Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars

RIT is proud to offer the Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars program to graduates of the Rochester City School District and approved charter schools who are admitted as freshman to full-time study in baccalaureate programs at the university. This scholarship program covers full tuition at RIT.

Scholars will be expected to participate in a fully-funded on-campus enrichment program that begins in the summer prior to the start of their freshman year. During this time, scholars can earn up to six college credits. Additionally, through the academic year, scholars will participate in one-on-one weekly meetings with a Coach in the Multicultural Center for Academic Success (MCAS) along with receiving support, guidance and access to the already rich campus resources that are available.


  • Students must live in the city of Rochester and attend an approved high school within the district for the last three years of high school.
  • Students must graduate from an approved high school and enroll at RIT in the fall semester after graduation.
  • Students must apply for admission and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by January 15th, for guaranteed consideration. The $65 application fee is waived for RCSD students.
  • The student’s total annual family income (including taxed and untaxed income) must not exceed $66,000.
  • Students must be accepted through RIT’s regular admissions standards and maintain full-time status at RIT.
  • The high school counselor must complete and return the Student Eligibility Certification form to the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

DDI Summer Experience

Students admitted to the RIT/RCSD Scholarship Program are provided an exceptional opportunity to participate in a fully funded, residential DDI Summer Experience program. The DDI Summer Experience program features include access to personalized one-on-one academic coaching, academic skill enhancement, a strong support network and the opportunity to earn up to six RIT college credits.


“There was a point in time where I thought college wasn’t for me. I would look at the outrageous tuition rates and think that I would never be able to afford that. Being accepted into the Rochester City Scholars gave me an opportunity to go to an amazing college while assisting me financially. Not only was there financial support, I was given access to a wide network of people that have helped me academically. I also participated in the Summer Bridge program that has helped me get ready for the college workload. With this opportunity, there is no limit for what I can achieve.” - Carlos Villegas ’19

“After only one year at RIT, I know that this is my home. Because of the amazing support from MCAS (Multicultural Center for Academic Success) and most certainly from the Rochester City Scholars Initiative, my college experience has been unparalleled, with help at every corner for almost any problem I may face. Since finishing my first semester, I have achieved a higher GPA than I would ever have expected, met some of the most wonderful people I have ever known, and realized what I am truly capable of accomplishing. Thanks to the Rochester City Scholars initiative, all of this became a financial possibility for me and my family! I look forward to seeing where I’ll go next here at RIT, and what new possibilities will become realities in my future. I know that when I graduate, I will be a young professional, fully prepared for the life ahead of me. Thank you, RCS Initiative, and thank you, RIT!” - Elaine Dolan ’19