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The Centennial Scholars Program provides financial assistance and a multi-level academic support network to retain eligible under-represented students.

Our Mission

The Centennial Scholars Program (CSP) is committed to increasing access to higher education for talented first-generation Pell grant-eligible students from the Commonwealth of Virginia. We provide academic resources, connect students to campus programs, facilitate a successful transition to college, and support students’ success while they earn a college degree.

Our Vision

To recruit and retain highly motivated scholars representing diverse experiences and communities from across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Earning a college degree can alter the trajectory for an individual, family, and community. We seek to build a community dedicated to personal and professional success by empowering students to achieve their educational goals.

Our Values

Academic Success

Achievement and attainment of educational goals to provide growth, opportunities, and empowerment for the future.

Community Service and Engagement

Collaboration with community partners to increase perspective, empathy, and a sense of civic engagement by investing in the community that has invested in our students.

Student Centered

Our programs and practices are informed by research-based theories and models of student development.  Every student has unique educational goals, needs and challenges.  The program will work to meet individual student needs and consider student input and feedback.


Creation of an inclusive space that promotes respect, authentic student voices, and access to opportunities for all individuals regardless of their background or lived experience.


Promotion of consistent ethical decision-making, holding oneself accountable, and encouraging these attributes in others by fostering trust and building strong relationships.


All students are valued, supported, and accepted in the Centennial Scholars’ community and the campus learning environment.


Our Story

The Centennial Scholars Program at James Madison University accepted its first class of students in 2004. This began as an initiative by former JMU President, Linwood Rose, to increase the culture of diversity at JMU. CSP offers full scholarships to Virginia residents who demonstrate financial need. Through the program, students also receive academic support, peer mentoring, interaction with faculty mentors, cultural enrichment activities and career-oriented workshops. The program requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA, perform community service and participate in campus activities.

As of June 2023, CSP has graduated over 750+ students, and maintains an 87% graduation rate (6-year rate) for the last three cohorts and a 93% graduation rate for the first-year cohort.  Most all majors are represented in CSP and at least 35% go on to medical school, law school, and other graduate programs.


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