Qualified applicants for the John Cowan Memorial Scholarship must: be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student in a post-secondary educational institution within the State of Kansas; be enrolled in coursework that is necessary to begin a career in a geography-based profession; and demonstrate that geography or a geography-related career is the major focus of their higher education goals. In addition, though not required, it's preferred that applicants have a 3.25 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and have had employment or an internship in a geography-related field.
Students who have won a John Cowan Memorial Scholarship in a previous year are allowed to reapply for consideration in successive years as long as they still meet the mandatory requirements. John Cowan was passionate and outgoing about the importance of geographic knowledge. The JCM scholarship was established in January 2012 to symbolically carry on his enthusiasm by providing financial assistance to those pursuing higher education in geography.