Established in 2009, the vision of the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars (FDDS) program is to be the premier academic community for American University’s most ambitious student and alumni leaders in pursuit of multidimensional excellence.

Bringing together the best of AU—world-class education, leadership development, and innovation—the FDDS program will elevate the college-to-career experience of our most enterprising Honors students and propel them into successful careers in health, medicine, business, government, law, education, communications, and creative industries. To this end, the FDDS program has designed initiatives and established partnerships that precipitate a mutually respectful community of scholars where our students and alumni share in a greater purpose to develop to their full potential; to contribute to the intellectual, social, and political environment of the institution; and to proactively prepare for academic, leadership, and career excellence.

The FDDS program offers a scholarship that provides full tuition, mandatory fees, books, U-Pass, room, and board. It is renewable for a total of four years of undergraduate study, provided scholars maintain a minimum cumulative 3.2 GPA. Historically underrepresented minority students and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to first-generation student leaders. While we encourage applications from all ambitious, well-rounded student leaders, the most competitive applicants will have a minimum 3.8 GPA (unweighted) or 4.0 GPA (weighted). Submission of ACT or SAT scores are optional.


To be considered for the Frederick Douglass Scholarship Program, you must complete and submit the program application. Notification of admission to the FDDS Program will not be released until April 1, regardless of application deadline.

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