The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program at FAU Announces Application Now Open for Florida’s First-Generation Students

Program provides comprehensive financial aid packages to low-income high school seniors.


As part of Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) celebration of National First-Generation Student Day on November 8, its Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program has announced applications are now open for the Class of 2027. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, February 1, 2023.

The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program offers academically gifted, first-generation, low-income high school seniors the opportunity to graduate from FAU, debt-free. Selected scholars will receive four-year financial aid packages for tuition, on-campus housing, books, a meal plan and additional resources needed to complete their college degree.

“First-generation students need support from a network of resources in order to pursue their academic goals,” said Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program Co-Founder Aubrey Strul. “Our vision is to provide the financial, academic, social and career guidance necessary to level the playing field for Florida’s bright, capable future scholars.”

Each scholar follows “The Path,” a 17-step program which encompasses wraparound services to support successful collegiate careers and post-graduate lives, including career planning, mentoring, and financial literacy, among others.

Prospective Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars must meet the following criteria:

  1. First-generation student (defined as parents not having attended college)
  2. 2023 high school graduate
  3. Accepted to FAU for the Fall 2023 Semester

As part of the application process, future scholars need to submit a completed FAFSA application to assess eligibility for Federal Pell Grant funds, commit to enrolling in 30 credits per academic year and agree to living on campus for all four years.

Developed by Boca Raton philanthropists Aubrey and Sally Strul in partnership with FAU President John Kelly and first lady Carolyn Kelly, The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program aims to alleviate the hefty burden of student debt and offer guidance to students who would otherwise navigate college life uninformed. A former first-generation student, Strul provided the initial $1 million investment to launch the program. He and his wife remain committed to working with the University to ensure the scholarship’s continued success and steady growth. Earlier this year, the program received a multi-million-dollar donation from an anonymous philanthropist, expanding the incoming freshman class from 15 to 26 scholars.

Since 2017, the program has grown to include nearly 80 scholars and boasts 22 accomplished graduates.

“The Kelly/Strul program has demonstrated our scholars can achieve academic and professional success when provided with the right tools and guidance,” said FAU President John Kelly. “I feel honored to have helped create such a formative and inspiring program during my tenure as president. I am eager to remain engaged with our scholars as President Emeritus and look forward to watching the program grow.”

For questions regarding the application, contact Dr. Keven Allen, director of First-Generation Student Success, at To learn more about the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program, visit

About the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program
The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program at Florida Atlantic University provides Florida’s select academically talented, first-generation, low-income students the financial and academic support needed to graduate, debt-free. The program prepares students for a successful college career and meaningful post-graduate life through its turnkey, 17-point program including mentorship, financial literacy workshops, internships, and much more.