Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Paula E. Waters – Diamond In The Rough Scholarship Program!

The Paula E. Waters – Diamond in the Rough Scholarship Program is dedicated to providing educational assistance for deserving senior high school African American male students from selected schools who plan to continue education at a two-or four year college, university or vocational-technical school. Scholarships are offered each year for full-time study at an accredited institution of the student’s choice.

Considering a two-year program? Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Professional certificates
  • Personalized attention
  • General education requirements
  • Less expensive
  • Groundwork for continuing education
  • In-demand skilled trade careers

We encourage you to review this website for in-depth information about the scholarship program, as well as helpful student resources like life advice from actor Denzel Washington and tips on retiring with a million dollars from CNBC.


Founded in 2004, Paula E. Waters-Diamond in the Rough Scholarship Program is an organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to deserving African American male youth. The organization established the scholarship program and designed it to reward disadvantaged African American male high school students who have potential and desire to further their education and who may otherwise find college or vocational-technical school unaffordable.

Click here to read more about President and Founder, Paula E. Waters.

The scholarship program is currently administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS), an independent scholarship management company based in Nashville, TN.


Applicants must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be a high school graduating senior.
  • Be an African American male.
  • Have a cumulative GPA between 2.0 and 2.99 (un-weighted, based on a 4-point scale).
  • Be enrolled in a full-time or plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or an approved trade-related program at a vocational or technical school, or other approved technical institute in the United States.
  • Be a student of:
    • Any public or charter high school in Montgomery or Prince George’s County, Maryland;
    • Any public or charter high school in the District of Columbia;
    • Any public or charter high school in Arlington County, Fairfax County, Alexandria or Falls Church, Virginia; OR
    • Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

No exceptions will be made.


  • Three (3) one-time scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $1,000 each. One (1) award is specifically meant for applicants going to vocational/trade school.
  • The scholarships can be applied to tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies and equipment required for course load at accredited, nonprofit two or four-year colleges/universities or vocational/trade schools in the United States.
  • Awards are not renewable.

Application Process

  1. Click the “Apply Now” button (below) or go to https://aim.applyISTS.net/DITR (program key DITR) to create an AIM account using your e-mail address and chosen password
  2. Log in to your AIM account to be taken directly to the Welcome page of the Paula E. Waters Diamond in the Rough Scholarship application
  3. Complete all required fields in the online application
  4. Click the Submit button on the Save/Submit page of the online application

NOTE: The status Complete will display on your AIM Home page when all forms have been submitted and all documents have been verified. Applicants are responsible for monitoring the progress of all application requirements to make sure their application is complete by 11:59 pm PT on May 1, 2024. Late submissions will not be considered.

Scholarships for Minorities

Free Trip To Africa

Video: Motivation Madness with Denzel Washington

Video: How to Retire with a Million Dollars if you Make $50,000 a Year


Recommended Reading:

  • Debt Free For Life: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom by David Bach
  • The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

2023 Recipients

Kalee Winder
Kalee Winder

Seneca Valley High School

Kordell Jones
Kordell Jones

Bard High School Early College DC

Razuan Coleman

Cardozo Education Campus

2022 Recipients

  • Brian Ford, District of Columbia International School
  • Khalil Payton, Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS
  • Yohannes Mulugeta, Paint Branch High

2021 Recipients

  • Jontae Davis, Riverdale Baptist School
  • Malachi Clark, Bowie High School
  • Markeith Davis, Richard Wright Public Charter School

2020 Recipients

  • Asongafac Asaha, Parkdale High School
  • Hasan Aquil, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
  • John Parker, Washington Latin Public Charter School

2019 Recipient

  • Damian Covington, Roosevelt High School at MacFarland

2018 Recipients

  • Matthew Cooper, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
  • Theodis Marshall, McKinley Technology High School

2017 Recipients

  • Carlos Alexander, Washington Math, Science, Tech Public Charter School
  • Tyree Wheeler, Integrated Design Electronics Academy Public Charter School
  • Zaire Jackson, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

2016 Recipients

  • Brandon Langley, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
  • Eric Osei-ampedu, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
  • Malik Workman, Washington Math, Science, Tech Public Charter School

2015 Recipients

  • Ehigie Irabor, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
  • Romello S. West, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

2014 Recipients

  • Aaron Richards
  • Dashawn Hiett
  • Jaquay Moss

2013 Recipients

  • Gaffar Amzat
  • Justin Cheeks
  • Norbert Klusmann

2012 Recipients

  • Calvin T. D. Allen-Crawford
  • Evan Armstrong

2011 Recipients

  • Dairus Pugh, Central High School
  • Kendrick Craig, Cesar Chavez Public
    Charter School
  • Robert Gardner, Washington Math, Science,
    Tech Public Charter School

2010 Recipients

  • Isaiah Simpson, New Brunswick High School
  • Paul Akinrotoy, Northwestern High School
  • Tyrome Miller II, Oxon Hill High School

2009 Recipients

  • Antonio D. Mathis, Westinghouse High School
  • Bryon L. Johnson, Laurel High School
  • Jerome A. Mangroo, New Brunswick High School

2008 Recipients

  • Keith Downs
  • Tyler Womble
  • Wayne Alford

2007 Recipients

  • Darnell Corbin, New Brunswick High School
  • Paul Dunham, St. Peters High School
  • Terrence Smith, Westinghouse High School

2006 Recipients

  • Collin Farrell, St. Peter the Apostle HighEzra Wilson, New Brunswick High School
  • Rashaan Thomas, New Brunswick High School

2005 Recipients

  • Caleb A. Harper, Westinghouse High School
  • James Robinson, St. Peter the Apostle High
  • Ricardo Sheard, St. Peter the Apostle High


For assistance with the application process:

ISTS Program Support is available Monday-Friday 7am-7pm and Saturday 9am-6pm (CST).

The 2024-25 application deadline has been extended to May 1, 2024.

Click the button below to learn more about the program and get answers to commonly asked questions.