FoundationEach year the American Mensa Education and Research Foundation awards cash scholarships to individuals pursuing higher education. Both Mensa members and nonmembers may enter the scholarship competition.

Orange County Mensa actively participates in this program by judging local entries. Our educational fund, administered through the Mensa Foundation, includes both the Art Mattson Memorial Scholarship (formerly the Orange County Mensa Scholarship) and the Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship.


Mensa Scholarship Essay Competition

The Orange County Mensa Board of Directors is pleased to announce the following scholarships:

Art Mattson Memorial Scholarship: $3,000

Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship: $2,000

Both scholarships are open to applicants who reside in a zip code assigned to Orange County Mensa.

Both Mensa members and nonmembers are eligible.

Other scholarships are also available through the Mensa Foundation.

Students must attend or plan to attend college or graduate school for the 2024 – 2025 academic year.

Applicants: Submit essays online here through January 15, 2024.

This year’s contest is now past and is in the judging stages.

The winners will be announced in May or June.


diplomaHow to Apply for a Mensa Scholarship

The Foundation’s college scholarship program bases its awards totally on essays written by the applicants. Consideration is not given to grades, academic program or financial need.

Essays must be uploaded between September 15 and  January 15.


Note: Essays are restricted to a maximum of 550 words and must include a minimum of two paragraphs. Be sure to read all requirements, rules, and guidelines on the Mensa Education and Research Foundation website before submitting your application.

Applicants:  submit essays online here between September 15 and January 15.

ELIGIBILITY for Mensa scholarships

  • Applicant must be enrolled in a degree program in an accredited American institute of post-secondary education (or intend to enroll for the following academic year).
  • While some of the scholarships are for specific areas of study, most are for students in any major.
  • Applicant need not be a member of Mensa nor qualified for Mensa.
  • However, there may be additional awards for Mensa members and/or their dependents.
  • All general awards are unrestricted as to age, race, gender, level of post-secondary education or financial need.
  • To be eligible for the Art Mattson Memorial Scholarship or the Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship, applicants must reside in a zip code assigned to Orange County Mensa.
  • More information is on the Mensa Education and Research Foundation website.

Mensa Member logo

Mensa Member Scholarships

  • Additional scholarships may be available for Mensa members (and IRS dependents)
  • Only a single application/essay is required.


The answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Mensa Foundation Scholarship Program are available from the Mensa Foundation.

Or, you may contact our OCM Scholarship Chair.

Past Winners

You can see the list of winners for recent years and read sample essays from selected past scholarship winners here.

If you plan to enter your own essay in the competition, look these essays over first to see what our judges have liked in the past. Whether you’re a contestant or not, you’ll enjoy reading some excellent writing from some scholars of high intelligence.

Help support Our Scholarship Funds!

You can make a donation to the Art Mattson Memorial Scholarship and/or the Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship.

Your donation may help us increase the dollar amount of the scholarships we are able to award.

Because our scholarships are administered by the Mensa Foundation, your donation may be tax-deductible, but please consult your tax adviser. Note that you do not need to be a member of Orange County Mensa, nor reside within Orange County, to make a donation. If desired, your donation can be anonymous.

To donate online: You may donate online on the Mensa Foundation website. In addition, send an email to to the Foundation Director with “Orange County Mensa Scholarship Fund” in the subject line as described at the top of the donation page. (Note: using the dropdown in the Recognition section of the donations page is not sufficient to apply your donation to Orange County Mensa’s Scholarship Fund. You must also send an email.)

To send a check: Make your check payable to Mensa Foundation. On the memo line designate “Orange County Mensa Scholarship Fund.” Mail to Mensa Foundation, 1315 Brookside Dr, Hurst TX  76053.

IMPORTANT: When you donate, please specify that you want your donation to benefit the Orange County Mensa Scholarship Fund.


Volunteer to Be a Judge for Next Year’s Scholarships

We need judges to read and evaluate essays submitted by students in Orange County. Judging on the local level happens during a three or four week period in late January/early February. For more information, contact our Scholarship Chair, at


Judging Process

For those with inquiring minds, the following describes the judging process.

At the heart of the national public scholarship program are some 400 or more volunteers, most of whom are members of American Mensa. These volunteers receive and judge the essays on three levels: local, regional and national. Each local group that participates is guaranteed a minimum of one $600 Foundation scholarship for one of the entrants from their local group competition.

Local judges, such as those in Orange County Mensa, begin the judging.

The best essays from the local level judging are then are sent to the regional scholarship level. American Mensa has ten regions, and Orange County Mensa is in Region Nine. At the regional level, the judging process begins all over again, with new judges evaluating all the entries submitted from each participating local group in the region. The regional judges rank the local winners and nominate the best essays for regional and national awards. These essays are then forwarded to the National Scholarship Chairs.

National level judges conduct additional rounds of  judging to select the regional and national winners. Each applicant can receive only one Mensa Foundation scholarship per year; therefore, the winners are chosen beginning at the highest dollar amounts. The next highest scores receive awards of the next lower amounts, and so on until all the winners are chosen based on the judges’ scores.

After the final judging, the winners’ list is approved by the Board of Trustees and all winning awards are announced by the end of June of the competition year.