In an unprecedented step, the Morehead-Cain Foundation will begin selecting sophomores as scholarship recipients, in addition to incoming first-year students.
The Morehead-Cain scholarship, the first merit-based scholarship in the United States, has historically only offered a fully-funded college education to incoming first-years.
“My sense is that there are some extraordinary students on this campus who are not scholars,” Chris Bradford, the president of the Morehead-Cain Foundation, said.
Bradford said the program will accept 12 to 15 sophomore students into the Morehead-Cain class of 2026.
He said this decision to accept sophomores embodies the original mission of the organization — to invest in and empower a community of dynamic purpose-driven leaders.
“I think of it as a second opportunity for Morehead-Cain to identify promising leaders,” he said.
The scholarship expanded with funding from a group of “generous alumni,” Bradford said. But the initiative will not affect the number of incoming first-years and the Morehead-Cain administration expects this to continue moving forward.
Nominations for the sophomores will come from a broad range of faculty and staff across UNC’s campus. The students are then encouraged to submit an application.
Since the majority of scholars come from nominating schools or affiliate programs, Ria Patel, a junior Morehead-Cain scholar, said this initiative opens up the scholarship to people who may not have had the educational resources in high school.