Student Scholarship Opportunities



FAFSA Priority Deadline - March 2nd was the priority deadline to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applications submitted before the deadline receive priority consideration for programs with limited aid. You can still submit your application after the deadline. Apply Now!


California recently enacted a new scholarship program that allows students with family incomes of up to $150,000 to be eligible for FREE financial aid money to help pay for college.  For more information visit

Both Cal Grants and the Middle Class Scholarship are only available by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at or the CA Dream Act Application at  You won't be eligible for the money unless you fill out the application and meet the March 2 deadline.

To find a “Cash for College Workshop” near you, visit


Fresno State awards over a thousand scholarships totaling more than 3.8 million dollars in free money to incoming and continuing students. Institutional scholarships range from $100 to almost $12,000 and are awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students. Scholarships are offered by various colleges, departments, and organizations to students who meet specific criteria. Regardless of your accomplishments, interests, background, or G.P.A., we encourage all students to apply for scholarships.  Scholarship applications for Fresno State are available online annually starting on October 1, and applications are accepted until February 28.



The department chooses an annual outstanding student through the Jesse Rushing award.

JESSE L. RUSHING was born in Blytheville, Arkansas on January 9, 1953 to Jesse and Latonia Rushing and lived his very early years in Missouri. His family and he moved to Central California and were farmworkers during the early years of his life. His parents, wanting to improve themselves, both went to school to become certified to work in the state hospitals as psych techs and raised their children in Porterville. Jesse was the eldest and only son of four children. He loved playing drums in the school band as well as playing basketball and baseball. He was a very good pitcher and was scouted by the pros during his high school career. He went onto USC on a baseball scholarship but soon found his interest in sociology and religioncourses. After dropping out of USC, he worked a variety of jobs, married Marjorie Coots, and went to work as an eligibility case worker for Tulare Co. Dept. of Social Services. He decided to return to school to earn a degree in social work to advance in the field. After entering Fresno State, he decided his real interest was in sociology, especially criminology and religion. He finished his BA and was thrilled to be accepted to the graduate program at University of Washington where he worked as a research assistant with Dr. Joe Weiss, Dr. Rodney Stark, & Dr. Daniel Doyle with whom he published, posthumously, the research paper “Beyond Durkheim: Religion & Suicide” in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1983, 22(2):120-131). During finals week of his first semester of graduate school, Jesse suffered a brain aneurysm and, after surgery and being in a coma for several days, died on December 17, 1979 at the age of 26. Dr. Joel Best, chair of the sociology department of Fresno State (1978-88), was instrumental in establishing the Jesse L. Rushing Scholarship Award, funded by donations from sociology faculty.  Nearly every year, a cash award is presented to an outstanding sociology student who is aspiring towards a doctoral program.  Between 1990 and 2010, of the 19 Rushing Award Recipients, four of them have completed a Ph.D., one is ABD (all-but-Dissertation), five have earned master’s degrees, and two are enrolled in master’s programs.

Year First Last Graduate Degree  
1981 Linnea  Naley    
1982 Beverly  Smith    
1983 Anne  Brockley    
1985 Judith  Wasson    
1986 Jenny Rodriguez    
1987 Barbara Pia    
1988 Franklin Barker    
1989 Ginger Rainey    
1990 Kim Sweeney Ph.D.  
1991 Matthew Jendian Ph.D., University of Southern California
1992 Melissa Riba    
1993 Nancy Gutierrez M.A., University of Wisconsin
1994 Lisa Elliott    
1995 Michael Carley M.A., Stanford University
1996 Zebedee Fuller    
1998 Bertha Dominguez M.S. in Counseling, Fresno State
1999 Laura Guske    
2000 Sandra Stephenson M.A., UC Davis
2001 Maria Magana Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Chicago
2002 Ashley Howard    
2003 Janice Brown M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling, Fresno State
2004 Henry Giron    
2005 Kristine Frost M.S. in Counseling, Fresno State
2006 Tania Pacheco ABD, UC San Francisco
2007 Melanie Hatfield    
2008 Janine Nkosi M.S. in Counseling; Ed.D., Fresno State
2009 Luis Morales M.A. in Criminology, Fresno State
 2010 Jaime Garcia    
2011 Estela Acebedo MSW Candidate, Fresno State
2012 Gurinder Sangha M.S. in Counseling, Fresno State
2012-13 Millie Medina M.A. in Educational Leadership & Administration, Fresno State
 2013 Maria Ortega

Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar
Dean's Medalist

Ph.D. Student, Brown University

2014 Victoria Cuevas  
2015 Jamaica Gentry  
2016 Carlos Jimenez  
Additional Outstanding Sociology Graduates Nominated for Dean's Medal  
Year First Last    
2005-2006 Kellie Foster Doctoral Candidate
2006-2007 Melanie Hatfield    
2007-2008 Hagar Attia

M.A. in Communications, Fresno State

Ph.D. Student in Communications, University of Maryland (College Park)

2008-2009 Geneva Skram M.P.A., Fresno State
2009-2010 Brian Cortes

M.A. in Communications, Fresno State

College Standard Bearer

2010-2011 Matt Ford

M.A. in History, Fresno State

(2015 Outstanding Thesis Award)

Ph.D. Student in History, State University of New York - Stony Brook

2011-2012 Silvia Espinosa College Standard Bearer
2012-2013 Houa Vang College Standard Bearer
2013-2014 Catherine Coppola  
2014-2015 Sarah Andrews  
2015-2016 Jamaica Gentry  


*Originally named the "Jean Miles Grant" Scholarship in 2005 and renamed the Jean Miles and Clifford O. Grant Scholarship in 2014, this scholarship award is announced annually in the spring semester.  It is presented to a sociology major who will be returning for the fall semester and who has demonstrated outstanding progress towards the degree, including a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major and a minimum 3.0 GPA overall.

Year First Last Graduate Degree
2012 Hannah Andrews Ph.D. Student, University of Arizona
2013 Daisy Perez  
2014 Andrea Wilson  
2015 Austen Torrence  
2016 Nikesha Singleton  


The Harvey Milk Award, a $2,000 scholarship, is presented annually to an outstanding scholar completing the Humanics Certificate at Fresno State through The Bulldog Pride Fund which was established in 2006 as an endowment under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association. 

Year First Last
2012-2013 Michelle Henderson Swift
2013-2014 Raven Kapphahn
2014-2015 Raven Kapphahn
2015-2016 Corrina Rubio
2016-2017 Jessica Vierra