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Handler Scholarship – Rochester’s Premier Award

Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship

With a permanently endowed fund, the prestigious Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship is awarded to highly academically qualified students with substantial levels of financial need (as demonstrated on their FAFSA and CSS Profile forms) who have overcome significant obstacles in their lives. Scholars are selected on the basis of academic excellence, outstanding potential to be future leaders, and demonstrated mastery of complex challenges.


An overview of Rochester’s Handler Scholarship, the highest award available for our undergraduates.

The Handler Scholarship is the University’s premier award. Handler students will receive assured, complete financial support (tuition, fees, housing, food, books, personal expenses and transportation), as well as individual and group opportunities, for the duration of the regular four-year academic program.

Scholarship Benefits:

  • A more-than-full-tuition, four-year scholarship to the University of Rochester
  • Individual mentoring and academic support
  • $5,000 in guaranteed funding to support academic or professional enrichment
  • Access to a special alumni network made up of past Handler Scholars

Learn more about scholarship benefits (PDF)

What does it mean to be a Handler Scholar?

  • Set a good example and act as a leader on campus
  • Engage in the community both on campus and in the greater Rochester area
  • Belong to a supportive community of scholars and administrators
  • Pursue your intellectual passions and explore your academic curiosity

Nominations are now closed.



Rich and Martha Handler established the program in 2007 with an ultimate commitment of $25 million. Named in honor of Handler’s parents, this is the largest contribution to student scholarships in the University’s history. Rich and Martha take an active role in the program, developing a strong relationship with the scholars. Rich earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University in 1983 and is the longest serving CEO on Wall Street; he has worked for the Jefferies Financial Group since 1990. In October 2018, the University’s Board of Trustees elected him as Board Chair.


Nomination process

We invite high school and independent counselors, teachers, and community-based organization officials to nominate students for the Handler Scholarship every fall. Nominations will open September 15 and close November 30. Please note, we do not accept nominations from students or parents.




How to apply

All University of Rochester first-year applicants are reviewed for the Handler Scholarship simply by submitting an application and completing necessary financial aid documents; no additional materials are required. Application does not have to be submitted as Early Decision.

Ideal candidates:

  • First-year, fall term applicants (transfer and spring applicants are not eligible)
  • Demonstrated academic excellence
  • Potential to be future leaders
  • Resiliency in the face of complex challenges
  • High financial need


Finalist interviews

If a student is selected as a Handler Scholarship finalist, they will be invited to a two-part virtual interview event that takes place in early March. All finalists will be eligible to receive other competitive merit scholarships if not ultimately awarded the Handler Scholarship. Handler Scholarship recipients may also be invited to visit River Campus in late spring.

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