Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students


The open application period for the Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students is currently closed.

2018 winner

Our Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for Graduate Students helps outstanding minority students and others from historically underserved communities attend graduate school.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund is now reviewing the scholarship applications received for the 2023-24 academic year.

Helping more students achieve their graduate school dream

In 2021, The Sallie Mae Fund, our charitable foundation, expanded the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for Graduate Students to further promote diversity in higher education among minority students and other historically underserved communities. By 2024, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, we’ll award 30 scholarships - up to $10,000 each - over the next three years to graduate students, totaling $300,000.

Meet our scholarship recipients

Check out their inspiring stories and how they plan to create a better world.

University of South Florida

Growing up, Stephanie’s grandmother emphasized, “No te rindas” (Don’t give up). Those words have guided Stephanie on her incredible journey from playing basketball in college and professionally, earning her master’s in social work—and now, in her pursuit of a PhD to advocate for athletes’ well-being.

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

When Matthew began working on the frontlines in Maine’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS), he learned discipline, resilience, and what he wants to do with his life. With his degree, Matthew plans to become a medical director—paying it forward to the emergency services community who became his second family and helped him find his passion. 

Olaseni Bello

University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business

Inspired by his experience as a Nigerian immigrant and as an officer in the U.S. Army, Olaseni set out to be a voice for those who don’t have the resources they need to get by. He plans to use his business degree to help improve access to healthcare, and create a better future for his daughter's generation.

Alexis Kallen

Yale Law School

Alexis is on a mission to make the world a better place for young women. Education has opened her eyes to what's possible and helped her better understand institutional barriers. With her law degree, she plans to become an advocate for marginalized communities, especially refugee women with disabilities.

See our previous winners’ stories

We’ve already helped eight young professionals make their dreams happen

Harvard University Law School

Felipe’s family emigrated from Mexico and he became a first-generation college student. His pursuit of a law degree was shaped by obstacles he had to overcome. As a lawyer, he strives to advocate for low-income communities of color and mentor a new generation of lawyers.

Stanford Graduate School of Business

It was through volunteering in the medical field that Joshua’s long-term career goals first took shape. With an MBA, he’ll be able to combine his background in medicine and engineering with business—and pursue his dream of sparking innovation as a healthcare leader.  

University of Georgia

Kristen’s passion for bat conservation and education motivated her to pursue a doctorate degree through the integrative conservation program at the University of Georgia. She plans to continue spreading her love of science and nature through mentorship and outreach, inspiring the next generation of female scientists. 

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Mary is on a meaningful mission—she aspires to reform the healthcare experience to prioritize the well-being of patients, focusing on survivors of abuse. In addition to her passion for medicine, Mary is a creative writer, and performs as both a poet and a musician.

Columbia University

Albert's pursuit of a graduate degree is fortified by his own experiences, including overcoming personal and educational obstacles. He strives to make his story of perseverance an example to underrepresented minorities, showing that they can achieve their dreams, too.

University of Chicago

Cody is passionate about service. With his medical degree, which he begins this fall at the University of Chicago, Cody hopes to continue serving people either as an anesthesiologist or by working in palliative medicine.

University of California, Berkeley, 2020 graduate

Noor was inspired to start studying law after seeing her single mother try to navigate the legal system to get the child support she deserved. Noor hopes to use her law degree to unite people—and continue advocating for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond.

John Hopkins University, 2019 graduate

With a master’s degree in biotechnology enterprise and entrepreneurship, Tevin hopes to become a leader and innovator in genomics. In addition to this work, he wants to be an empowering speaker, inspiring people to become the strongest version of themselves.

Search for graduate school scholarships

Our Graduate School Scholarship Search tool helps you quickly and easily search more than 950,000 graduate scholarships, worth up to $1 billion. Students who register to use this free tool will be entered to win $1,000 for graduate school.footnote 1

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