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Applying For The Hagan Scholarship, Eligibility and Guide

The Hagan Scholarship is a nationwide need-based merit scholarship designed to help high-achieving students graduate college debt-free. Established in 1992 by Ike and Lilly Hagan, the scholarship provides selected recipients with up to $48,000 over eight consecutive semesters to attend an accredited four-year college or university in the United States.

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In order to be eligible for the Hagan Scholarship, applicants must meet certain criteria related to citizenship, residency, GPA, future enrollment, and financial need. The application process requires submission of information and documents related to academics, activities, goals, and finances. Applicants are evaluated based on a rubric and selected by the scholarship committee each year.


The Hagan Scholarship aims to support motivated, responsible, and high-achieving students in fulfilling their college dreams. For students from lower-income families, scholarships can make the difference between getting a degree or struggling with overwhelming debt.

College tuition and expenses have been rising steadily, with the average annual cost for a four-year private university now over $50,000 per year. Many students must take out immense loans to fund their education, graduating with an average debt over $30,000. This debt can negatively impact career choices and future plans.

The Hagan Scholarship provides substantial financial assistance specifically for students from lower-income backgrounds who have demonstrated academic excellence. By funding up to $48,000 over four years, the scholarship enables deserving students to graduate debt-free and pursue their goals unburdened.

However, the application process requires time, effort, and attention to detail. Students must meet all eligibility criteria, submit a comprehensive application, and complete an interview to be considered.

This guide will walk through the essential requirements, documents, processes, and tips needed to apply for the Hagan Scholarship. With preparation, resourcefulness, and diligence, students can put their best foot forward and gain admission to this life-changing program.

Eligibility Criteria

The Hagan Scholarship has clear stipulations regarding who can apply for and receive the award. Meeting all eligibility criteria is essential for consideration, so students should ensure they qualify before applying.

Citizenship and Residency Requirements

Applicants for the Hagan Scholarship must be U.S. citizens or legal residents living in the United States. They must attend an eligible public high school in the U.S. as well. Students who attend private schools, are homeschooled, or live outside the U.S. do not qualify.

Academic Achievement Standards

To apply, students must have a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.50 at the end of their junior year. Their academic record should demonstrate high motivation and consistency in earning excellent grades.

Enrollment Status and Deadline

Applicants must enroll full-time at an accredited four-year college or university in the first semester after they graduate high school. They must begin studies in the fall semester following spring awards notifications.

Students must apply during their senior year of high school by the December 1 deadline to receive the scholarship for the next academic year. Awards are not retroactive for college expenses already incurred.

Income Threshold

Since the Hagan Scholarship targets students from lower-income households, total family income must not exceed a published threshold. This maximum income level depends on family size and is adjusted annually to account for inflation.


Finalists selected from the application process are required to participate in a phone, virtual video, or in-person interview. The interview aims to verify information submitted and evaluate communication skills and presentation.

Application Documents

Students interested in the Hagan Scholarship must submit a detailed application with several required pieces. Thorough, well-prepared, and accurate documents are vital for consideration, so applicants should take great care with these materials.

Personal Application Form

Applicants must provide extensive personal information related to demographics, family finances, education history, extracurricular activities, honors and awards, goals, and more. Details should be accurate and complete for verification.

High School Transcripts

Official transcripts must demonstrate the minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA at the end of junior year. Transcripts should highlight a strong and consistent academic record with challenging course loads.

Test Scores

Applicants must submit ACT and/or SAT scores to provide additional evidence of academic aptitude. Scores should be requested from the testing agencies and sent directly to the scholarship.

Financial Need Analysis

Detailed financial information about a family’s income, expenses, assets, and liabilities must be included. Supporting tax documents may also be requested to authenticate financial need.

Letter(s) of Recommendation

At least one letter from a teacher, counselor, principal, or mentor who can evaluate qualifications for the scholarship should be included. Additional letters can provide further advocacy.

Personal Essay

A short personal statement allows applicants to expand on achievements, passions, goals, motivations, interests, and reasons for deserving the scholarship. Creativity is encouraged within provided word count limits.


A recent 2” x 3” headshot photograph should be uploaded for identification purposes and potential use during interviews or promotions.

Application Process

The Hagan Scholarship application involves an online form, document uploads, submission, and interview. Applicants should prepare materials well in advance of deadlines to allow sufficient time and ensure success.

