University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Carol E. Macpherson Memorial Scholarship


The Carol E. Macpherson Memorial Scholarship was established in Carol’s memory to assist women-identified students (28 years or older and with a cumulative gap in post-secondary education of five years or more) in completing their education at the University.

The Carol E. Macpherson Memorial Scholarship was established to assist women who, like Carol, are seekers. It memorializes Carol’s undying concern for fairness, for providing opportunities for women  to find new paths, for the value of a thinking mind to ask difficult questions, and for respecting the nurturing roles women continue to play even as they take on various new responsibilities in their  families and communities. Carol would be pleased to learn of the extraordinary accomplishments of Macpherson scholarship seekers and would applaud the adversities they overcome to pursue education and a better life.


The Carol E. Macpherson Memorial Scholarship was created in the late 1970s and continues to be sustained through the generosity of Carol’s family.


Scholarships range from $1,000 - 6,000. [Note: These are one-time awards.] Scholarship winners are recognized at the annual Celebrating University Women Awards Program.


4:30 p.m. 1st Friday in June (June 1, 2018 for funds distributed in 2018-2019)

2011 Carol Macpherson Scholarship RecipientsEligibility

The applicant MUST fulfill each of the following requirements to be considered eligible:

  • Women-identified students (28 years or older)
  • Five-year or longer gap in college/university education (does not need to be consecutive)
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at least three weeks before the scholarship deadline
  • Demonstrated financial need 
  • Admission or pending admission to an undergraduate or graduate/professional degree or credit certificate program at any U of M campus
  • Good academic standing at the University of Minnesota or prior institution  
  • Meet half-time enrollment status minimum

Selection Criteria

In addition to the above, applicant selection is “weighted” by the following characteristics:

  • Strong, well-written personal statement 
  • Two strong reference letters indicating educational goals and academic promise
  • First generation in family to attend college (parents/guardians do not hold a degree from a four-year college)
  • Pursuing first undergraduate degree
  • Status as a student parent 
  • Evidence of academic achievement
  • Other special circumstances that affect academic performance or financial situation 

(Please note: if you meet the criteria for the Carol E. Macpherson Scholarship, please only apply for the Carol E. Macpherson Scholarship. We do not award students with both the Dr. Nancy "Rusty" Barceló and Macpherson Scholarship awards in the same academic year.) 

Selection Committee

Appointed by Women's Center, the selection committee includes University staff and faculty with particular interest and expertise in assisting non-traditional women students.

Application Process

  1. At least three weeks before the scholarship deadline, file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current academic year. 
  2. Then, use this link to apply online for the Macpherson scholarship!  The online application will ask you for each of these components:
    • Completed Macpherson Scholarship Application, including your personal statement (see sample personal statements).
    • Academic transcripts of all related college/post-secondary enrollment.
    • Two reference letters (to be uploaded directly from references -- the application link contains instructions on how this works). 

Letters of recommendation must be from a current/former teacher, advisor, employer, or community representative/elder. Letters of recommendation should be from people who can speak to your educational goals and academic promise (or qualities that lead to academic success). Applications will not be forwarded to the Selection Committee without letters of recommendation so you may want to send a friendly reminder to your letter writers at some point. We will not contact recommenders to request missing letters, so it is your responsibility to ensure that this step is completed. If your recommenders have any issues or questions, please direct them to contact us at or 612-625-9837. 

Directions for writers of letters of recommendation:

The Scholarship Selection Committee relies on the letters of recommendation to help us make a decision about the applicant's promise and whether she will use the scholarship wisely as she pursues her dreams. Please let us know your relationship to the applicant, and include your contact information in the letter in case we need to call for clarification. Address the characteristics listed below as much as possible:

  • Academic ability and/or promise
  • Ability to set realistic, attainable goals
  • Motivation and persistence
  • Problem solving skills and resourcefulness


Scholarship Awards

All applicants will be notified of their award status in mid-August. The Office of Student Finance sends award checks to scholarship winners on the first day of the fall and spring semesters, generally in two equal disbursements.

Questions: Women's Center, 612-625-9837, or


Give to the Carol E. Macpherson Memorial Scholarship via the University of Minnesota Foundation