First-Generation Student Scholarships

Phi Delta Theta works tirelessly to fulfill the principles of The Bond by providing our members with a lifetime experience that allows each member to reach their own personal greatness. The Fraternity understands that to do this, it must help broaden members’ perspectives to prepare them for an increasingly inclusive world and create environments that attract and support a diverse population.

To meet this challenge, Phi Delta Theta examined its Phi Delt 2030 strategic plan to sharpen its focus on these essential priorities. As a result, enhancements were made that help us ensure greater access to our experience that is proven to assist individuals in enhancing their trajectory through best-in-class leadership programming, mentorship, and community. In addition, the Fraternity and General Council appointed a diversity and inclusion commissioner. They created a committee to guide strategy, advise all staff and volunteers, and consult chapters to help implement programming and address challenges.

Primarily due to financial challenges, navigating unfamiliar environments, and a lack of on-campus mentorship, retention and graduation rates for first-generation college students are significantly lower than for students with parents who attended college. That is why Phi Delta Theta Foundation created the First-Generation Student Scholarships.

What is a First-Generation Student Scholarship?

Bridging the financial gap to membership for first-generation students is essential to their success in college. The First-Generation Student Scholarship was born out of this necessity. In 2021 the Phi Delta Theta Foundation Board of Trustees approved a four-year initiative providing $1,000,000 in scholarships ($250,000 annually) to new members of Phi Delta Theta who did not have a parent or guardian to complete a four-year college degree program.

During the 2021–22 academic year, 149 students received a First-Generation Student Scholarship. Of those, twenty-eight attended the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute. General Council President Moe Stephens II sat down with these students. Here are some of the quotes that came out of that session:

  • “This scholarship let me quit my job and focus on school.”
  • “I was able to return for the second semester.”
  • “I can keep playing soccer instead of getting another job.”
  • “I want to work with my recruitment chair to help him understand this scholarship and the others available from the Phi Delta Theta Foundation.”
  • “I’m excited to bring others into the chapter who can benefit from this scholarship, but more importantly, the brotherhood.
  • “Phi Delta Theta is now my family, and I want to give back to my family to sustain it.”

Scholarships directly impact the financial hardships of first-generation college students and indirectly lower the economic burden of membership in Phi Delta Theta.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible?

Phi Delta Theta members who are first-generation college students* are eligible to apply for this scholarship before the end of their first academic year of membership.

* Phi Delta Theta defines first-generation as a student who has not had a parent or guardian complete a four-year degree.

When are funds available?

At the conclusion of each academic semester, emergency funds can be awarded as needed.

Where can students apply?

Applications for all Foundation scholarships are available through the myPhiDelt membership portal. First-Generation applications will auto-populate if you indicated you are a first-generation college student upon creating your myPhiDelt account. If you have questions, please contact Bonnie Schiller to help with the process.