The number of high school students around the world who are enrolled in the International Baccalaureate diploma program continues to grow, and Northern Arizona University is rolling out a new scholarship to attract and award these high achievers.

NAU President John Haeger recently announced the President’s International Baccalaureate Scholarship, to be awarded beginning this fall. Students who earn a diploma through the outcome-based IB program are eligible for the $5,000 annual award for tuition, which is renewable for four years of undergraduate studies.

“The International Baccalaureate program is arduous and demanding, and we commend the schools that are equipped to offer such high level courses,” Haeger said. “High-achieving graduates of this program choose to continue their education at Northern Arizona University because it is known for academic excellence, research opportunities and a sense of community.”

Seven IB graduates are set to begin classes in the fall as freshmen at NAU, including four Arizona residents and one international student. Their majors vary from forestry, social work and elementary education to marketing and international affairs.

Sixteen Arizona high schools offer the IB diploma program.

Established in the 1960s at an international school in Switzerland, the IB program is designed to provide students with a well-rounded preparation for college coursework while incorporating a global perspective and intercultural understanding. Differing from other advanced placement programs, IB requires students commit their junior and senior year to a full curriculum that includes English and a foreign language, experiential science, math, social science and theory of knowledge. Students also are required to write a 4,000-word research paper, deliver oral presentations and perform community service.

Student knowledge is measured with written exams administered by external IB examiners at the end of the program.

“It is essential that high-achieving students recognize our state universities as an avenue to their future, whether they are residents or nonresidents,” Haeger said. “Arizona must remain competitive in an ever-changing global economy. The International Baccalaureate diploma program prepares students through rigorous coursework to become the entrepreneurs, researchers, educators and inventors who will move this state forward.”