UC Santa Cruz-Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Program

Karl S. Pister established the Pister Scholarship to enable community college transfer students to complete their undergraduate studies at UC Santa Cruz. The scholarship is for junior-level UC transfer-eligible students who:

  • Have shown exceptional achievement through academic and extracurricular accomplishments despite adverse socioeconomic conditions;
  • Have demonstrated an involvement in activities that assist and improve the lives of others;
  • Exhibit outstanding leadership qualities that reflect the ideals of the Pister Leadership Opportunity Program;
  • Because of financial need, would not otherwise be able to attend UC Santa Cruz.
  • Students on a non-immigrant visa (e.g., F-1, J-1, etc.) are not eligible for this award.

The program provides a scholarship of up to $20,000 distributed over two years, wholistic support, and assistance in finding paid or volunteer summer work experience. Recipients will be selected by the chancellor of UCSC from candidates submitted by the presidents of participating community colleges.

How to Apply

1. Access the UCSC Pister Scholarship 'Apply' webpage for full scholarship details, including required materials and participating community colleges.

2Apply for fall 2022 admission to UC Santa Cruz by January 7, 2022 by submitting the UC Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships.

3. Apply for financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application by March 2, 2022. Students on a non-immigrant visa (F-1, J-1, etc.) are not eligible for this award.

4. Collect two digital letters of recommendation. At least one letter must be from a faculty member. The other letter should be from an individual who is able to comment on such areas as extracurricular activities, leadership skills, commitment, and dedication. 

5. Obtain unofficial PDF copies of transcripts from all colleges attended. 

6. Collect digital responses to personal statement questions in one document. 

7. Access and complete the online Pister application (the deadline has passed for the 2022 application).

Required materials for the Pister application:

  • Personal statement responses
  • Two digital letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial PDF copies of all college transcripts