Oprah Winfrey has announced the launch of a new scholarship program, and surprised 15 students by revealing they’ll each receive four-year scholarships to attend their dream universities.

Launched through the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, the four-year Oprah Winfrey Leaders Scholarship is “designed to provide academically gifted students from diverse backgrounds around the country the opportunity to attend the college or university of their dreams,” notes the official announcement.

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A “rigorous application process” was undertaken to identify “15 students who have shown academic excellence while demonstrating leadership in their communities,” who were then selected to receive four-year scholarships starting in the fall of 2021.

Earlier this summer, Winfrey herself surprised the scholarship recipients during a virtual call to reveal the news that they’d been selected, in addition to “offering personal guidance and wisdom” to the students as they prepare to begin their postsecondary journeys.

“I am where I am today because of education and the support of teachers throughout my life,” said Winfrey in a statement. “I am honoured to support these students who have shown high achievement in their academic studies, but more importantly a commitment to their communities. These young leaders bring me hope for our future, and I look forward to watching each of them flourish.”

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According to the announcement, the Oprah Winfrey Leaders Scholarship (OWLS) program “supports academically gifted students who demonstrate leadership in their communities. The scholarship awards students with educational support to become future leaders. Beyond providing scholarship assistance, OWLS creates a network between the students and offers unique access to speakers and thought leaders in various fields. This network is designed to offer insight, inspiration, and mentor support to encourage the OWLS throughout their academic journeys and beyond. Scholarships are funded by the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, with collaboration from the Herrendorf Family Foundation.”