James Baldwin Scholars Program

“I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also much more than that. So are we all.”James Baldwin

James Baldwin was one of the most prominent and influential figures of the 20th century—an American activist, essayist, playwright, and novelist who taught at Hampshire. His works examined race, sexuality, and class, and he was often referred to as the voice of the civil rights movement. The James Baldwin Scholars Program was established in 1992 in his name to celebrate his scholarship, teaching and activism; although not an expectation of the program, some of our Baldwin scholars have chosen to explore similar areas academically or as activists. 

The James Baldwin Scholars Program provides scholarships to college applicants who show academic promise, exhibit strong leadership within their communities, and display a commitment to social justice and equity. The program seeks students from communities historically underrepresented in higher education and who are typically first-generation college students.

The program's foundation is in the student's first year at Hampshire—the Baldwin Year. Students have access to program-specific academic counseling, personal mentoring, and community support; a full scholarship; a guaranteed place in two writing courses (one each semester); and skill support from the Writing Program faculty for their efforts in all courses. Read more about the James Baldwin Scholars program and its history at the link below.

Explore More

Application Deadlines

Common Application and Financial Aid Forms

February 1 (decision notification date is April 1)

Interview and Three Short Questions

February 1

Common App

Who can apply?

  • Priority is given to students coming from low-income households
  • You must identify as first-generation (first in your family to attend college and earn a bachelor's degree)
  • You must be a U.S. permanent resident or a U.S. citizen

Required Application Materials

We do a holistic read of your application, meaning we look at everything. To apply, submit the following materials through the Common Application:

  • Completed Common Application
  • James Baldwin Scholars Application Supplement (Interview and Three Short Questions — submitted at the time of application)
  • Mid-Year Report (if currently attending high school)
  • Current or completed high school transcript(s)
  • School report, including college counselor recommendation
  • One (1) academic letter of recommendation, in addition to the college counselor recommendation. If you are not currently enrolled in school, we will accept letters from employers, coaches, religious leaders, or other mentors.
  • All financial aid forms are required for applicants.


Register for an interview on campus or via phone or video, with a Hampshire College admissions representative. If you plan on coming to campus to do your interview, you can register for an on-campus interview time. To sign up for an interview, contact admissions@hampshire.edu. Interviews must be completed by February 1.

Application Status

Once we process your application, we will send an acknowledgment email that includes a username and password for you to check the completeness of your admissions file online. To make sure that you receive your decision, we recommend not opting out of email communications.

Financial Aid

Baldwin Scholars must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually. Financial aid will be awarded based on need and will meet 100% of full-demonstrated need for tuition, room, board (meals), and books. The financial aid offer provided to Baldwin Scholars is a combination of federal, state, and institutional grants and work study. Grant aid will be offered in place of federal loans. However, students may still use federal student loans if they have a need for additional financial assistance.

Financial aid to Baldwin Scholars at Hampshire is guaranteed for up to six years, but most students will graduate in four years. All students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to be eligible for financial aid.