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TRIO McNair Scholars Program

COVID-19 Update:

The TRIO McNair Scholars Program will be offering advising and educational seminar content in online formats. Program staff will have access to Zoom Pro and will be reaching out to you to schedule advising meetings and discuss methods to stay in contact. Educational content will still be posted on Blackboard prior to seminar dates. In addition, we will be offering Zoom sessions for seminars. All initial communication from Team McNair will come directly from staff through email.

McNair Scholar Graduates

TRIO McNair Scholars Program

The TRIO McNair Scholars program inspires and empowers first generation students with financial need and underrepresented students of color to succeed in doctoral study and advanced careers through an equitable and inclusive community engaged in research, scholarship and comprehensive personal development at the undergraduate level.

Visit our Youtube channel or Facebook page to see our scholars in action!

Am I eligible to join the TRIO McNair Scholars program?

The TRIO McNair Scholars program provides educational access and success for income-eligible first generation students and underrepresented students of color. Federally-funded by the U.S. Department of Education, McNair participants must meet the following eligibility requirements. 

  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident; and
  • Enrolled in an institution of higher education with the intention of completing a Bachelor's degree; and
  • Be an income-eligible first-generation student*; 
  • Be a member of a group underrepresented in graduate education (African American, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaska Native, or of Hispanic heritage).

If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact Julian Vela at or Tower 2139. 

STEM majors, sophomores, and TRIO alumni are especially encouraged to apply! The McNair program serves students from The College of St. Scholastica as well as students from Lake Superior College and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College who intend to transfer to CSS or another local institution.

*Income eligibility based on this taxable income chart. First-generation student means neither natural/adoptive parent has completed a Bachelor's degree. 

How do I apply?

Please review McNair eligibility information prior to applying.

Then follow these steps: 

  1. Complete your applicant information
  2. Complete income documentation (McNair will provide the form).  
  3. Complete your personal statement.
  4. Submit an unofficial transcript to or Tower Hall 2139.
  5. Complete an interview with McNair staff. 

McNair applications are opened at the beginning of each academic year. Priority is given to complete applications submitted by October 15th although applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If you have any questions, concerns, or require accommodations, please email our office at

What will I learn? 

The McNair program provides comprehensive learning and support designed to inspire and empower you to succeed in graduate study and an advanced career, including: 

  • Research with a faculty mentor.
  • Scholarly activities such as presenting your research. 
  • Seminars and other educational activities. 
  • One-on-one advising. 

In addition, participants have access to resources such as: 

  • Summer research stipends. 
  • Summer housing. 
  • Travel funds. 
  • GRE test prep materials. 
  • Application fee waivers and reductions. 
  • Tutoring. 

Grant # ~ P217A170051
This TRIO McNair Scholars Program is federally funded at $$283,397 annually through the U.S. Department of Education.

Contact Us

Troy Abfalter, MA
Tower Hall 2139
(218) 625-4833

Rachel Phelps-Horton
Academic Coordinator
Tower Hall 2132
(218) 723-6088

Julian Vela
Program Coordinator
Tower Hall 2139
(218) 723-5932

McNair Inquiry Form

"The McNair program really opened my eyes to the possibility of going to grad school. I was able to visit graduate schools and speak with professors, ask questions, and really see that this could be my future."

– Diana Mena, '17