The Phillips Scholars Program recognizes and rewards private college students who strive to make life better for people with unmet needs in Minnesota communities. Phillips Scholars identify community concerns, explore ways to create social change, and develop ambitious programs to meet the needs of these communities.

Scholarship breakdown

$   6,000 — Junior Year Scholarship
$   6,000 — Senior Year Scholarship
$   4,000 — Summer Stipend
$      500 — Project Resource Funding
$16,500 — Total Award 

Students from 15 eligible private colleges and universities are invited to apply. Each campus will select up to two finalists, who will go on to compete for one of five Phillips Scholars awards.

Download application PDF 

1. THEME: Students applying for the Phillips Scholars Program will focus their projects under a theme chosen by the The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota. Within each theme, there will always be a race and equity emphasis or focus. For 2020-21, the theme students will be working within is: “Addressing the Achievement/Opportunity Gap in Minnesota.” Students will still have the opportunity to use their creativity to design a service/community leadership project that fits within the parameters of this theme.

2. COHORT: The Phillips Scholars Program will build on the cohort experience by bringing Phillips Scholars together every other month to share ideas and resources as they develop their service projects. In addition, students will learn from community organizations focusing their work on Minnesota’s achievement gap.

3. If students are not a sophomore when applying: The 2020-22 Phillips Scholars Competition is open to students enrolled at eligible Minnesota Private Colleges and Universities who are sophomores in the 2019-20 academic year. The Phillips Scholars program requires a minimum of two academic years of participation.

► However, If you are currently a junior and your major requires at least two additional years of study, you may still apply but you must clearly explain that you will be in school for two additional years. Failure to explain may result in disqualification from the competition.

4. STUDYING ABROAD: Because Phillips Scholars are expected to participate throughout their junior and senior years, we expect students to make an intentional commitment to their scholarship during both years. The bulk of planning takes place during students’ junior year.

► We understand that studying abroad is an important part of a student’s educational experience. If a student is scheduled to study abroad, they must contact the staff at the Minnesota Private College Fund BEFORE submitting an application. The only time a student who is accepted into the program CANNOT study abroad is the spring of their junior year. If a student is planning to study abroad the fall of their junior year, special accommodations will be made during the summer prior to the student’s departure to onboard them with the scholarship program.


  • Each campus has a campus-specific deadline for their applicants. Please see your campus resources for specific deadlines and details.
  • Applications for the Phillips Scholars Program are accepted at the Minnesota Private College Fund through Friday, February 14, 2020.
  • The selection committee meets in early March and scholars are notified of selection in mid-March.
  • Selected scholars are encouraged to attend the Spring Luncheon celebration in late-April.

Campus resources

Here are some helpful resources to consult on your campus:

  • Financial aid offices
  • Campus ministry and community service departments
  • Diversity and multi-cultural leaders
  • Service learning coordinators

Past scholar project descriptions by year, and by campus. See the number of scholars chosen from each campus

Scholar Summaries PDF - by year

Scholar Summaries PDF - by campus

Decisions are based on the following criteria

  • You are a sophomore in the 2019-20 academic year.
  • You have an excellent academic record (GPA 2.75 or higher).
  • You have demonstrated FINANCIAL NEED.
  • You aspire to address a significant need within a particular community.
  • You have a history of participating in campus activities and an interest in community service and volunteering. 
  • You are committed to designing and implementing a Minnesota-focused service project in the summer of 2021 (8 weeks @ 40 hours per week, 320 hours total).
  • You are enrolled at one of the following eligible private college colleges or universities:
    • Augsburg University
    • Carleton College
    • College of Saint Benedict
    • The College of St. Scholastica
    • Concordia College, Moorhead
    • Concordia University, St. Paul
    • Gustavus Adolphus College
    • Hamline University
    • Macalester College
    • Minneapolis College of Art and Design
    • Saint John's University
    • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
    • St. Catherine University
    • St. Olaf College
    • University of St. Thomas


If you have any questions or need additional information, please read some scholar stories and/or contact the Minnesota Private College Fund at (651) 293-6801 or (888) PRI-FUND or [email protected].

The Phillips Scholars Program is administered by the Minnesota Private College Fund in partnership with the financial aid offices of 15 private colleges and universities. The program is funded by The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.