SMUD's "Powering Futures" Scholarships

The value of education and the impact it has on our lives, our families, and our communities is measured by the strength of our community and success of our society.

We're proud to offer Powering Futures, a special program that awards scholarships totaling up to $60,000 each year. As many as 21 local Sacramento students may individually receive up to $4,000 in scholarships.

Scholarship details

While applications for 2024 are now closed, please consider applying next year.

Minimum requirements:

  • Be a current high school senior or graduate, have earned a GED certificate, or currently be a postsecondary undergraduate student.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0, based on a 4.0 scale.
  • Plan to enroll in an accredited 2 or 4 year college/university in the U.S. in the fall of 2024.
  • Be a SMUD customer living in SMUD's service area, or have a parent or legal guardian as a SMUD customer.

Awards will be based on merit and financial need with a preference for students with a major relevant to a career at SMUD. The scholarship is not open to SMUD employees or their relatives.

2018 Powering Futures scholarship winner with award

"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.
Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”  - Kofi Annan


Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for this scholarship:

  • You must be a high school senior or college freshman, sophomore or junior.
  • You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Be a current SMUD customer or have parent/legal guardians who are SMUD customers. View a map of the SMUD service area.

Note: Employees and immediate family members of SMUD employees are ineligible to apply.

When is the application deadline?

Applications for 2024 are now closed. Please consider applying next year.   

What are the selection criteria?

An independent selection committee will evaluate the applications and select the recipients considering:

  • Financial need
  • Community involvement
  • Academic achievements and records
  • Essay contest (semi-finalists only)

Note: Preference will be given to students with a major relevant to a career at SMUD. Decisions of the selection committees are final and are not subject to appeal. No application feedback will be given.

What are the details of the award?

Up to 21 scholarships ranging from $1,000-$4,000 will be awarded annually and are not renewable.

  • Students may reapply each year as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The scholarships will be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for course load at accredited and nonprofit two- or four-year colleges/universities in the United States.
  • Students may transfer from one institution to another and retain the award.

Which school should I list on the application if I have not made a final decision?

You should list your first choice on the application.

How do I change my college choice?

You may update your final school choice on the My Profile. If you are chosen to receive an award, it will be your responsibility to make sure your college is updated at least 30 days prior to the check issue date stated in the award notification so your check can be issued accordingly. This will not update any application or acceptance forms; however, all awards are issued based on the My Profile page.

How do I know if my application is complete?

Allow 5-7 business days after uploading documents for your online status to update. You may monitor your status of your application on your homepage at

  • Not started: the form has not been requested or started.
  • Started: the form has not been submitted and will not be considered.
  • Submitted: the form has been submitted, but is not complete.
  • Complete: all required forms and attachments (if applicable) have been received and your application will be considered for the scholarship.

You may also monitor the status of your attachments and recommendations (if applicable).

  • Not received: the attachment has either not been received or has been rejected.
  • Requested: the form request has been created, but the form has not been started.
  • Processing: the attachment has been received and is being reviewed.
  • Accepted: the attachment has been verified and accepted by ISTS.

It is the applicant's responsibility to monitor the progress of all application requirements to make sure the application is complete. A "complete" status will display on the homepage when all forms have been submitted and all documents have been verified.

I uploaded a document that no longer displays on my application. Do I need to submit it again?

Previously uploaded documents that are no longer displayed with a status on the homepage have been rejected.

The most common reasons for a rejected document are as follows:

  • The document uploaded is not one of the accepted file types: .pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps.
  • The document uploaded was not the document requested.
  • Not all pages of the document were contained in the file.
  • We cannot open the file. The file may be corrupted or password protected.

Refer to the upload section of your application  and upload a new file that meets the criteria stated.

How do I upload more than one file at a time?

You may create a .zip file containing more than one file as long as everything included is in an acceptable format (i.e. pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps.)

Where and when should I send my supporting documents?

The required supporting documents must be uploaded to your online application by the application deadline. If you do not follow the upload instructions exactly, your application may not be considered. 

How and when will I receive notification?

  • Semifinalists will be notified via email in Spring 2024. Finalists will be notified via email in Summer 2024. 
  • Email notifications are sent to recipients and applicants not selected to receive an award. Recipients will have an acceptance link displayed on the homepage following the notification.
  • Add and to your email address book or "safe senders list" to ensure these important emails are not sent to your junk mail folder.
  • Do not "opt out" of any email sent from or You may not receive vital information regarding your scholarship applications.

Note: Your email address will only be used to communicate with you about your scholarship applications or other opportunities administered by ISTS for which you may be eligible to apply. We will not provide your email address to any third-parties.

What are my responsibilities if I am chosen as a recipient?

If chosen as a recipient, you must:

  • Enroll as a full-time undergraduate student in the fall of the year in which the scholarships are awarded.
  • Continue the entire academic year without interruption unless approved by scholarship sponsor.
  • Deliver your scholarship check(s) to the proper office at your institution.
  • Notify ISTS should your check not arrive within 30 days of the issue date.

How and when are checks issued?

Checks will be issued in August to each recipient's mailing address and made payable to the institution on the profile page.

Are scholarships taxable?

Tax laws vary by country. In the United States, scholarship funds used exclusively to pay for tuition or textbooks are normally not taxable. The scholarship recipient is responsible for taxes, if any, that may be assessed against his or her scholarship award. We recommend consulting your tax advisor for more guidance. You may also consult IRS Publication 970 for more information.

Who administers the program?

To ensure complete impartiality in selection of recipients and to maintain a high level of professionalism, the program is administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc., a firm that specializes in managing sponsored scholarship programs.