,000 scholarship ($35,000 per year) awarded to domestic students who want to complete a St. Lawrence University liberal arts education as preparation for a career in business.

The Vilas Scholarship was established in 1976 by the Bodman Foundation of New York City to honor Homer A. Vilas, Class of 1913. Homer Vilas was a successful Wall Street financier, corporate director, and businessman during his life. He also was a generous benefactor to many non-profit organizations, including his alma mater, St. Lawrence University.

The scholarship assists students financially but also guides Vilas Scholars as they establish themselves within the St. Lawrence alumni network, expanding their connections to countless business-related fields. It should be noted that this scholarship does not require students to declare a major in Business in the Liberal Arts, though it does assist and incline them toward the field. 

How to Apply

First-year domestic students interested in the Vilas Scholarship and applying Regular Decision must submit the required Vilas Scholarship essay with their complete Common Application or St. Lawrence Application, no later than February 1. Interested first-year domestic students applying Early Decision or Early Action must submit the required Vilas Scholarship essay at the same time as their Common Application or St. Lawrence Application.

The Vilas Scholarship essay, which can be submitted through the link at the bottom of this page, should be in response to the following prompt:

"You have $1,000,000 that you would like to invest in an existing business. What company would you invest in? Why? How will your investment help others?" Alternatively, if you have your own idea for a new project you would fund or business you would develop, you may describe that instead.

Please note, this scholarship opportunity is only for domestic students. International students can learn more about merit scholarship opportunities through our International Admissions website.

How many students receive the scholarship?

Six Vilas applicants are selected as semi-finalists and receive an invitation to New York City as guests of the University in early-March. During this event, semi-finalists will interview with an alumni and trustee selection committee. These six students will be contacted in mid-February and notified of their semi-finalist status. Those applicants who are not selected as semi-finalists will not be contacted. 

All applicants who attend the NYC semi-finalist interviews will be notified of the scholarship outcome in their letter of admission, which is sent in March. Two or three finalists are typically awarded the Vilas Scholarship, distinguishing themselves as Vilas Scholars. The remaining semi-finalists receive a $120,000 scholarship ($30,000 per year).

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