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Kessler Scholars for first-generation students accepting applications

The University of Dayton is accepting applications for the new Kessler Scholars program to support UD Sinclair Academy students who are the first in their families to pursue a four-year degree with financial aid, academic guidance, mentoring and more.

“Success in college opens doors both for graduates and for future generations of their family. Those who are the first in their families to navigate the application and enrollment processes, as well as the campus support structures, can face unique challenges,” said UD President Eric F. Spina. “With a $1 million grant, we are able to offer the Kessler Scholars program specifically designed to meet the needs of first-generation students and give them the tools they need to succeed.”

Scholars will receive financial aid at Sinclair and a full tuition scholarship to UD; aid to reduce on-campus housing and meal plan costs at UD; one-on-one guidance from advisers and peer mentors; leadership experiences; opportunities for community engagement; and more. The first cohort of 20 students will enroll in fall 2023. 

To be considered, students must apply to the UD Sinclair Academy and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Feb. 1. Eligibility requirements, including family income of $50,000 or less, can be found online.

There are nearly 100 degree pathways in the UD Sinclair Academy so students know exactly which classes to take. Students also can join UD clubs and activities while taking classes at Sinclair, study at Roesch Library, work out at UD’s RecPlex, participate in the Pride of Dayton marching band, and more.

The Kessler Scholars program supports the University’s commitment to improving access, including as a member of the American Talent Initiative, a collaboration of top-performing colleges and universities working to enroll and graduate more students with lower incomes. This project was supported by the Kessler Scholars Collaborative and the American Talent Initiative with funding support from the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies (

More information on the Kessler Scholars program is available at


News and Communications Staff