Big Tex Scholarship Program

Awarding Scholarships Since 1992

The Big Tex Scholarship Program has awarded college scholarships to more than 2,500 students for a total of more than $12.5 million. Eligible recipients include graduating high school seniors around the state of Texas who have participated in competitive youth livestock events held at the State Fair, graduating seniors from six Dallas Independent School District high schools in the Fair Park area, and seasonal employees of the State Fair of Texas or their dependents.

Scroll down for lots of great information on our various scholarships. Ready to apply now? Click the button below. The 2020 application opens on September 27, 2019 and closes on February 1, 2020.


Celebrating Texas Through Education

There’s a reason why promoting education is an important part of our mission statement here at the State Fair of Texas. We believe that part of celebrating Texas means supporting the future of our great state: students. In order to fulfill this mission effectively, the Fair has developed three distinct scholarship categories:

Pete Schenkel Scholarship
Youth Livestock Scholarship
Seasonal Employee Scholarship

Scroll down to learn more about the each of these scholarship opportunities.

Scholarship Opportunites

Pete Schenkel Scholarship

Honoring its past Chairman Pete Schenkel each year, the State Fair of Texas awards multiple $6,000 scholarships to selected applicants from the following Fair Park-area high schools: Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, James Madison, Lincoln, North Dallas, and Woodrow Wilson High Schools.

Youth Livestock Scholarship

The State Fair of Texas awards $6,000 scholarships to selected applicants who have competed in specific competitive youth livestock events held at the State Fair. Scholarships are given to applicants who are graduating from a Texas high school, with preference to those enrolling in an agricultural-related or agricultural-benefiting natural science curriculum at a Texas college or university.

Seasonal Employee Scholarship

First awarded in 2018, the State Fair of Texas Seasonal Employee Scholarship awards scholarships each year to seasonal staff members directly employed by the State Fair of Texas or to a dependent child, step-child, grandchild, step-grandchild, foster, or adopted child of the qualified seasonal employee. This scholarship is available for applicants who plan to attend an accredited two-year or four-year Texas college, university, or vocational-technical school. Eligible seasonal staff are those who have completed at least three years of seasonal employment as of January 1st of the year in which the scholarship is to be awarded, and have worked an average of 20 hours a week during the prior Fair. Recipients receive a $6,000 grant, renewable in pre-determined increments (paid by semester or term) if the student maintains a 3.0 GPA while working towards the completion of an eligible degree.

additional scholarship opportunities

On behalf of its significant past leaders and longtime supporters, the Fair also awards additional scholarships to exemplary program recipients whose behavior honors the namesake of each opportunity. With opportunities available for both newly awarded applicants and current sophomores, selected recipients receive an additional $6,000 to be disbursed throughout the duration of their college career.

Benny Clark Scholarship
A strong leader in the Texas agricultural community, Benny Clark served as the former Vice President of Agriculture & Livestock at the State Fair of Texas. This scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Youth Livestock Scholarship new recipient and honors Benny’s years of commitment to the State Fair.

Peggy Sloan Memorial Scholarship
A strong female leader, Peggy Sloan served as the former Vice President of Exhibits at the State Fair of Texas. This scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Pete Schenkel Scholarship recipient from the Irma L. Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School and honors Peggy’s years of commitment to the State Fair.

Terry Griffin Scholarship
Serving on both the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the State Fair of Texas, Terry Griffin was instrumental in developing the Fair’s Youth Scholarship Program. This scholarship is awarded to two outstanding students – one sophomore Pete Schenkel Scholarship recipient and one sophomore Youth Livestock Scholarship recipient.

Clarice Tinsley Journalism Scholarship
While millions of viewers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area know Clarice Tinsley for her work as a FOX4 News Anchor, the State Fair of Texas recognizes her as a longtime friend and supporter of its Scholarship Program. This scholarship is awarded to one outstanding student – a sophomore Pete Schenkel Scholarship recipient who is pursuing a degree in journalism.

