Scholarship History

Since 1936, thousands of UCLA students, loyal alumni, dedicated donors and enthusiastic volunteers have come together to create a program the personal impact of which exceeds its substantial monetary value.

A Brief Timeline

1936 UCLA Alumni Association awards two $150 scholarships.

1945 The number of high schools represented by UCLA scholarship recipients jumps from 2 to 29.

1961 The Association recognizes 139 students with scholarships totaling $32,000.

1973 The first Dr. Ralph J. Bunche Freshman Scholarship is awarded.

1976 The Alumni Scholars Club is founded.

1980 Distinguished Scholar Awards are established for current UCLA students.

1981 The first Community College Transfer Scholarships, $1,000 each, are awarded to six students.

1994 The Lew and Edie Wasserman Grant Program is established to provide additional need-based funding.

1995 Arts Scholarships are established to help the Schools of Arts and Architecture and Theater, Film and Television recruit students.

2001 Freshmen Scholarships grow from one- to four-year awards; transfer scholarships are increased from one to two years.

2003 Annual Alumni Scholarship Awards exceed $1 million.

2006 UCLA celebrates the 70th anniversary of Alumni Scholarships.

2008 Alumni scholars create “Dollars for Scholars” and raised $500 in support of alumni scholarships.

2010 The top alumni scholarship award increased from $15,000 to $17,500.

2011 Alumni scholars raised over $5,000 through “Dollars for Scholars.”

2012 The top alumni scholarship award increased from $17,500 to $20,000.

2013 The prestigious Distinguished Senior Award renamed to The True Bruin Distinguished Senior Award to award to highly meritorious graduating seniors who exemplify the True Bruin values of Integrity, Excellence, Accountability, Respect, and Service.

2014 All Alumni Regional, Affinity and Cultural Networks join the Alumni Scholarships Program to award scholars from various backgrounds.

2014 Introduction of National Finals Competition – formerly known as State Finals, top-scoring prospective Bruins from across the United States compete at UCLA to potentially increase their base scholarship award.

2015 Community College Transfer Scholarships expanded to include out-of-state applicants.

Then and Now


15_SCHOLARSHIPS_history1$  27: Annual incidental fee charged to California residents
$  85: Monthly living expenses per person (clothing, food, fuel, housing)
$150: Amount of original scholarship, a one-time award worth $2,679.61 in 2018 dollars


15_SCHOLARSHIPS_history2$13,285: University fees charged to California residents
$15,816: Annual room and meals per person
$6,000: Amount of typical scholarship today paid over four years

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