Syracuse University Maxwell Citizenship Scholarship Competition

You are invited to participate in the 76th Annual Maxwell Citizenship Scholarship Competition

Saturday April 24, 2021
Syracuse University

Compete for one of 25 four-year renewable scholarships:

  • One $20,000 scholarship for distinction ($5,000 per year)
  • One $16,000 scholarship for excellence ($4,000 per year)
  • One $12,000 scholarship for merit ($3,000 per year)
  • Twenty-two $8,000 scholarships for achievement ($2,000 per year)
All students admitted to any Syracuse University undergraduate program, as a first-year freshman, for fall 2021 are invited to participate in SU’s prestigious Maxwell Citizenship Scholarship Competition.  Offered each year by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs as part of its internationally recognized mission of preparing leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit sector, the competition seeks to reward students with outstanding leadership potential.  

The competition provides an opportunity for first-year students who have been admitted to SU to win one of 25 partial scholarships.  Participants in the competition are required to submit a memo outlining a policy recommendation and then, if chosen as a finalist, are required to participate in a half-day virtual conference with other finalists to determine the scholarship winners.

Past winners proposed the use of solar panels to save energy in the school system.  Another winner proposed that defibrillators be placed in parks throughout her town.  In both cases, local governments not only considered these ideas but took steps to implement them.  For you to win a scholarship, you don’t necessarily have to be as successful in changing policies as these two students were, but you have to want to improve your local government and community and be willing to pursue ideas to improve your community. 

Every scholarship is renewable each year for a total of four undergraduate years at any college within Syracuse University, subject to normal academic requirements for retaining scholarships.

About the Competition

The competition is run by the #1 ranked Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and The College of Arts and Sciences under the direction of the Policy Studies Professor Bill Coplin. Any, first-year student admitted to SU can participate, regardless of college.  

Short policy memos must be submitted electronically, in PDF format to no later than 11:59PM (EST) Monday, April 5, 2021. The memo will then be evaluated by Professor Coplin. Students who submit policy memos that rank in the top 100 will become finalists. Finalists will be announced on this website on April 19, 2021. Finalists are invited to participate in a required half-day virtual conference on Saturday, April 24, 2021 to determine which finalists will receive the 25 partial scholarships. Finalists’ combined scores on the written policy memo and evaluations by their peers from the virtual conference on April 24, 2021 will determine the 25 winners.  Participation in the virtual conference is mandatory to win a scholarship.

The Advantages

  • Virtually meet other outstanding Syracuse University applicants.
  • Work with Professor Coplin, a Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence.
  • Compete for one of 25 scholarships, which have a collective value of $224,000.
  • Participate in an experience, which -- year in and year out -- benefits many top students and leaders at Syracuse University.
  • You may also be eligible, as a freshman, to join the Maxwell Citizenship Learning Community.
You may be reading this before you know whether you will be admitted to SU, but there is no reason why you can’t start thinking right now about what policy you will propose and begin to undertake some activities to engage your local government or school district. This will not only increase your chances of winning a scholarship, it can also make you a better person and a more attractive candidate for admission to any college. 

View detailed information on the 2021 Maxwell Citizenship Scholarship Competition Guidelines.