Youth Livestock Contest Scholarships
The Fair also awards scholarships to Texas 4-H, FFA, and FCCLA students who have won or placed in specific youth livestock contests held during the State Fair of Texas. Scholarship awards vary by contest and placement won, with funds ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Apply For A Scholarship

Applying for one of the scholarships in the Big Tex Scholarship can be done online. Simply click on the button below and complete the application.

Additional Information on applying here.

Click Here to Apply

Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for scholarship renewal?

You must attend an accredited college or university within the state of Texas. You must enroll in, and pass, a minimum of 12 hours each semester. You must achieve a minimum 2.5 GPA your first semester and a 3.0 cumulative GPA for every semester thereafter. To clarify, if you make below a 3.0 one semester but your cumulative GPA is still at least a 3.0, you meet the required GPA.

What happens if I don’t meet the GPA requirement?

Please contact Taylor Austin at if you are concerned about your GPA. The GPA policy is as follows: if you fail to meet the GPA requirement for 1 semester, you can receive 1 “free pass” and are still eligible for renewal. As the student, it is your responsibility to request the use of your “free pass.” If you fail to meet the GPA requirement for 2 semesters, you will be put on “probation” and you will not receive your funds the following semester but will be eligible for renewal in the future if you meet the GPA requirement the following semester. If you fail to meet the GPA requirement for 3 semesters, your scholarship will be canceled and you will no longer be eligible to receive funds.

What happens if I have to drop a class and don’t meet the 12 hour minimum?

Please contact Taylor at if you are going to drop a class that will put you below the 12 hour minimum. The policy for credit hours is the same as the GPA policy (see previous question).

If I need less than 12 hours to graduate, will I be penalized for not meeting the requirement?

No, you will not be penalized for taking less than 12 hours if you require less than 12 hours to graduate. Please let Taylor know if you will be taking less than 12 hours by emailing

What happens to the remainder of my scholarship funds if I graduate early?

The Fair cannot “double up” on payments for students graduating early, meaning you cannot receive double the normal amount for one semester. If you are taking summer classes, you may use your funds during the summer (see below for details). Depending on how early you are graduating, you might not end up receiving the full scholarship amount that you would have over 4 years. In cases where students graduate early and do not use their full 4 years-worth of funds, the remaining money goes back into the Big Tex Scholarship Program and is put towards funding the next round of scholarship recipients.

If I’m graduating early and am taking summer classes, can I use my scholarship funds during the summer?

Yes, students graduating early can use their funds for summer classes. Please contact Taylor at before the end of your spring semester so she can process your request and send the check to your college in time for your summer classes. Students can receive one semester’s worth of payments (for most students this is $750) to use for summer classes since summer school is the equivalent of 1 regular semester. You will be required to complete a renewal application on in order to receive funding.

If I'm not going to use all of my scholarship for my undergraduate degree, can I use it for graduate school?

Unfortunately no, the Big Tex Scholarship Program only funds undergraduate degrees. Any funds you have remaining at the end of your undergraduate degree will remain in the Scholarship Program to fund future recipients.

What do I have to submit via AcademicWorks in order to qualify for scholarship renewal?

You must submit a file that includes a copy of your final grades from the previous semester, your GPA from the previous semester, your cumulative GPA, and your credit hours from the previous semester. Most transcripts and grade reports provided by your college include all 3 of these items, however if you do not have a report that includes all 3 items you should be able to upload multiple documents when you submit the file upload. Please verify your name or student ID are visible, if we cannot confirm your identity in addition to your GPAs and credit hours your renewal will be declined and you will not receive funding for the semester.

Do I have to submit an official transcript via AcademicWorks?

No, you do not need to submit your official transcript, however you must upload either an unofficial copy of your transcript or a scanned copy/screen shot of your final semester grades. Usually the best format for uploading your file is to save it as a PDF.

Am I still required to submit a progress letter at the end of each semester?

