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The application program will be available again in November. Please return then to view the updated Eligibility and Awards for the upcoming academic year! If you are an applicant who would like to discover more scholarship opportunities you might qualify for, please continue to the Scholarship America Hub and sign up!

Progress of Ideas Scholarship
Application status: Closed

The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation (RSF) was founded in 1925 with the mission to promote the ideas of 19th century social reformer, Henry George.  RSF’s Progress of Ideas Scholarship program echoes that original organizational charge in its focus on economic equity and social justice, and its drive to discern and challenge the drivers of inequality in our systems of governance and taxation.

The scholarship supports the cost of attendance for students in fields of study related to the organization’s mission.  We are seeking recipients whose lived experiences have engendered in them a commitment to social justice and a drive to make the world a better place for all people.

Long ago, Henry George wrote, “Social reform is not to be secured by noise and shouting; by complaints and denunciation; by the formation of parties, or the making of revolutions; but by the awakening of thought and the progress of ideas. Until there be correct thought, there cannot be right action; and when there is correct thought, right action will follow.”  It is with this in mind that we have created a scholarship for the advocates, the wonks, and the imperfect changemakers, whose thoughts today form the bedrock for action in the future.

The program is administered by Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarships and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals. Eligibility for individual programs is determined at the sole discretion of the sponsor, and eligible applications are reviewed by Scholarship America’s evaluation team.

Applicants to the Progress of Ideas Scholarship must:

  • Be current undergraduate sophomores, juniors or seniors (who have earned at least 36 credit hours at the time of application deadline)
  • Be seeking their initial bachelor’s degree


  • Be individuals who will be enrolled in graduate school in the Fall of 2024
  • Be seeking their initial master’s or Ph.D degree


  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate or graduate study at an accredited institution in the United States for the entire upcoming academic year
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent)
  • Be pursuing the following areas of study: Economics, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Finance or Real Estate, History, Geography, Philosophy, Political Science, Public Administration, Public Policy, Sociology, Urban Analytics, Urban Studies.

Robert Schalkenbach Foundation board members and their children, grandchildren, stepchildren, spouses, nieces, nephews or first cousins are ineligible to apply.


If selected as a recipient, the student will receive a $5,000 award. Up to 5 awards will be granted. Awards are renewable up to one year or until a bachelor’s or master’s degree is earned, whichever occurs first, on the basis of satisfactory academic performance (maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale) and full-time enrollment.

Awards are for undergraduate or graduate study. Awards are for qualified education-related expenses (tuition, fees, books, and required supplies) only.

Beyond the financial support, students are expected to engage in enrichment programming throughout the tenure of their award with fellow scholarship recipients, foundation staff and volunteers. Commitment is not expected to exceed 10 hours per academic year.


All applicants will be notified in May.

Payment of Scholarships

Scholarship America processes scholarship payments on behalf of Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. Payment is made in August.

Selection Criteria

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of:

  • Demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities
  • Work experience
  • A statement of educational and career goals and objectives
  • Unusual personal or family circumstances
  • Academic record
  • 1,000 character essay describing how your education may help you confront pressing societal issues
  • Two letters of recommendation (one letter must be from a faculty member)

Scholarship America will select 20 finalists and Sponsor will select recipients.

Financial need will be considered. Recipients must demonstrate need.

Not all applicants to the program will be selected as recipients. All applicants agree to accept the decision as final.

As part of your application, you must upload the following:

  • A current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Transcripts must display student name, school name, grades and credit hours for each course and term in which each course was taken.
  • Two letters of recommendation. One must be from a faculty member.

Your application is not complete unless all required materials are submitted electronically.

Robert Schalkenbach Foundation has partnered with Scholarship America. Selecting the button below will redirect you to the Scholarship America Student Hub!

Please make sure to add as well as the program email address provided below in the footer as safe senders in your email contact list.