The John B. Ervin Scholars Program was founded on four pillars—academic excellence, leadership, community service, and diversity. All our scholars are expected to exemplify these ideals to be competitive for this program.

Ervin Scholars may receive full-tuition scholarships with a $2,500 stipend or partial-tuition scholarships. The scholarship is renewed each year for the duration of the degree program, provided you progress academically and uphold the high standards of character required of scholars.

If selected as an Ervin Scholar, students will participate in variety of opportunities as part of the program, including a special orientation to WashU, meetings with university and community leaders, academic support and advising, and events with other Ervin Scholars and the program’s administrators. Ervin Scholars are also expected to engage in organizations and activities on campus, and in service projects in the community.

For more information, visit the John B Ervin Scholars Program website.


The Ervin Scholars Program is open to only U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented or DACA students living in the U.S.⁠ Students admitted into any of WashU’s undergraduate divisions may apply for the Ervin Scholars Program. A separate application and additional letter of recommendation are required.

Interviews for Finalists

Finalists are notified by the end of February. There will be a series of virtual events including an interview in March 2021. Finalists must attend these virtual events and the interview to remain eligible.

To apply

  • Submit an application for admission to the Class of 2025.
  • Log in to your WashU Pathway account to submit the separate application for the Ervin Scholars Program.
  • Write a brief answer (150 words) to the following question:
    Describe a high school or community activity in which you have taken initiative. What were the challenges and outcomes? What did you learn?
  • Write a short essay (250 words) on the following topic:
    Review the biography of Dr. John B. Ervin (below) and the four Program Pillars (above). How have you demonstrated your commitment to the ideals of the program? Please provide 1-2 specific examples.
  • The scholarship committee will review the two required letters of recommendation submitted with your application for admission. To better understand you, and your contributions and commitment to the community, please submit an additional (third) letter of recommendation. If you have submitted a third letter of recommendation with your application for admission, that letter may be used. Or you may request a letter of recommendation.


All applications must be submitted by January 4, 2021.

John B. Ervin

The story of Dr. John B. Ervin is one of achievement and determination in the face of discrimination. Dr. Ervin was a nationally renowned black educator, scholar, and author who committed his life to the education of all people. In 1968, he became the first African-American dean of the School of Continuing Education at Washington University. He was also very involved with the St. Louis community, holding leadership positions on boards of numerous organizations and foundations. As a beloved member of the WashU community, Dr. Ervin is best remembered for his commitment to excellence, his engagement with the community, and his efforts to bring diverse people together to heal divisions among them.