Each consortium must have a set of "non-negotiable" program elements that will form the educational core of the National Scholars Program. These include mentoring, academic advisement, research participation, structured teaching, prefreshman summer bridge programs, and enrichment. Enrichment encompasses a range of activities such as travel to professional society meetings, workshops, and public service that will enrich the educational program and enhance achievement. Other enrichment activities may be determined by each consortium site.
Development of the educational elements of each consortium should be guided by two principles. The first is academic excellence. The National Scholars Program should be identified first with high academic performance and then as a program to foster minority achievement. Second, it is essential that faculty be involved in all aspects of the development and implementation of the program. Faculty must participate fully in the design and execution of all program components, including teaching, research, mentoring, academic advising, and in interactions with other partners in the consortium.
Two administrative elements of the program—student financial support and program evaluation—are prominent in its design. All undergraduate National Scholars will be awarded a merit scholarship in recognition of academic achievement. Additional grants to scholars will be based on financial need, although financial need is not a condition of eligibility for admission to the program. The need award—a last-dollar approach—is thus intended to fill the gap between determined financial need and the total amount of grant assistance a National Scholar receives, including the National Scholars merit award and all federal, institutional, and other grants. Doctoral-level National Scholars will receive two years of fellowship support from the National Scholars Program, with institutions providing full support for the remainder of the scholars' predoctoral tenure.
Program evaluation should be built into the program from its inception, including both formative and summative evaluations. Each consortium will be required to collect a common core set of data elements, and the National Scholars Coordinating Council will maintain a national database to monitor performance of the individual consortium sites.
The primary selection point will be in the student's senior year of high school, concurrent with his or her application to college. Students will be selected to participate in the program from a review of the portfolio of information provided to those who will implement the selection process at the individual consortia. The portfolio will include a statement from the student outlining his or her academic and career goals, letters of recommendation, a high school transcript, and SAT or ACT scores. When possible, an interview with each applicant should be conducted. The program should make provision for "late bloomers," for students who wish to enter from other higher education institutions or programs, and for students who, as high school seniors, simply did not know about the National Scholars Program.
Students must maintain a 3.2 GPA in science and mathematics coursework and otherwise maintain satisfactory academic progress. Furthermore, students will be required to sign a yearly, renewable contract in which they declare their intent and commitment to pursue advanced (doctoral) study in science and engineering.
Students must attend a graduate school that is a member of a National Scholars Consortium to retain their eligibility for