Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Data

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program was created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in September 1999 to increase opportunities in higher education for outstanding minority students with significant financial need. Between 1999 and 2016, the GMS program awarded 20 cohorts (classes) of scholars. As a “last dollar scholarship,” the GMS scholarship was designed to cover the remaining college cost through an advanced degree after accounting for all other financial aid received (e.g., Pell Grants). Visit to learn more.

The GMS Data series includes data from the GMS surveys as well as GMS administrative data.

GMS Survey Data

The GMS survey data consists of data from surveys of early (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 9th) cohorts of GMS recipients and a random sample of finalists from the same years. Respondents in the GMS survey data had to (1) be of African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander background; (2) be full-time students entering college or university; (3) have a GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale; (4) be eligible for Pell Grants; and (5) be leaders in community service, extracurricular, or other activities. Respondents were surveyed at three points in time: when they entered college and two follow-ups, each approximately two years after the previous data collection.

ICPSR has recently updated GMS survey data to improve usability of the information in these surveys for researchers with various experience levels and to make it easier to perform analyses both within and across cohorts. New enhancements include: 1) reorganized file structures of the survey datasets by academic year and 2) a comprehensive User Guide and “crosswalk” explaining the file structure and depicting which variables are included in each dataset.

Planned for release in the second half of 2019, a cross-cohort survey data file will include respondents from all surveys of early cohorts: 1-3, 5, and 9. Researchers will be able to use these data cross-sectionally and/or longitudinally to analyze the effects of the scholarship on the educational, civic, and personal lives of the scholarship recipients and to compare their experiences and outcomes to those of finalists.

GMS Administrative Data

The GMS administrative data includes information reported on scholarship applications and information used to select students into the program (e.g., non-cognitive test scores), markers of academic progress to degree, financial aid, and details of the GMS award. In the near future, ICPSR plans to release information on school characteristics for institutions attended by GMS recipients and finalists. Stay tuned for more information soon on the upcoming release!