UCSB Promise Scholars Program

History and Purpose 

The UCSB Promise Scholar Program was established to recognize talented, incoming undergraduates who have demonstrated significant potential to embark on a journey of rigorous academics, cutting-edge research, and student leadership. Currently the promise includes a minimum of $120,000 in financial support for incoming freshman students over their four years at UCSB, and $60,000 for transfer students over their two years at UCSB.

By promising our Promise Scholars predictable financial resources, we give them the opportunity to thrive academically and become active, productive participants of a world-class research institution like UCSB. The Promise Scholarship will promote attainment, completion, and overall success in all aspects of our Scholars’ education goals within the UCSB community. Most importantly, the UCSB Promise Scholar Program allows students and their families to plan for their total time at UCSB, rather than year-by-year like traditional financial aid programs.

Selection Process

Students must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a California resident or eligible for AB 540, as determined by the Office of the Registrar
  • Fill out a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application and provide all requested documents by the priority deadline each year of attendance
  • Qualify for Cal Grant and Pell Grant, as determined by the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application
  • Have sufficient financial need as determined by the UCSB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

In addition, student test scores, GPA, and extra-curricular excellence are taken into consideration through students' Admission’s Application.

All sources of scholarship and grant awards (federal, state, and institutional) will count towards meeting the $120,000 or $60,000 promise. In some cases, Promise Scholars may need to attend Summer Session to ensure maximum eligibility each year.

Promise Scholar Responsibility Policy

Promise Scholars are required to meet certain requirements throughout the duration of their undergraduate academic career in order to remain in good standing with the program.  Students who fail to meet these requirements will experience partial fee remissions and possible dismissal from the program. These requirements are as follows:

  • Promise Scholars must maintain a quarterly minimum 2.75 GPA:

    Students who fail to meet the minimum GPA will be required to attend a ten week time management session with a Promise Scholars mentor. Students will have one quarter to raise the GPA and must follow the requirements of the ten week time management program in order to raise the GPA to an acceptable level. Students who do not attend the ten week program while below the GPA requirement will lose funding and will be in danger of expulsion from the program.
  • To qualify for full Promise Scholar funding, students must adhere to all Federal, State, and Institutional deadlines for financial aid AND remain Pell Grant and Cal Grant eligible as determined by each academic year’s income and asset ceilings:

    Students must file a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application by the priority deadline each academic year (March 2nd). Students must also submit any required documentation requested by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships by the established deadline. Final Promise Scholar funding will determined with Pell Grant and Cal Grant eligibility.
  • Promise Scholars are expected to learn valuable skills in order to succeed academically:

    Students must attend the designated Promise Scholar course (i.e. INT 95) workshop each academic year that it is offered. Promise Scholars must also attend at least two workshops per quarter to remain in good standing with the program.
  • To ensure continuation of the program for future students, Promise Scholar must agree to participate in all surveys and tracking beyond college:

    Tracking our students is imperative to the continued funding and success of this program. Promise Scholars must agree to participate in all surveys throughout their college career and agree to participate in survey tracking for a maximum of five years after graduating from UCSB.

Program Benefits at a Glance :

  • Freshman Summer Start Program (FSSP)

    Summer before Freshman Year-

    Promise Scholars are eligible to attend and are funded to participate in the Freshman Summer Start Program. FSSP is an exciting, innovative opportunity designed for admitted UCSB freshmen to have the opportunity to get a head start on coursework and make a successful academic and social transition to UCSB.

  • INT 95 Series: The Modern Research Univeristy

    Freshman and Sophomore Years-

    This series of specialized 1-unit courses is designed for UCSB Promise Scholars. It examines the mission of the modern research university and introduces Promise Scholars to the different kinds of work that faculty and staff are engaged in at UCSB, from the administration of the University to faculty research and the production of creative projects.
  • Personalized EOP Counselling

    Ongoing-

    Personalized consultation from a Promise Scholar specialist through the Educational Opportunity Program, which includes quarterly socials, study hours, and workshops.
  • Opportunity to Enroll in the Gene Lucas Undergraduate Research Fund

    The Gene Lucas Undergraduate Research Fund was established as part of the Office of Academic Initiatives to support research projects of undergraduate, first-generation college students at UC Santa Barbara in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

    Freshmen and first-year transfer student participants will be funded up to $1,000 towards on-site work experience in a research environment, including laboratory or field work.

    More information can be found at the Academic Initiative's webpage.

FAQ's :

  • What does my scholarship help pay for?

    The Promise Scholarship can assist in covering fees for Tuition, Campus Based Fees, Health Care, Room and Board, Books and Supplies, Personal Expenses, Transportation, Telephone/Cell Phone, and Loan fees.
  • How do I use my scholarship funds to pay the billing office?

    As long as students are enrolled in at least 6 units and in good academic/financial aid standing, one third of all grants and scholarships will automatically transfer to the BARC billing account each quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring). 

    If grants, scholarships, and accepted loans exceed the amount billed to students on their BARC account, students will receive the difference as a refund 7 days prior to each quarter to purchase books and other education related materials.

    Please note that although you need to be in at least 6 units for your financial aid to disburse to BARC, you must be a full-time student (at least 12 units per quarter) in order to prevent getting your aid reduced. 
  • Can I use my scholarship money living off-campus instead of in the dorms?

    Yes, when living off campus, students receive a financial aid award letter that awards funds for Rent, Groceries, and Utilities. Please visit the Cost of Attendance section of our website for more information about off-campus budgets. 
  • Am I be able to use my scholarship when studying abroad?

    Yes, Promise Scholars are eligible to use their scholarship funds to study abroad through UCEAP. If the cost of the program with UCEAP exceeds the cost of attending UCSB the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will adjust your financial aid accordingly. 
  • Where will notifications, requests, and invitations be sent?

    Promise Scholars should regularly check their university (Umail) email addresses. Important information, document requests and event invitations will be sent via Umail.

    Scholars should also monitor their My Aid Status which can be accessed from the UCSB Financial Aid homepage. Important documents and deadlines will be posted on that portal. 


  • If I have my own health insurance and waive out of Gaucho Health Insurance, what will happen to my Gaucho Health Insurance Grant?

    The $120,000 and $60,000 award includes the Gaucho Health Insurance (GHI) Grant. Should Promise Scholars opt to waive our of GHI, they would no longer be eligible for the GHI Grant and that funding would not be replaced in additional scholarship funds. To reach the maximum $30,000 award each year, students must remain enrolled in GHI.

    More information on the Gaucho Health Insurance Grant.

Contact Information

Holly Roose
Holly.Roose@sa.ucsb.edu
Promise Scholar Program Director
(805) 893-2839

Natalie Gonzalez, M.S.Ed.
Natalie.Gonzalez@sa.ucsb.edu
Counselor | Educational Opportunity Program
(805) 893-4758

Sergio Lagunas
lagunas@ucsb.edu 
Financial Aid Advisor
Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
(805) 893-2909

Enrique Hernandez
enriquehernandez@ucsb.edu 
Office Assistant
Promise Scholars Program