VSP Scholarship Program

Explore a variety of scholarships offered to students of optometry

VSP Scholarship Program

Explore a variety of scholarships offered to students of optometry

Enroll today

Pictured: A few of the 2021 Practice Excellence Scholarship winners at Academy in Boston 2021.

Practice Excellence Scholarship

Each year, through the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), VSP® awards up to $4,000 each to two fourth-year students at each institution of optometry in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Each winner receives scholarship money and a travel grant to attend the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) annual meeting.

Recipients must be a student member of the AAO. Each institution’s Awards and Scholarship committee selects a pool of five business-minded students who meet the clinical and academic standards, and then choose two scholarship recipients.

Students can contact their school’s financial aid office to learn more about VSP’s commitment to the AAO scholarship program.

Congratulations to the 2021 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients. Learn more about the recipients and scholarship here.

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Dr. Marvin R. Poston Leadership Awards

Congratulations to the 2021 Dr. Marvin R. Poston Leadership Award recipients who received scholarships for demonstrating leadership and service in the optometry profession and making a commitment to a future career in private practice!

  • OD-1: Melisa Philogene, Illinois College of Optometry, Class of 2024
  • OD-2: Sophia Johnson, State University of New York College of Optometry, Class of 2023
  • OD-3: Claudia Amaniampong, University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science, Class of 2022
  • OD-4: Raymond Farmer, State University of New York College of Optometry, Class of 2021
  • Executive Board: Walter Jackson, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, Class of 2021

VSP Vision™ is proud to continue this award in collaboration with the National Optometric Association (NOA). Each year, five optometry students are awarded $4,000 scholarships.

  • Recipients receive $4,000 in financial aid.
  • One scholarship is awarded per cohort (first year, second year, etc.).

To apply for the scholarship, eligible candidates must create and submit a short video about themselves, their experience, and what drives them towards a path to private practice optometry. Additionally, candidates must be an active member of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA), a business-minded student who is preparing for a career in private practice, and have a commitment to an optometry career or leadership service.

2022 winners will be announced at the 2022 NOA Convention in Anaheim, CA.

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Student Innovator Award

This award is designed to recognize creative, innovative, and feasible ideas in the areas of clinical eye care, research, and practice management, among others that will impact the optical industry. Each year, VSP partners with the Rick Bay Foundation and provides this scholarship to one UC Berkeley School of Optometry student and one Ohio State University College of Optometry student.

The winner receives $5,000 and will receive their award at the Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit. To date, this foundation has awarded $70,000 to outstanding optometric students.

2021 Berkeley Student Innovator Award Winner: Congratulations Peter Ji, UC Berkeley, Class of 2023
Peter won for his innovative presentation, “Auto Trial Lens Demo.” Learn more about his winning presentation here.

2021 Ohio State Student Innovator Award Winner: Congratulations Jacob Shipton, OD, Ohio State University, Class of 2021
Dr. Shipton won for his idea, “Eye-Bridge,” which aims to improve patient comfort and clinician experience during the slit lamp step in comprehensive eye examinations. Learn more about his winning presentation here.

UC Berkeley School of Optometry and Ohio State University College of Optometry students can contact their school’s financial aid office to learn more.

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(L-R) Josephine Ibironke, OD, MPH, FAAO, Assistant Dean for Student & Professional Development, Stephanie Ganiban, VSP, Alexus Cline, 2021 Vision of Hope Scholarship Winner, and Michael Bacigalupi, OD Dean of Kentucky College of Optometry.

The Vision of Hope Scholarship

This scholarship is intended for a student from the Appalachian region who is committed to practicing in the Appalachian region and provide care to an underserved patient population during their optometric career.

This $5,000 Vision of Hope Scholarship is given to an incoming optometry student at the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) at the University of Pikeville to assist their optometric education. Selection is completed by KYCO Faculty’s Scholarship and Awards Committee.

VSP and KYCO are committed to improving patient access to care from great eye doctors. See what Michael Bacigalupi, OD, MS, FAAO (Dean of Kentucky College of Optometry) said about this award and its support of their mission.

KYCO students can connect with the KYCO Faculty’s Scholarship and Awards Committee to learn more.

Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship

In partnership with Heart of America Eye Care Congress, this scholarship was created in 2019 in honor of optometrist Dr. Frank D. Fontana, also known as “Uncle Frank”. After a storied career, Dr. Fontana leaves an unmatched legacy behind as a colleague, mentor, and friend to so many. Awarded annually, the recipient will receive $4,250 in scholarship money and a $750 travel grant to attend Heart of America’s Eye Care Congress Conference.

Open to third- and fourth-year optometry students actively engaged in patient care, applicants are judged in four areas in which Dr. Fontana excelled:

  1. Clinical performance 
  2. Empathetic patient care
  3. Ability and interest to adopt modern technologies
  4. A strong interest in developing and participating in the optometry community  

2022 Winner: Congratulations Brendan Mulqueeny, University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Optometry, Class of 2022
Brendan won for demonstrating how he excels in the four areas listed above. Learn more about him and about the award here.

Premier Program Student Business Challenge

The VSP Vision Premier Program Student Business Challenge is a new scholarship opportunity for optometry students interested in a path to private practice ownership. In collaboration with the Association of Practice Management Educators (APME) and Student Optometric Leadership Network (SOLN), the Premier Program Student Business Challenge asks applicants to submit a business plan and timeline that describes their unique professional and personal pathway to owning a private practice.

  • One optometry student will be awarded one (1) $10,000 scholarship, plus a travel grant to the annual SOLN Conference. In addition, three (3) runners-up will be awarded $5,000 each, plus each will receive a travel grant to the annual SOLN Conference.
  • APME judges will evaluate and select the top four candidates, who will be contacted to present their business plans at the 2022 SOLN Conference where the official winner will be announced.
  • Applicants must be a current student attending one of the 24 schools or colleges of optometry with a SOLN-affiliated Private Practice Club. They must also be an active Private Practice Club board member representative from their school of optometry.
  • The deadline to apply was March 31, 2022. The winner will be announced at the 2022 SOLN Conference in New Orleans, LA.

Upcoming scholarship information will be added here once announced.