Black Scholars Matter

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Black Scholars Matter (BSM)

What is Black Scholars Matter (BSM)?

Welcome! The Black Scholars Matter (BSM) initiative is a transformative, merit and financial-based college program aimed toward scholars who embrace the Black experience. With the goal of cultivating Black Excellence by connecting students to essential resources, providing education, a holistic eco-system of support, and promoting service to the community, we aim to enhance the pipeline of college-going students who are committed to advancing racial equity and Black culture at CSUN.​

Please visit this page again in the coming months as the program evolves. For more information please email us

Why Apply?

We are engaging, empowering, and educating the future change-agents & leaders by creating an ecosystem of holistic support. Find out more about the holistic support for scholars below.

Students applying to the Black Scholars Matter program can submit their intent to apply now!

Black Scholars Matter at CSUN



Scholarly Sip

Welcome to the Scholarly Sip where we discuss more than just the drip, education, and good fellowship. Sit back and unwind as we brew the inner workings of your mind. The Scholarly Sip is a podcast, a team of Black scholars, and above all else, a family of the future’s Black leaders. Tune in as we engage the masses through the exploration of Blackness in the contemporary form. We are educating. We are empowering. And, we sip!

Listen on SoundCloud

Before Applying

Make sure to:

  1. Be in the 2024 graduating class of one of our three partner schools in the Los Angeles area.
  2. Apply to CSUN (by January 31, 2024) and get admitted.
  3. Submit BSM Intent to Apply and the Formal Application (including Personal Portfolio & two letters of recommendation by February 19, 2024). 
  4. Submit the FAFSA Application (by March 1, 2024).

Scholars Chosen for BSM Must:

  1. Apply and gain admission to CSUN
  2. Maintain 15 units and full-time enrollment status at CSUN, while in the program
  3. Engage in campus and community activities within the BSM program 
  4. Attend and participate in BSM program meetings
  5. Perform required community engagement hours (10) each semester 
  6. Mentor future BSM students

Check Out These Interview Resources!

Steps to a Successful Black Scholars Matter Interview

The Black Scholars Matter team has assembled a few tips to get you interview-ready! Check out our interview resources below.

Review BSM's Application FAQ's!

Is the BSM an all-expenses paid award? 

No, the BSM award is a merit and financial-based college award that does not cover additional expenses beyond tuition fees and mandatory fees which will be covered by Black Scholars Matter. (This is based on results of the FAFSA, some students receive a University Grant, Cal Grant A/B, or a BSM Award).

What are mandatory fees?

Mandatory fees cover a wide range of expenses and costs the university must incur to maintain and operate its facilities and services. These are paid by all CSUN Students at the beginning of every semester. This is separate from tuition fees

Can I apply for multiple scholarships while I apply for BSM? 

Certainly! You are encouraged to apply for multiple scholarships while pursuing your degree. Receiving a BSM award does not preclude you from obtaining additional scholarships.

Are there any expenses or charges I should expect other than tuition? 

The additional anticipated costs will include transportation, textbooks, and if desired, housing and possibly a meal plan. 

How will BSM help me with student housing? 

BSM cannot provide financial aid to pay for student housing expenses, on or off campus. However, the Housing Department is a BSM partner and will provide updated information about housing opportunities. For additional housing information, you may click here

How will BSM help me with books? 

BSM does not offer financial aid specifically for covering the cost of books. However, the BSM team and CSUN campus partners are available to support you in sourcing digital textbooks, securing employment, and applying for scholarships to cover your book expenses promptly. 


Could I join BSM if I already graduated high school (and attended one of the three partner high schools)? 

Unfortunately, those who have already graduated from the high schools where we conduct presentations (our partner schools) are not eligible for enrollment in BSM. 

What will I receive from the Black Scholars Matter (BSM) Program as a scholar? 

As a scholar of the Black Scholars Matter (BSM) Program, you will receive: 

  • Tuition coverage for up to five years based on your FAFSA results (e.g., via University Grant, Cal Grant A/B Award, or BSM Award).  
  • Mandatory fee coverage (excluding housing, meal plans, transportation costs, and books) through a BSM Award.  
  • Priority registration each semester.  
  • Dedicated academic guidance in your first year, followed by coordinated advisement with your academic department in later years.  
  • Access to math and writing tutoring support.  
  • Resources for your Mental, Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual (MIPS) well-being.  
  • Participation in a Black Excellence University 100 (Freshman Seminar) with fellow BSM Cohort students.  
  • Peer mentoring opportunities with the BSM Empowerment Squad and dedicated BSM Mentor. 
  • Career counseling and professional development support.  
  • Potential employment options within the BSM program, (e.g., becoming a BSM Empowerment Ambassador).  
  • Mentorship roles for future BSM scholars during your sophomore to senior years.  
  • Engagement in community activities benefiting the local community. 
  • Exclusive on-campus cultural study space with laptops and hotspots for BSM Scholars.  
  • Exciting BSM cultural events and field trips.  
  • Access to scholarship announcements and activities enhancing your college experience. 