Create Student Profile

Prospective applicants must first create a student profile on the scholarship website, including a unique username and password. This profile allows students to start the application process.

Complete Online Form

Students then access the comprehensive online application form through their student profile. Details should be filled out thoroughly and thoughtfully using exact figures, dates, and specifics wherever possible.

Upload Supporting Documents

In addition to completing all sections of the online form, applicants must provide supporting documentation as separate uploads. This includes financial records, transcripts, test scores, letters, and essay saved as PDF files.

Submit Application

Once all pieces are complete, applicants must submit the application by the December 1 deadline. An application confirmation will be emailed after submission to document recipt.


Based on application evaluations, selected finalists will be offered an in-person or virtual interview. Applicants must adequately prepare and professionally present themselves and their qualifications.

Application Tips

With attention, forethought, and effort, prospective applicants can submit a compelling, complete Hagan Scholarship application for serious consideration.

Useful tips include:

  • Start early – Begin researching requirements, gathering documents, and drafting essays over the summer to allow ample preparation time. Do not wait until deadlines approach.
  • Organize documents – Keep application materials neatly filed both digitally and in physical folders for easy access and upload. Confirm transcript requests.
  • Record specifics – Note exact figures, dates, details, and examples as required rather than estimates or generalities whenever possible for accuracy.
  • Ask for assistance – Counselors can help explain financial sections, teachers can provide recommendations, while peers can proofread.
  • Highlight achievements – Quantify accomplishments in academics, sports, arts, clubs, awards, leadership roles, internships or jobs to showcase strengths.
  • Check carefully – Rigorously proofread all materials for correctness and thoroughness before final submission to avoid errors or deficiencies.

With proper planning and attention to detail, prospective scholars can submit their best application package possible. Starting early, organizing methodically, writing thoughtfully, and checking carefully will optimize results.

The Scholarship Selection Process

The Hagan Scholarship receives nearly 10,000 applications from eager students across America each year. However, only 175-200 recipients ultimately receive awards annually based on a rigorous selection process assessing applicants across several criteria.

Application Review

Submitted applications undergo an initial evaluation measuring completeness, eligibility compliance, strength of academic record, financial need authentication, essay quality, interview readiness, and overall promise and fit for the program goals. Promising candidates will advance.


Based on application assessments, approximately 1,000-1,500 finalists will receive invitations requesting availability to schedule in-person or virtual video interviews. Finalists should use interviews as a forum for supporting qualifications via personality presentation, communication competence, and knowledge verifications.

Recipient Selection

Among finalists participating in scholarship interviews, the selection committee will designate 175-200 total recipients for the year’s awards plus 100 alternates. Decisions weigh multiple factors, including financial requirements, academic indicators, extracurricular engagement, work history, leadership, communication skills, goals, and overall responsibility preparedness for scholarship success. Recipients represent high standards across a range of criteria.


Results release happens each April informing recipients, alternates, and other applicants about final award decisions. Recipients must accept within a provided timeframe by completing next steps related to enrolling in college, maintaining eligibility requirements, and reviewing mandatory workshop information. With acceptance, the scholarship will support recipients throughout four years of undergraduate study by disbursing funds based on verified enrollment each academic term. Recipients agree to meet all requirements in exchange for scholarship resources enabling graduation free of crushing debt burdens limiting life choices upon entering early career phases.


The high-achieving student from a high-need background should strongly consider applying for the merit-based Hagan Scholarship to gain financial support toward completing a four-year college degree without incurring overwhelming debt obligations. By offering a renewable award providing up to $48,000 over eight consecutive undergraduate semesters, the Hagan Scholarship gives students from families lacking adequate incomes to independently afford full college tuition a remarkable opportunity. Through the dedication necessary to meet eligibility requirements, submit a standout application, and qualify as a recipient, students can reduce reliance on massive student loans haunting graduates for years. The scholarship ultimately allows recipients to pursue brighter futures in chosen careers according to ambitions and talents instead of restrictive financial barriers skewing options toward debt minimization. Students meeting qualifications owe it to themselves and supportive families to pursue such a life-enhancing scholarship award through proper preparations and persistence.

Key Steps to Apply for the Hagan Scholarship

1Verify eligibility requirements
2Gather documents for application
3Create student profile on website
4Complete comprehensive application form
5Upload all required supporting documents
6Submit full application by December 1 deadline
7Interview if selected as finalist

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