NACOGDOCHES, Texas — On Thursday, Stephen F. Austin State University announced its naming of Elkins High School as a partner school chosen for inclusion in the university’s Distinguished High School Program.

This partnership means that top-ranking graduates from the high schools will be automatically eligible for scholarships worth up to $20,000. Inclusion in the program also means all Elkins students may waive the $50 application fee, and seniors ranking in the top 30% of their class are guaranteed admission to SFA.

“At SFA, we are fully committed to student success and access, meaning we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to ensure Texans have affordable access to higher education,” said SFA President Dr. Scott Gordon. “Our Distinguished High School Program recognizes hardworking high school students by helping them obtain their college degree in a more timely and affordable manner.”

Students from partner schools automatically receive scholarship money for up to four years based on their class rank. Of those who apply to SFA from distinguished program schools, students ranking in the top 10% of their class will receive $5,000 per year, and students ranking in the 11-25% of their class with a 3.0 GPA or higher will receive $3,000 per year. Submission of a scholarship application is not required.

“Elkins High School is not only excited for the designation as an SFA Distinguished High School campus, but we also are elated for the resources and support our students receive when they step foot on the SFA campus,” said Cynthia Ward, Elkins High School principal.

“Over the years, we have teamed up with SFA because we knew our students would have a seamless pipeline to and through college,” she added. “What we have often admired is that the university takes the time to assist our most vulnerable students with the same energy as they do our most accomplished students. The work SFA has done to ensure students graduate on time with as little debt as possible has not gone unnoticed.”

Benefits of the program also include additional financial aid assistance to students with high financial need; a special, tailored campus visit; and an assigned admissions counselor to serve students throughout the college-enrollment process.

Students from distinguished program schools applying as first-time undergraduate students at also should submit official SAT/ACT scores and high school transcripts to the SFA Office of Admissions.

For more information about applying to SFA, visit or call (936) 468-2504.