Osher Scholar and Fellows Program
In 1998 the Foundation established the Osher Scholars Program, providing scholarship assistance to college and university students who demonstrate academic achievement and promise as well as ongoing financial need.
The program operates at every level of higher education: two-year community colleges, four-year undergraduate institutions, and conservatory and graduate schools. Nearly all of the Osher sites have been awarded permanent endowments in support of the program.
The first Osher Scholars were designated at the University of California, Berkeley, where today students from 49 high schools in Northern California and 22 high schools in Los Angeles receive four-year scholarships. There are nearly 250 students in the Incentive Awards Program, the largest group among California’s 16 Osher grantee sites.
The Osher Scholars Program has also been established in Maine, where there are 17 sites, including 7 campuses of the Maine Community College System which the Osher Foundation helped establish with a large challenge grant to the State Legislature.
In addition to financial support, Osher Scholars on many campuses receive special counseling and programming. A distinctive characteristic of the Osher Scholar programs is the expectation that students will give something back to their respective communities, in terms of career choices (e.g., choosing to teach in an inner-city school) or through volunteerism and community service.
A variation of the Osher Scholars program is a small Osher Fellows program. These fellowships support outstanding individuals who are working on projects in specialized educational settings.
Osher awards are typically for up to four years of undergraduate and graduate study. Students are selected to be Osher Scholars or Fellows by the host institutions. The Foundation plays no role in the process of awarding individual scholarships.
There are a total of 35 Osher Scholar and Fellow venues: 16 in Northern California (the Greater San Francisco Bay Area), and 17 in Maine. There are also venues in two other states.