Dorrance Scholarship Program

Awards 2018 Recipients

text by Kathryn Brooks

The Dorrance Foundation for Education 2018 award recipients. Photo courtesy of The Dorrance Foundation for Education.

The Dorrance Foundation for Education, based in Tempe, provides academic and financial support to Arizona’s first-generation college students chart a path to success through the Dorrance Scholarship Programs. Through the foundation this year, 36 high school graduates representing 31 high schools across Arizona will have the opportunity to attend Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University or the University of Arizona.

The Dorrance Merit Scholarship was established by Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance at the Arizona Community Foundation in June of 1999. The original gift supported 10 Arizona public university students. What is now known as the Dorrance Scholarship Programs supports as many as 150 recipients at Arizona’s three public universities. To date, over 500 scholarships have been awarded, representing an investment of more than $40 million by the Dorrances.

Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance. Photo by Darrylee Cohen.

“From the program’s inception, we have wanted to focus on good students who strove to be the first in their families to go to college; students in whom we saw great potential to grow; students we thought could benefit greatly from exposure to a program, one-on-one mentoring and the rewarding gift of camaraderie and character building with peers,” Jacquie Dorrance explains.

The programs are available annually to up to 36 high school graduates who meet precise eligibility requirements that include first generation to attend college, demonstrated financial need, meeting  minimum GPA and test scores, admission to ASU, NAU or UA, and proven leadership and volunteer service.

The scholarship offers $12,000 per year for a total of eight semesters of full-time undergraduate study and is maintained based on academic standing, program participation and volunteerism. The total educational and programmatic value of each scholarship is estimated at more than $100,000.

Scholarship recipients benefit from the rewarding gift of camaraderie and character building with peers. Photo courtesy of The Dorrance Foundation for Education.

The comprehensive nature of the program goes beyond simply funding a college education. Through small, on-campus cohorts of students, their peers, faculty and Dorrance Program staff, the foundation offers benefits that include cultural enrichment, community outreach, tutoring and mentoring, internship opportunities and international study and travel. The Dorrances deem such experiences as essential to competitive post-graduate study and employment, and effective community connection and personal development.

Findings indicate that 98-percent of students complete the Dorrance program graduate, compared with 11 percent of first-generation, low-income students nationally. Four of five students complete the program. This year, 22 Dorrance Scholars graduated from one of the three Arizona universities. For more information, visit