CAES Rural Scholars Program

Rural Scholars Program


Overview and Purpose

The Rural Scholars Program recognizes incoming, first-year University of Georgia students from Georgia's rural communities who have excelled academically, show strong leadership abilities, have a record of community service, and seek a degree in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). 

The program will welcome a cohort of one to three new students each year and each eligible Rural Scholar will receive an academic scholarship of $7,000 annually over four years. The scholarship can be used to cover the remainder of a student's UGA expenses, including tuition, housing, meal plan, books, transportation costs, etc. For updated information on tuition and student fees at the University of Georgia, please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid’s page.

Through a cohort model, staff support, and co-curricular programming, the Rural Scholars Program will provide an extraordinary experience to participating students as they pursue a degree. Scholars have the opportunity to participate in additional activities to enhance the college experience, such as Thrive at Georgia and experiential learning opportunities, supported by grants, that allow students to learn outside the classroom.

Scholars are also eligible to participate in ALL Georgia Program opportunities. UGA's ALL Georgia Program was created in 2018 to provide resources and support for students from rural areas. These resources include academic support and tutoring, networking, social activities with students throughout campus, and introductions to a collaboration of partners to enhance students' experience and success.

Testimonials from the first cohort of Rural Scholars:

Application & Selection Process

  • To be considered for the scholarship, eligible students should apply below. Applications will open August 1, 2022 and close November 15, 2022.
  • Scholars will be chosen through an application and virtual interview process based on academic achievement, leadership, service and an intent to declare a CAES major.
  • Components of the application include the student's intended major; high school and contact information; resume; recommendation letter; an essay; and any awards and honors, clubs and extracurricular activities, community service and employment history.


  • Applicants must be high school seniors who will enroll at UGA the following academic year.
  • Applicants must also submit an application to UGA. Successful candidates must ultimately be accepted to UGA.
  • Applicants must select a CAES major.
  • Applicants must be from a rural or mostly rural county in the state of Georgia. See the full list of qualifying counties in the expandable section below (as defined by the American Community Survey).

    • Appling
    • Atkinson
    • Bacon
    • Baker
    • Banks
    • Berrien
    • Bleckley
    • Brantley
    • Brooks
    • Bryan
    • Burke
    • Butts
    • Calhoun
    • Candler
    • Charlton
    • Chattooga
    • Clay
    • Clinch
    • Coffee
    • Colquitt
    • Cook
    • Crawford
    • Dade
    • Dawson
    • Decatur
    • Dodge
    • Dooly
    • Early
    • Echols
    • Effingham
    • Elbert
    • Emanuel
    • Evans
    • Fannin
    • Franklin
    • Gilmer
    • Glascock
    • Gordon
    • Grady
    • Greene
    • Habersham
    • Hancock
    • Haralson
    • Harris
    • Hart
    • Heard
    • Irwin
    • Jackson
    • Jasper
    • Jeff Davis
    • Jefferson
    • Jenkins
    • Johnson
    • Jones
    • Lamar
    • Lanier
    • Laurens
    • Lincoln
    • Long
    • Lumpkin
    • Macon
    • Madison
    • Marion
    • Mcduffie
    • Mcintosh
    • Meriwether
    • Miller
    • Mitchell
    • Monroe
    • Montgomery
    • Morgan
    • Murray
    • Oconee
    • Oglethorpe
    • Pickens
    • Pierce
    • Pike
    • Polk
    • Pulaski
    • Putnam
    • Quitman
    • Rabun
    • Randolph
    • Schley
    • Screven
    • Seminole
    • Stephens
    • Stewart
    • Talbot
    • Taliaferro
    • Tattnall
    • Taylor
    • Terrell
    • Toombs
    • Towns
    • Treutlen
    • Twiggs
    • Union
    • Warren
    • Washington
    • Wayne
    • Webster
    • Wheeler
    • White
    • Wilcox
    • Wilkes
    • Wilkinson
    • Worth

Rural Scholars Program Application Timeline

Aug. 1 First Year UGA Application Opens
Aug. 1 CAES Rural Scholars Application Opens
Oct. 15 First Year Early Action UGA Application Deadline
Oct. 22 First Year Early Action UGA Materials Deadline
Nov. 15 CAES Rural Scholars Application Deadline
Dec. 20
CAES Rural Scholars Finalists Notified
Jan. 1
First Year Regular Decision UGA Application Deadline
Jan. 8
First Year Regular Decision UGA Materials Deadline
Jan. 13 - 14
CAES Rural Scholars Interviews*
Please note that due to the format of our finalist interview process, we are unable to offer alternate interview dates.
March 21 CAES Rural Scholars Notified**
May 1 UGA Commitment Deposit Due

*All finalists who were interviewed and not selected for the CAES Rural Scholars program will receive a one-year scholarship to CAES.
**Scholars must be accepted into UGA and major with CAES to hold the scholarship for the full undergraduate degree.

Rural Scholars Program Contact

Douglas Bailey Assistant Dean
Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs