The Carson Scholars Fund is comprised of a Scholarship Program and the Ben Carson Reading Project.
Carson Scholarships are awarded to students in grades 4-11 who exemplify academic excellence and humanitarian qualities. Winners receive a $1,000 scholarship to go toward their college education!
The Reading Project provides funding to schools to build and maintain Ben Carson Reading Rooms – warm, inviting libraries where kids can escape into the world of books.
Dr. Ben and Mrs. Candy Carson started the Carson Scholars Fund in 1994 to address the education crisis in the United States.
The first Carson Scholarships were awarded in 1996. There were 25 scholars in that inaugural year from Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
The Ben Carson Reading Project was initiated in 2000. The first Reading Room was established at Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School in Aberdeen, Maryland.
CSF is always looking for dedicated individuals to volunteer at events or in our Baltimore, MD office. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering.
If you are interested in contributing financially to the CSF, please visit our donation page.
Ask your guidance counselor or principal if they currently receive an application from the Carson Scholars Fund. If they do not, they can request an application by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including their school name, school address, principal name, and principal email address. At this time, our school nomination procedures do not allow homeschool parents or tutors to request applications.
For more information on how to receive an application, visit our Request an Application page.
Be enrolled in grades 4-11 in the United States. Have a GPA of 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale in the following academic subjects: English/Reading/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and Foreign Languages. Demonstrate humanitarian qualities in school and community, above and beyond what is required, i.e. – volunteering in a soup kitchen, nursing home, senior center, etc. Be nominated by your school.
For the academic qualifications, view our GPA Calculation Rules and Policies.
First-time Carson Scholars receive a $1,000 scholarship to be applied toward the scholar’s college education, along with a medal, a certificate, a trophy nameplate for his or her school, and an invitation to an awards banquet. Previous Carson Scholars receive a recognition pin to attach to their medal, a certificate, and an invitation to an awards banquet.
Applications are available online. You will no longer receive a hard copy of the application unless specifically requested. A link to the online application will be distributed via email in mid-October. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
For more information, visit our Important Dates & Deadlines page.
The nomination process varies from school to school. CSF encourages each school to hold a fair and impartial nomination process to determine which qualifying student at their school would best meet the requirements for a Carson Scholarship. Many schools hold an informal essay contest to determine their nominee.
Here are some helpful links regarding nominations:
The 2018 Carson Scholar Application and Previous Scholar Application is 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, January 8, 2018. All applications materials including report card and teacher recommendation must be submitted by this time. For more information, visit our Important Dates and Deadlines page.
All Scholars and schools will be sent notification of the status of their application by March 2018.
Carson Scholar winners are chosen by a panel of impartial judges, comprised of teachers, educators, and other community members using a standard set of rules.
Yes. Every Carson Scholar is encouraged to reapply for Carson Scholar Recognition each year until s/he graduates high school. Though scholars only receive a monetary award their first year, they can reapply for recognition each subsequent year.
The Previous Scholar application has moved to an online application. If you haven't updated or verified your email address, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for the 2018 Previous Scholar application is 8;00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, January 8, 2018.
A student’s scholarship money is held in an account where it will gain interest until he or she attends college. The summer after the scholar graduates high school, CSF will send him/her a Payout Request Form to be filled out with information about where s/he is going to college in the fall. CSF will then write a check directly to the college indicating that funds may be applied to tuition, room/board, and/or books. In order to receive scholarship money, the scholar must be enrolled full-time at a four-year accredited college or university within the United States. Scholars may defer their payouts for up to 3 years following high school graduation.
To find out more about payouts, please visit our Scholar Alumni page where you will find Payout Request Forms and important dates.
For additional questions regarding payouts, contact Katie Damaroda at email@example.com.
Funding an Annual Scholarship ensures that a deserving student will be recognized and rewarded. The Carson Scholars Fund believes that the recognition component of the award is just as important as the scholarship.
You can designate an Annual Scholarship for a specific school or area, or you can leave it open to be used for the most deserving student in the country.
The $1,500 breaks down as follows: $1,000 scholarship (held in trust until the student graduates from high school and enrolls in college); and $500 used for a lifetime recognition package that includes: a trophy/nameplate for the school, invitation to a regional scholars awards banquets with two complimentary guests (first year), an Olympic size medal, certificate and holder, communication and support services from the Carson Scholars network, and all associated future recognition components including school trophy/nameplate, scholar pin, complimentary banquet invitation(s) for the scholar, etc. through time of matriculation.
No, Dr. Carson has retired from his position at Johns Hopkins. While serving as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, he performed around 350 surgeries each year. Before he became more active with his speaking engagements, he performed 450 - 500 surgeries each year.
Dr. Carson believes that the most interesting and important operation he has ever done is always the one he has just completed. He feels that each operation is important and should have his full attention, effort, consideration, and care.
Yes, she is alive and well, and lives with the family. She got her GED in 1969. In 1986 she received an honorary degree, so she is Dr. Carson, too.
Dr. Carson's brother Curtis is a mechanical engineer in Georgia.
Dr. Carson relaxes by playing pool, usually 9-ball in the basement while listening to the news. He also enjoys board games.
Yes, she plays in the first violin section of a local orchestra, still conducts a string and wind ensemble at another local hospital, and plays piano every chance she gets.
Many patients and students have been touched by Dr. Carson’s work and books. Please submit your stories to share about Dr. Carson to Communications@carsonscholars.org for potential publication on our website.
The Ben Carson Reading Project is the second initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund. The primary purpose of the project is to provide funding and support to schools so that they can create a literacy-enriched environment for children to develop their reading skills. The Reading Project is dedicated to combating illiteracy and promoting leisure reading as a key to unlocking a child's potential. Each room is filled with hundreds of books for students to explore from a variety of authors, topics, and genres. The Reading Room is decorated with attractive, eye-catching artwork based on Dr. Carson's "THINK BIG" philosophy. The cozy, nurturing environment encourages students and their families to come together to recognize the importance of everyday leisure reading.
The goal is to have over 500 high-interest books from a variety of genres, authors, and topics in each room. Many schools survey the students to see what they are most interested in reading. Some schools choose books that are not available in the school library.
While many students have the opportunity to visit the school library, most of the time spent in the library is devoted to curricula instruction, researching a subject, or writing book reports. For many students a visit to the library is an arduous task rather than a pleasant experience. Due to budgetary cutbacks countless schools find that they are unable to purchase new reading materials for the library. The Ben Carson Reading Project allows schools the opportunity to purchase high-interest reading materials. In addition, students rarely have an opportunity to select their reading materials in a classroom setting. In the reading room, students have the freedom to choose their own books. When students choose what they read, they will read more.
In order to get the funding to create a Ben Carson Reading Room, the Carson Scholars Fund works with individuals, businesses, civic organizations, and foundations.
In many instances, the funder targets a geographic location, school district, or a specific school. In addition, the Carson Scholars Fund seeks school partners that have a need for a reading room, have highly motivated individuals and staff that are able to execute the program and have the space to accommodate a reading room.
THINK BIG is Dr. Ben Carson’s philosophy that promotes outstanding academic achievement and dedication to helping others. Children, students, and adults have found that when they THINK BIG, they are on their way to achieving their goals.
T... is for Talent/time: Recognize them as gifts
H... Hope for good things and be honest
I... Insight from people and good books
N... Be nice to all people
K... Knowledge: Recognize it as the key to living
B... Books: Read them actively
I... In-depth learning skills: Develop them
G... Dr. Carson’s “G” is for God. Everyone has their own beliefs. When you THINK BIG, what does the “G” stand for in your life?
All Ben Carson Reading Rooms proudly display artwork and graphics promoting Dr. Carson’s THINK BIG philosophy.
Since the funder is making a major investment into the school and community, it is the Carson Scholars Fund’s expectation that the school will maintain the Ben Carson Reading Room for a minimum of ten years. Many schools recognize the value of a Ben Carson Reading Room and continue the relationship beyond the requirement.
Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary School in Aberdeen, Maryland was the first school to have a Ben Carson Reading Room. The room was established in 2000 and it continues to be a source of pride for the school.
Volunteers play an integral role in the Ben Carson Reading Project. When a room is being set-up, volunteers can assist the school by cleaning the area, painting, stamping and shelving books, and attending the opening day festivities.
Once a room is established, volunteers can continue to be involved in the reading room. Volunteers can monitor the Ben Carson Reading Room, read to students, have students read to them, maintain records, and organize an after school book club.
While not everyone has the time to volunteer in a Ben Carson Reading Room, everyone can support the project. To keep children motivated and engaged in reading, the Carson Scholars Fund is always looking for ways to infuse additional books into the reading rooms. If you are able to provide monetary support, please consider contributing on the CSF website. Your donation will be used to purchase books that students can and want to read.
Ben Carson Reading Day is an annual literacy event held each November in conjunction with American Education Week. This national day of reading is designed to raise awareness on the importance of everyday leisure reading.
In honor of Ben Carson Reading Day, reading room schools across the country engage students in activities to highlight reading. Special events have included: guest readers, such as local government officials and celebrities; viewing a recording of Dr. Carson sharing a children’s book; author visits; and other activities.