FoundationEach year the American Mensa Education and Research Foundation awards scholarships of up to $2,500 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 Orange County Mensa Scholarship and the Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship.


Mensa Scholarship Winners from Orange County

The members of Orange County Mensa congratulate the following winners of  the Mensa scholarship program:

Click on the names to see each recipient’s winning essay.

Winner Residence Award Scholarship
Hunter Liu Eastvale, CA $2,000 Orange County Mensa Scholarship
Woo-Chang Wi Irvine, CA $2,000 Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship
Daniel Miller Costa Mesa, CA $600 Diana Mossip Local Group Scholarship

*Click here to learn more about the Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship.


diplomaHow to Apply for a 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.


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 are 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 Orange County Mensa Scholarship or the Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship, applicants must reside (permanently or while a student) 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 are 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 Orange County Mensa’s Scholarship Fund!

You can make a donation to the Orange County Mensa Scholarship.

Please specify that you want your donation to benefit the Orange County Mensa Scholarship Fund. 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.


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, Ryan Hitch, 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.