Cullen Scholars

Students seeking a unique and rewarding academic experience provided by Erie County’s private schools have an exciting opportunity. Cullen Foundation seeks to assist families of high-achieving students in mitigating the financial challenges of attaining a private middle school and high school education through our Cullen Scholars program.

Cullen Foundation believes that access to high quality education is critical for individual and community success. To this end, we provide an opportunity to a select group of high-performing students entering grade 6 to attend a private school in the BISON Scholarship Fund network (Erie County only). Cullen Scholars also participate in Buffalo Prep, which provides access and preparation for talented underrepresented youth to achieve success in college preparatory high schools and higher education.

Our program provides access to private schools for students of color from low-income households. We offer this opportunity to high-achieving students while increasing the diversity of experience for all private school students. Cullen Scholars are selected based on academic achievement, financial need and character.

Download a one-page program overview here.



The Cullen Scholars program partners with local education organizations to provide financial, administrative and support services to students accepted as Cullen Scholars:


Buffalo Prep Logo


Bison Logo



Cullen Foundation has established the following eligibility criteria for applicants:

  • Must be a 5th grade student, in good standing, with a "B" average or above who is entering 6th grade in the 2024/2025 school year.
  • Student’s family meets household income criteria - see chart.
  • Student must be an Erie County resident.
  • Student will be required to participate in Buffalo Prep.
  • Student must be a person of color.

Middle School Scholarships
Annual Income Eligibility Scale for 2024-2025 School Year
(Maximum Income Based on Total Annual 2022 Income)

Household Size Maximum Income
2 $49,437
3 $62,181
4 $74,925
5 $87,669
6 $100,413
7 $113,157
8 $125,901


Scholarship Award

Scholarships are partial and renewable for up to seven years while student attends a BISON or EdCo school, contingent on meeting our academic and financial criteria each year. For the 2024-2025 school year, Cullen Foundation will grant scholarship awards as follows:

  • The award for Middle School Scholars in 2024-2025 will cover base tuition up to $4,050 and a technology and activity stipend of $250 annually.
  • The award for High School Scholars in 2024-2025 will cover base tuition up to $12,750 and a technology and activity stipend of $500 annually.

Payment is made directly to the BISON Fund or EdCo school.

Please note that scholars are responsible for paying or securing support for remaining tuition costs. Additionally, there is a $150 supply fee for each Buffalo Prep summer program following 6th, 7th and 8th grade which will be the responsibility of the scholarship recipient. Buffalo Prep will work with families who may experience financial difficulties with regards to these fees.

If the applicant student is awarded and accepts a Cullen Scholarship, they will be INELIGIBLE for BISON Scholarship Funding.

Learn more about what Cullen Scholars say about participation in Buffalo Prep here.


Application and Process

All applications are completed online using the following link: The application portal is now closed.

  • A school or parent/guardian or other individual may nominate 5th grade students for a middle school scholarship to begin in 6th grade of the 2024-2025 school year.
  • Scholarships are partial and renewable, contingent on meeting our academic and financial criteria each year through 12th grade.
  • Parents and students will be required to sign a contract that outlines the family’s responsibilities.
  • All scholarship recipients are required to take part in the following Buffalo Prep programs which take place during the school year and in the summer (click each link for schedule, curriculum and other information); or download a brief overview here.
  • A committee comprised of community volunteers reviews the applications and chooses the scholarship winners.
  • Click Here to learn what is needed, in order to complete a Cullen Scholars Application.

Important Dates

The Scholarship application is now closed.

Apply Online

The Application portal is now closed.