Published On: Sun, Nov 5th, 2023

Applications Open for the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program for First-Generation College Students at Florida Atlantic University 

Now in its seventh year, the program provides first-generation college students with an opportunity to graduate debt-free in four years or less   

Boca Raton, FL – In honor of National First-Generation Student Day on November 8, Florida Atlantic announces that the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program is welcoming applications for the Class of 2028. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, February 1, 2024. 

The program supports academically talented, first-generation, low-income high school seniors in Florida by providing an opportunity to graduate debt-free from Florida Atlantic in four years or less. Selected scholars receive four-year financial aid packages that cover tuition, on-campus housing, books, and a meal plan. In addition, they receive structured support and services designed to increase their collegiate and post-graduate success.

“First-generation students benefit when there is a robust support system in place to help them navigate the collegiate experience,” said Aubrey Strul, Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program co-founder. “Our mission is to provide these scholars with the essential financial, academic, social and career guidance necessary to thrive both in the classroom and beyond.”  

The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program has grown from just four students in 2017 to more than 70 talented, first-generation scholars and 34 alumni today. The program’s graduates are flourishing in a variety of industries, including higher education, engineering, business, sports management, and more. 

“We’re incredibly proud of the bright scholars and young leaders that the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program has produced in a relatively short time,” said Florida Atlantic President Stacy Volnick. “The ambition and perserverance that they have demonstrated is an inspiration to our entire community, and we are delighted to make this scholarship available to qualifying first-generation high school graduates who are admitted to Florida Atlantic next year.”  

Prospective Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars must meet the following criteria: 

  1. First-generation student (defined as parents not having attended college) 
  2. 2023 high school graduate  
  3. Accepted to Florida Atlantic for the fall 2024 semester 
  4. Eligible for Federal Pell Grant Program 

As part of the application process, future scholars must submit a completed FAFSA application to assess eligibility for Federal Pell Grant funds, commit to enrolling in 30 credits per academic year, and agree to live on campus for all four years. Each scholar in the program follows “The Path,” a 17-step program which encompasses wraparound services to support successful academic careers and professional lives, including career planning, mentoring, and financial literacy, among others.  

Developed by Boca Raton philanthropists Aubrey and Sally Strul in partnership with Florida Atlantic President Emeritus John Kelly and wife Carolyn Kelly, the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program aims to alleviate the burden of student debt and offer guidance to students who may otherwise navigate college life uninformed. A former first-generation student, Strul provided the initial $1 million investment to launch the program. He and his wife remain committed to working with the University to ensure the scholarship’s continued success and steady growth. More than 115 donors have contributed to the program since its inception, including an anonymous philanthropist who made a multi-million-dollar donation in 2021.   

For questions regarding the application, contact Jennifer Parra, associate director for the Office of First-Generation Student Success, at [email protected]. To learn more about the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program, visit   

The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program at Florida Atlantic provides Florida’s select academically talented, first-generation, low-income students the opportunity to graduate from college debt-free through comprehensive financial and academic support. The program prepares students for a successful college career and meaningful post-graduate life through its turnkey, 17-point program including mentorship, financial literacy workshops, internships, and much more.Visitkellystrulscholars.fau.eduto learn more. 

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