Wayne State College

Honors Program

Neihardt Scholars Program

Named for WSC alumnus John G. Neihardt, Poet Laureate of Nebraska and the Plains, The John G. Neihardt Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship awarded by Wayne State College.

The Scholarship 

As long as the scholarship retention requirements are met, recipients receive:

  • Free tuition for up to four years of continuous enrollment
  • An on-campus double room waiver for four years
  • An annual stipend of $500 for a maximum of four years

Award of this scholarship is annually made by the WSC Scholarship, Honors, and Financial Aid Committee. Neihardt Scholar students are required to fully participate in the WSC Honors Program. Application deadline each year is Dec. 1.

Apply for the Neihardt Scholarship


To be eligible for consideration of the John G. Neihardt Scholars program, a high school student must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have an ACT composite score of at least 25
  • Rank in the top 25 percent of his or her class or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 for six semesters
  • Submit letters of recommendation from two high school teachers
  • Write a 500-word essay on an assigned topic for writing skills assessment


Scholars will enjoy priority registration with the seniors during each advance enrollment period. During the initial summer enrollment for the first semester of the freshman year, every attempt will be made to place the Scholar in the appropriate desired courses.

Requirements and Retention

John G. Neihardt Scholars are expected to:

  • Enroll as full time student (a minimum of 12 semester credit hours per semester).
  • Take 12 hours of Honors General Studies courses usually during the first two years
  • Complete two independent study projects in the major: Independent Study 395 and Senior Honors Colloquium 499.
  • Enroll in the special one credit hour seminar course "Shapers of the Modern Mind." The seminar will 1) provide a vehicle for dialogue among the Scholars and the faculty; (2) form the basis of an integrated study of ideas commonly considered an essential part of one’s liberal education; (3) provide direct and stimulating confrontation with great minds of the past and present; and (4) develop the desire for the lifelong pursuit of knowledge. Three semesters of the Shapers seminar course are required for Neihardt Scholars. Credit for the Shapers seminars will count toward the number of hours required for graduation but will typically not satisfy any other requirement.
  • Maintain an overall 3.25 GPA and a 3.5 GPA in the major during the first three years. By the beginning of the senior year, the GPA must be at least 3.5 overall and in the major/endorsement area. Under exceptional circumstances, students who do not to meet the above requirements may appeal to the Scholarship, Honors, and Financial Aid Committee to remain in the program.


Students accepted into the John G. Neihardt Scholars program will receive an award equivalent to full tuition for up to four years of continuous enrollment as long as retention requirements are met. Out-of-state students will be expected to apply for and attain Nebraska residency status for tuition purposes as soon as they are eligible to do so.

Each person accepted as a John G. Neihardt Scholar will also receive a stipend of $500 per year. This will be payable in two equal installments, renewable through four years, as long as he or she remains in the program. The total amount of this award shall not exceed $2,000 for any one student. A student who withdraws, or is withdrawn, from the program between the beginning of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester in any year, will not receive the second installment of the award for that year.

Also, each person accepted will receive an on-campus double room waiver for four years. The student is required to live on campus to receive this.

Students who have not met the requirements for retention are automatically removed from the program, and associated benefits will end. However, if a student appeals to the Scholarship, Honors, and Financial Aid Committee and is reinstated (see section on Requirements and Retention), benefits will continue beginning in the semester of reinstatement under the same terms as above.

Graduation and Administration of the Program

Recognition of successful participation in the John G. Neihardt Scholars Program will be given on diplomas and transcripts.