Explore a variety of scholarships offered to students of optometry
The 2022 Practice Excellence Scholarship winners at Academy in San Diego, California
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. Learn about the 2022 Practice Excellence Scholarship winners here.
Congratulations to the 2022 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!
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.
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.
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.
2022 UC Berkeley School of Optometry Student Innovator Award Winner: Baldemar Torres, Class of 2025
Baldemar won for his innovative idea, “OPTOlingual,” an app that empowers ODs to better treat and serve their diverse patients. The app guides an optometrist to complete the confirmation sequence, an essential part of an eye exam, for their foreign monolingual patients.
2022 Ohio State School of Optometry Student Innovator Award Winner: Dr. Richard Wan, OD, MS, Class of 2022
Dr. Wan, who graduated on May 15, won by creating AR-Optical, an innovative initiative that aims to leverage augmented reality technology to improve the patient experience and quality of care in the optical space. 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.
(L-R) Stephanie Ganiban, VSP, Alyssa Muha, 2022 Vision of Hope Scholarship Winner, and Michael Bacigalupi, OD, Dean of Kentucky College of Optometry
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.
2022 Winner: Congratulations Alyssa Muha, University of Pikeville-Kentucky, Class of 2025
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:
2023 Winner: Congratulations Aubry Tackett, University of Missouri – Northeastern State University, Oklahoma, College of Optometry, Class of 2023 Aubry won for demonstrating how she excels in the four areas listed above. Learn more about her and the award here.
The VSP Premier Edge Student Business Challenge is a 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 VSP Premier Edge Student Business Challenge asks applicants to submit a business plan that describes their professional and personal plan to private practice ownership. One optometry student will be awarded one (1) $10,000 scholarship, plus a travel grant to the annual SOLN Conference. In addition, two (2) runners-up will be awarded $5,000 each, plus each will receive a travel grant to the annual SOLN Conference.
• 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.
• APME judges will evaluate and select the top three candidates, who will be contacted to present their business plans at the 2023 SOLN Conference where the official winner will be announced.
• The deadline to apply is March 31, 2023.
2022 Winner: Congratulations Makayla Warden, Kentucky College of Optometry, Class of 2024
Makayla won for her passion for serving her community. Learn more about Makayla and the award here.