Gates Foundation To Award Scholarships to South Asians  

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2000 - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is reaching out to South Asians through the recently launched Gates Millennium Scholars program. This program is aimed at increasing the number of minorities enrolling in and completing undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

To be considered, a student must be nominated by a teacher, principal, professor, dean, program director, the Gates Millennium Scholars' partners/collaborators, or individuals from educational organizations and community agencies.

Wendy Bhagat, who serves on the Advisory committee for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders told reporters that the program is reaching out to the South Asian community to identify students of South Asian descent who qualify for this scholarship. Bhagat described the program as an "amazing opportunity for South Asians who might not otherwise be able to afford a college and graduate school education". The deadline for applications is March 15.

The individuals selected as Gates Millennium Scholars will receive funds for the total cost of tuition, fees, books, and living expenses for the 2000-2001 academic year in an amount to be calculated by the Gates Millennium Scholars program directors. The Scholar will continue to receive funds every year he/she is in college and graduate school as long as the individual maintains a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

To be eligible a student must have a GPA of 3.3, have applied to or have been accepted into a full-time undergraduate or graduate degree program for the academic year 2000-2001, have significant financial need (for example, those who are eligible for PELL grant funding), and have demonstrated leadership ability through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities. Graduate students must be enrolled in mathematics, science, engineering education or library science programs.

The Gates Millennium Scholars program has established a toll-free number, 1-877-690-GMSP (4677) and a Web site, Interested applicants are also encouraged to contact Bhagat directly at 703-522-5142 or by email at