USDA/1890 National Scholars Program applications are now being accepted by the USDA for the 2009 academic school year. Applications from high school seniors must be postmarked no later than Feb.1, 2009, and mailed to the USDA Liaison Office at the institution of the applicant's choice.

"This program is a great partnership," said Secretary Ed Schafer. "College-bound students benefit from a terrific educational opportunity. At USDA, we benefit from mentoring the knowledge, talent, diversity, and skills needed for the future of agriculture."

The scholarship program between USDA and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities and Tuskegee University expands diversity through the recruitment of talented students to public service in agriculture-related fields, including food sciences, natural resource sciences and agricultural sciences.

Since 1992, USDA has funded scholarships for approximately 451 students. USDA has hired graduates into career positions.

USDA/1890 scholarship recipients receive full tuition, fees, books, use of laptop computers and printers, software, employment and benefits for each of the four years they pursue a Bachelor's degree. For each year of the scholarship, students receive room and board provided by the partnering institutions. Students are required to work one year at USDA for each year of their scholarship.

USDA selects scholars based on recommendations of participating 1890 Land-Grant Institutions and Tuskegee University. The 1890 Land Grant Institutions include: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

Nineteen USDA/1890 National Scholars were selected in 2008.