Program Details

How is this program different from other executive-style leadership programs?
The Presidential Leadership Scholars program focuses on leadership opportunities that inspire people to create solutions for complex challenges in their communities, whether local, national, or international. This program is the only of its kind that can provide the insight drawn from the experiences of these presidents, the advisors who worked closely with them, and the resources of these centers coupled together with the best minds from leadership studies. Our strong emphasis on cultivating a lifelong network of participants, faculty, and staff also creates a unique professional development experience.

Where are the meetings and events held?
After the opening session, the Scholars will rotate meetings among the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation in College Station, Texas; the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas; the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas; and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation in Austin, Texas. The closing session and capstone module will take place in June.

Will former Presidents be involved in this program?
To the extent schedules allow, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will participate in various program activities. All four presidential centers will be actively engaged throughout the program.

Is this an accredited program?
No, this initiative is for professional development and is not overseen by an accrediting body.

Can I receive college credit hours?
No, this professional development program does not qualify for college credit in any capacity.

What commitments are expected of alumni?
Program alumni are expected to remain involved in the program through a variety of ways. This includes, but is not limited to, recruiting and mentoring new Scholars, sharing leadership experiences with new classes, and participating in follow-up interviews and surveys. Alumni are also encouraged to stay connected with each other, and provide valued support to the projects and initiatives pursued after their time in the program.

I’m interested in the program, but can’t attend this year. How can I receive information about the program in the future?
Visit the Contact Us page and check the box to receive email notifications for next year’s application.


I have a conflict on one of the scheduled dates. Can I still participate?
Scholars are required to participate in all scheduled program events in their entirety.

How often will I be required to travel and how many days of work will I miss?
The program requires a six-month commitment. During that time, participants meet for a five-day opening session, which is followed by one extended weekend per month at each of the presidential centers. The program concludes with a four-day session and capstone module. For more information, please see the program schedule for required dates of participation. Please note that due to geographical limitations, Scholars may need to travel the day before a module in order to arrive in time for the start of the session.

The PLS program requires all PLS participants (Scholars, staff, and faculty) to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as defined by the CDC (As of 4/19/23- Initial Series and Booster is required). All PLS participants must also agree to comply with other requirements, such as wearing masks, if the program deems necessary. The PLS program team will monitor CDC recommendations throughout the duration of the program as the safety of all participants is our top priority Applicants accepted into the program will be kept informed if there are any changes to these requirements.

Will I be required to miss any days of work for the program?
PLS was designed so that participants could remain in their jobs while in the program, but you will be required to participate in every Module in its entirety.  We encourage you to discuss the schedule and participation requirements with your employer and ensure their support for the schedule that is required of participants. View the Program Schedule.


Is there an application fee?
No, there are zero financial costs associated with applying to the PLS program.

What is the cost to attend?
The four presidential centers are committed to offering this opportunity to leaders across the country, regardless of their financial means. To honor this commitment, program tuition, housing, meals, and travel during the course sessions in the host city are funded in full by contributions from foundations, individuals, and corporations.

What specific travel costs are covered?
The program provides domestic air transportation (when applicable), ground transportation, hotel lodging, and meals during all modules.

Are there travel costs that are not covered?
Scholars are responsible for the costs of transportation to and from the airport and airport parking, if applicable, in the participant’s home city. Meals consumed before or outside of the modules specific dates and times are not covered. At the beginning of each Module, each scholar is expected to provide a credit card for incidental charges at each hotel.


Is there an age minimum or maximum for participants?
The minimum age for participants is 21. While there is no maximum age, most Scholars have 10+ years of professional experience and are at a point in their careers where their participation and the lessons learned in PLS will be able to be put into practice for many years to come.

If I have less than 10 years of experience, can I still apply?
Exceptionally qualified candidates with less than 10 years of experience will be considered for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program. View Who Should Apply.

Is a college degree necessary to qualify for consideration?

What are the citizenship requirements to be considered for the program?
To be considered for the PLS program, all applicants must fit one of the following criteria regarding citizenship and country of residence:
– A citizen of the United States living and working in the country;
– A citizen of the United States living and working outside of the country, but who can pay for all non-domestic costs associated with traveling to each module;
– A legal resident of the United States living and working in the country.

Application and Selection

Why should I apply to be a Presidential Leadership Scholar?
The PLS Program intends to take your leadership skills and your career to the next level. As a Scholar, you will become a part of the growing PLS network of alumni, fellow Scholars, faculty, and presidential administration alumni that can be future collaborators and advocates of your work.

What is required in the application?
Each applicant is required to complete the application form, upload the required documentation, and submit two references for consideration.

How many references are required?
Two references are required.  Recommenders are asked to fill out a short form outlining your leadership experiences and how this program would benefit you.

How should I choose my references?
Choose people who know you well and can speak to your leadership abilities as well as your commitment and drive for your work and your project. A recommendation from a celebrity or government leader that cannot speak about actual experiences with you and your work will not strengthen your application. Please be sure to check with your recommenders to ensure they are willing to write a recommendation before listing them on the application.  Additionally, be sure to provide accurate contact information for them as we may contact them throughout the selection process. Applications that do not have two submitted recommendations by the deadline will be considered incomplete and will not be eligible for review.

Am I able to upload a letter of recommendation?
We are unable to accept letters of recommendation outside of the application platform. Once the information of your recommender is submitted, the PLS program will notify your recommender of your request for their recommendation. They will receive an electronic form to be submitted. If you have previously applied and would like to use your same recommender, please have them fill out this year’s electronic form when they receive it. We are not able to transfer a recommendation from year to year.

I have applied previously, but was not accepted. Should I apply again?
Yes and please keep in mind that there are relatively few spots for many highly qualified applicants. If you are still committed to the program, please reapply. We are unable to reuse your application from year to year. Applicants interested in applying for the class must reapply with this year’s application.

When are Scholars chosen and notified? 
Following a thorough review of each application, we will invite a group of applicants to interview for final selection into the program. Finalists will be notified by mid-September if they have been invited to participate in the interview process. Interviews will be conducted via videoconference in October, and final acceptance decisions will be made before the end of December.


Can I nominate a scholar for consideration?
While nominations are not accepted, applications are open to anyone.  Even so, you are encouraged to share information on the program with candidates you believe are well qualified.