How do I know if BSM is right for me?  

Our primary objective is to foster Black Excellence by establishing connections to vital resources, providing a holistic support network, and encouraging community service. We aspire to strengthen the community of college-bound students dedicated to advancing racial equity and celebrating Black culture at CSUN. 

What does BSM need from parents to ensure their child succeeds in the BSM Program? 

It is advised that parents offer guidance and support to their students, establish expectations, encourage the development of time management skills, and nurture independence and financial responsibility. 

How long can I stay at BSM before I graduate? 

Students must enroll in at least 15 units per semester to maintain a timely graduation timeline of 4-5 years.  

When are the BSM deadlines for the application? 

A few important application deadlines for BSM include the following: 

  • CSUN Formal Application due January 31st, 2024 
  • BSM Intent to Apply due January 31st, 2024 
  • BSM Formal Application due February 19th, 2024 
  • FAFSA deadline due March 15th, 2024 

When will I hear back from BSM after I apply 

You can expect to receive our final decision on your application in April. 

What should I do if I feel like I underperformed during my application? “How should I proceed if I believe I did not meet my expectations in the application?”

If you believe you have not performed your best during the application process, please do not worry. Your perseverance demonstrates your commitment to your application. You have multiple opportunities to do well in other aspects of your application such as formal application, portfolio, letters of recommendation, and virtual interview.



Black Scholars Matter Interview Preparation Video


Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for the Black Scholars (BSM) Matter program?

Are you a student attending Hamilton, Birmingham Charter High School, or Taft Charter High School? Are you planning to apply to CSUN?

If yes to both, you are eligible for the Black Scholars Matter (BSM) program.

When can I apply?

The window to submit your application for Black Scholars Matter (BSM) for the Fall 2024 cycle is open now! Submit your Intent to Apply here

*Note: To be considered for the program students must also apply to CSUN. And, to become a recognized BSM scholar you must gain acceptance to CSUN.

What are the benefits of joining BSM?

Benefits include: 

  • A transformative four-year college experience.
  • Priority Registration for Class Enrollment.
  • Holistic ecosystem of Mental, Intellectual, Physical, & Spiritual (MIPS) support.
  • Personalized advisement, mentoring, and tutoring.
  • Study space rooted in cultural design that promotes a sense of belonging.

How does BSM offer holistic a.k.a. Mental, Intellectual, Physical, & Spiritual (MIPS) support?

Holistic support is a growing ecosystem of engagement, education, and empowerment for BSM scholars. In addition, students have access to a plethora of campus resources that are offered in conjunction with our campus partners to ensure that students are actively engaged through every aspect of the college experience.  This encompasses mental, intellectual, physical, & spiritual (MIPS) support.

Mental - Support is provided through counseling via the University Counseling Services, the Black Scholars Matter team, and Campus Partners.

Intellectual - Support is offered via a cohort community of active learners, through which mentorship, advisement, and tutoring services enhance our scholars’ intellect.

Physical -  Support is available to scholars via engaging activities offered in partnership with CSUN Outdoor Adventures, the University Recreation Center and the Department of Recreation and Tourism. We also encourage healthy eating and nutrition by providing workshops as well as other activities in partnership with the College of Health and Human Development.

Spiritual - Support is provided through empowering, self-reflective activities and meditation taught in collaboration with the CSUN Oasis center.

In addition to the minimum requirements, what other factors will increase the student’s chances of getting selected for the BSM program?

Each BSM applicant will be scored and selected based on academic background, financial background, community engagement activities, a personal statement, a personal portfolio, a letter from a member of their community, a letter from their teacher, and an individual interview.

Will my child be able to work on/off-campus while participating in BSM?

Once chosen for the BSM program, scholars can work on campus for up to 10 hours during the semester. Off-campus work hours are not regulated by CSUN or BSM. 

*Note: Scholars are still expected to perform their MANDATORY 10 hours of community service per semester to remain eligible for the program.

How is the BSM scholar’s program different from a regular scholarship program?

We invest and support the whole person (Mentally, Intellectually, Physically, and Spiritually) on the road to BLACK Student Success and Academic Achievement. The BSM program places emphasis on the fact that we are a SCHOLARS program, not a scholarship program.

*Note: BSM will only cover tuition that is not covered by a University Grant, CAL Grant, or other financial aid offers.
SM will cover all related student mandatory fees, such as the Student Health Services and the Associated Student fee.