McNair Scholars Program


This program prepares participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Participants are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have demonstrated strong academic potential. Institutions work closely with participants as they complete their undergraduate requirements. Institutions encourage participants to enroll in graduate programs and then track their progress through to the successful completion of advanced degrees. The goal is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.
Students who qualify for McNair must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution. In all projects, at least two-thirds of the participants must be low-income (link is to Federal TRIO Programs 2013 Annual Low Income Levels), potential first-generation college students. The remaining participants may be from groups that are underrepresented in graduate education.
For purposes of the McNair eligibility criteria, the following groups are currently designated in the McNair Program regulations as underrepresented:
    •    African American/Black
    •    Latino/Hispanic
    •    American Indian/Alaskan Native
The Department of Education also includes Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (with an affiliation with the United States, such as residents of American Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) in the underrepresented groups designation.