Expanding the Presidential Scholars Program to Honor Students in Career and Technical Education

This post originally appeared on the White House Blog.

51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars

Members of the 51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars pose for a picture outside of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, June 22, 2015. (Photo by U.S. Department of Education)

Yesterday, President Obama signed an Executive Order expanding the United States Presidential Scholars program to establish a new category of outstanding scholars in career and technical education (CTE).

The announcement of this new award category of CTE Presidential Scholars is fitting because the White House also welcomed and honored the 51st class of Presidential Scholars yesterday afternoon. The Presidential Scholars program is among the nation’s most distinguished honors for high school students, and has not been expanded since 1979.

Established by President Johnson in 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of America’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 by President Carter to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Each year, the program recognizes two high school seniors from each state and 15 scholars at-large on the basis of excellence in scholarship. An additional 20 scholars are selected for exceptional talent in the arts.

Presidential Scholar Javier Spivey speaks at a discussion

Javier L. Spivey, a member of the 51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, speaks at a discussion in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, June 22, 2015. (Photo by U.S. Department of Education)

All Presidential Scholars are honored for their accomplishments in Washington, D.C., where they meet with national leaders in a variety of fields. This year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan awarded each honoree a Presidential Scholar Medallion in a ceremony on Sunday, June 21.

The Presidential Scholars program is overseen by the Commission on Presidential Scholars and administered by staff at the U.S. Department of Education. This Commission, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the 3 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

The Administration looks forward to partnering with nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations, to cultivate and nominate the inaugural class of CTE Presidential Scholar nominees for the Commission to consider in 2016.

Next year, the White House will welcome the inaugural class of 20 CTE Presidential Scholars, who will be selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars based on outstanding scholarship and demonstrated ability in career and technical education. Yesterday’s launch of the CTE Presidential Scholars program was supported by Senator Kaine, who led a bipartisan effort in the United States Senate to encourage recognition of excellence in career and technical education.

This announcement complements a convening that will be hosted next week at the White House, recognizing outstanding students, teachers, and administrators who have shown exceptional leadership in driving innovation in the field of career and technical education.

Roberto J. Rodríguez serves in the White House Domestic Policy Council as Deputy Assistant to the President for Education.


  1. Can someone from this dept. Help me out soon my fasfa Id has been locked and I can’t get in I have tried to get a hold of people all I’m on hold or they hang up on me or they just don’t answer the phone at all and than messages keeps saying that they are all busy and they will get back to you in 15to 20mins I have now been on the phone for47:13mins my phone number is 520-466-2848 is my house number my cell is 520-483-2079 I’m trying to get in Colorado University online my e-mail is madmomma2079@gmail.com thank you so much Patricia Ann {Skillin} Roberts

  2. Dear Sir or Madam

    I am a Honoured Iranian Dentistry student in Kiev National Medical University O.O Bogomolets .
    I am really interested in studying in an American university for any type of postgraduate dentistry programs.
    Tell me Please what are the possible ways for me to apply for such a program ?
    Your prompt response and cooperation is appreciated in advance.

    Thanks & Regards
    Nima Sabzchamanara

  3. Good day!

    My name is Willian Gonçalves da Costa, I am Brazilian, I have 27 years, I recently graduated in Electrical Engineering, and I wonder how I can validate my Brazilian engineering degree, for I have a work project in the US and continue my studies and do a postgraduate in the field of electrical engineering and who knows maybe even start my own company.

    My Brazilian lengths !

    Att Willian Costa.

Comments are closed.