Lutheran Family Services established the Coyner and Donna Smith Diversity Scholarship Fund to provide a college education for graduating high school seniors from low-income, minority families who are residents of Nebraska.

$25,000 scholarships are awarded annually to fund recipients’ college education regardless of where they have been accepted. These scholarships are renewable for four years.

Students who are interested in trade or vocational schools are also eligible to apply. Trade school applicants will receive $12,500, or one-half of the $25,000 grant, renewable for two years.

Students must be graduating from a Nebraska high school or obtain GED in the current academic year and plan to enter freshmen year of post-secondary in the fall of that academic year.


  • Be a resident of Nebraska at the time of graduation
  • Show financial need  *Financial need is defined as a low-income family whose adjusted gross family income is $65,000 or lower annually
  • Preference will be given to applicants from disadvantaged ethnic backgrounds that do not identify as Caucasian


Applications for the class of 2023 will be available in September of 2022.


Is there a fee to apply?
Who do I contact if I have questions about the application?
Where does funding for the Smith Diversity Scholarship come from?
When is the deadline for submitting applications?
I missed the deadline. Can I still apply?
I am a home-schooled student, can I apply?
Is there a minimum SAT or ACT score requirement?
Is there a minimum Grade Point Average requirement?
I’ve already received my GED/Diploma; do I qualify?
What academic and financial information will need to be provided?
Is this Scholarship renewable?
Which school should I list on the application if I have not made a final decision?
Is there an income limit?
Do I have to be a United States citizen to apply for a scholarship?
Am I required to submit proof of NE residency?
When are the winners notified? Are applicants who have not won also notified?
If I am awarded a Smith Diversity Scholarship, how will I receive my money?
Can I use a Smith Diversity Scholarship at any college and for any major?
If I am awarded other scholarships or financial aid, does it affect my eligibility for the Smith Diversity Scholarship?
Will references be contacted?