You are no longer required to submit a progress letter at the end of each semester. However, if you have dropped below the required minimum of 12 hours or have failed to meet the required minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA (2.5 GPA for first-semester freshman), please email Taylor with a brief explanation as to why this has occurred.

When is the deadline for submitting my grades to AcademicWorks?

Following the spring semester, grades are due by June 1.

Following the fall semester, grades are due by January 1.

You have to submit your grades to AcademicWorks by these dates. Late grades or grades sent via email will not be accepted. Please do not wait until the last minute to upload your grades – if you are having issues uploading your grades to AcademicWorks, call or email Taylor at as soon as possible so she can assist you.

If I already emailed/mailed my grades to Taylor, do I still need to upload them to AcademicWorks?

Yes, you still need to upload your grades to AcademicWorks even if you already emailed or mailed them to Taylor.

I’m having trouble logging in to my AcademicWorks account for the first time. What should I do?

When you click on the link sent in the original email, it should take you to the main sign-in page. If clicking the link doesn’t work, try copying and pasting the link into a new browser page. Click “Trouble Signing In,” then enter your email address (the same address where the original email was sent), then click “Resend Confirmation.” You should receive an email with instructions on how to confirm your account.

I am trying to access my AcademicWorks account for the first time but haven’t received a confirmation email. What should I do?

First, make sure you are using the same email address that was originally tied to your account, which is the address the AcademicWorks email was sent to. Second, check your spam folder to make sure the email didn’t get sent there. If the email is not in your spam folder, email Taylor at and let her know you’ve checked your spam and still haven’t received a confirmation email.

I’m having trouble logging in to my AcademicWorks account and now it says I’m locked out. What do I do?

If you try to log in several times unsuccessfully, the system will lock you out for 1 hour. After 1 hour you should be able to try again. If you are having trouble remembering your password, see the following question.

I can’t remember my password, how do I reset it?

If you can’t remember your password, click “trouble signing in” on the main log-in page, type in the email address tied to your account, then click “recover password.” This should send you an automated email with a link instructing you how to reset your password. The link to reset your password expires after 6 hours for security reasons, so make sure you use the link within that time frame. Make sure to check the spam/junk folder of your inbox for this email – sometimes automated emails are recognized as junk mail and won’t show up in your regular inbox.

I am trying to access my AcademicWorks account through the link sent in one of the automated emails, but the link is telling me there is an error. What do I do?

This link is only valid for one-time use, so after you’ve clicked it once and logged in to your account, the link will expire. Instead of using this link, open a new browser window, go to and log in through the main page.

I’ve accessed my AcademicWorks account and was able to log in; now it’s taken me to the General Application page and says I have to complete it; do I need to fill this out?

No, you do not need to complete the General Application. This is only for new applicants and does not apply to students who are renewing their scholarship. The only information you need to provide is the file upload of your semester grades and GPA.

I’ve created an AcademicWorks account and was able to log in; now where do I go to submit my grades?

Once you’ve logged in, go to the top left corner of the page and click “Applications.” Next, click “fall 2019 Renewal.” This should take you to a page with instructions to upload a file of your most recent semester grades & GPA. Click “Add File” and select the file or files you want to upload. Once you’ve uploaded your file(s), click “Update Your Application.”

I’ve logged in successfully but am now having issues uploading my grades. What do I do?

What internet browser are you using? Some students have reported having issues using Internet Explorer and many were able to solve their problems just by switching to Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.

I want to use a different email address for my AcademicWorks account, how do I change the email address that is tied to my account?

You aren’t able to do this yourself, this is something that the administrator (Taylor) has to do on the back end. Call or email Taylor at and include the new email address you would like to use. Please do not set up a second account with a different email address – this will mess things up in the system.

Texan Leaders in the Making

Recipients of our scholarships are shining examples that Texans are dedicated to education and forging paths for the Lone Star State.

View Past Scholarship Recipients