McNair Scholars Program

Go To:Eligibility Requirements | Program Components | Summer Research Internship | Dependent/Independent Student Status | Low Income Status | Application Packet

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program provides an excellent opportunity for low-income individuals who are first-generation college students and/or traditionally underrepresented in graduate education to pursue doctoral study.

The program is named in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, the laser physicist and Challenger space shuttle astronaut. Dr. McNair graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1971 and received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institutes of Technology in 1976. He was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978 and served as mission specialist on the successful 1984 Challenger flight before his death in the space shuttle explosion in 1986.

The program is jointly funded by the U. S. Department of Education ($220,000 for 96% of total funding) and UNT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences ($9000 for 4% of total funding).

Eligibility Requirements

  • Junior standing the upcoming fall semester
  • 3.0 minimum cumulative grade point average
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
  • Meet federal low income guidelines and be in the first generation in your family to complete a bachelor’s degree or be a member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education (African American, Chicano/Latino or Native American)
  • Major in the biomedical sciences
  • Intention of pursuing a Ph.D. after graduation

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Program Components

  • Academic advising
  • Study strategies assistance and tutoring
  • Library and electronic research techniques
  • Preparation for research
  • Faculty mentors
  • Research presentation skills
  • Attendance and presentation of research at national conferences
  • Pre-graduate school advising
  • Information and strategies for financial support in graduate school
  • Choosing a graduate school
  • GRE Preparation

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Summer Research Internship

Participants will be awarded faculty-mentored summer research internships. These internships are full-time ten-week commitments. Interns will:

  • work with faculty mentor whose research interests are related to their own;
  • receive a stipend of approximately $2,800 plus room and partial board and two semester credit hours upon successful completion;
  • write a paper based on the intern’s research results, which will be published in the McNair Scholars Journal;
  • develop a computer-assisted oral presentation and a research poster to be presented at the McNair Symposium and other conferences; and
  • program runs May 21 through July 27, 2012.

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Dependent/Independent Student Status

The Federal government qualifies students as independent only if the meet one of the following criteria:

  • are at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year
  • are a U.S. Armed Forces Veteran
  • are an Orphan or ward of the court
  • have legal dependents other than a spouse (that is, have children) and pay at least half of their support
  • are married and are no longer claimed on parents’ income tax returns
  • have not been claimed as a dependent on parents’ income taxes for the past two calendar years. For this to be true, students (all must apply):
    • Must earn more than $4,000 per year from income and benefits
    • Cannot live with parent for six or more consecutive weeks during the year
    • Must not have received $750 or more from parents within the year

If you do not meet the above criteria you must submit both your and your parents’ income tax return forms for the previous year or your federal financial aid forms from the previous year. If you do meet the above criteria, you must submit your income tax return forms from the previous year or current federal financial aid forms.

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Low Income Status

The low income levels for eligibility in the McNair Scholars Program are set by the U.S. Government and are not flexible. If your taxable family income is less than or equal to the amounts of below, you are eligible under the low income criteria. Remember you must also be first generation to be eligible for the McNair Scholars Program.

Taxable income is defined as the amount upon which you pay taxes (the amount after deductions). For dependent students, taxable family income is the student’s taxable income plus the parents’ taxable income.

Federal TRIO Programs
Annual Low-Income Levels
Effective April 1998 until further notice
Size of Family Unit Contiguous 48 States, the District of Columbia, and Outlying Jurisdictions Alaska Hawaii
1 13,470 16,815 15,495
2 18,180 22,710 20,910
3 22,890 28,605 26,325
4 27,600 34,500 31,740
5 32,310 40,395 37,155
6 37,020 46,290 42,570
7 41,730 52,185 47,985
8 46,440 58,080 53,400

For family units with more than 8 members, add the following amount for each additional family member: $4,710 for the contiguous 48 states, the District of Columbia, and outlying jurisdictions; $5,895 for Alaska; and $5,415 for Hawaii.

The term ‘low income individual’ means an individual whose family’s taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150% of the poverty level amount.

The figures shown under family income represent amounts equal to 150% of the family income levels established by the Census Bureau for determining poverty status. The poverty guidelines were published under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Federal Register, Vol. 68, No. 26, February 7, 2003, pp. 6456-6458.

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Application Packet

The following materials must be submitted by the applicant by March 23, 2012 (This is not a postmark date. All materials must be received by March 23rd for consideration):

  • Checklist
  • Application
  • Current transcript
  • Transcripts of all colleges previously attended
  • Income Tax Return form for the previous year or a Federal Financial Aid Form for the previous year

Additionally, you will need to request recommendations from two individuals by sending them the recommendation forms. (Click here to launch the form. Print two copies of the form).

All application materials become the property of UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth and cannot be returned.

Send application materials to:

UNT Health Science Center
McNair Scholars Program
Attn: Minnie Zavala
3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard
Fort Worth, Texas 76107-2699
817-735-0174 or 1-866-21-REACH (Toll Free)

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This page was last modified on June 10, 2015