The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications on its website: www.obcf.org. The application deadline is 11:59 pm, Sunday, March 31.
The Community Foundation manages 50 different scholarship programs and expects to award about $170,000 to local students this year. Graduating high school seniors from Dare County, Currituck County, and Ocracoke are eligible to apply. Scholarships range from one-time awards of $1,000, to four-year awards totaling $24,000.
“We have scholarships for a huge diversity of students,” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Art majors, golfers, firefighters, journalism students, tennis players, math majors, law enforcement majors, community college students, vocational students, and more — all are encouraged to apply.”
Several scholarships are for Hatteras Island students exclusively, including the Scott Day Scholarship, the Stewart Couch Scholarship, the Inez Daniels Austin Scholarship, the Wayne Fulcher Scholarship, the Greg and Eden Honeycutt Scholarship, and—new in 2019—the Josephine Oden Scholarship.
Applicants begin the process at www.obcf.org by completing a short questionnaire, which quickly and easily directs them to the scholarships for which they’re eligible.
“The Community Foundation uses a common application,” said Ms. Costa, “which means that the student only has to complete the form once. Then all of his or her information carries forward to all subsequent applications.”
“You really only have to revise your essay, if necessary, for the individual awards,” she said, “which is a huge time-saver for applicants—and for the teachers who are writing letters of recommendation.”
Though many of the Community Foundation’s scholarships are merit-based, the majority of awards consider financial need. For the need-based awards, students are required to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and upload the resulting Student Aid Report into their application. Students whose citizenship status prevents their completion of a FAFSA (e.g., DACA students) may still be considered for need-based awards and should talk to their guidance counselors for instruction.
“If I could give one tip to every applicant, it would be: Start early!” said Ms. Costa. “Please don’t wait until March 31 to begin your application. We have a strict deadline, and if you start too late, you might not get your recommendation letters and Student Aid Report in time.”
This year the Community Foundation is launching four new scholarship programs. The Elizabeth and Wayne Evans Scholarship is a renewable award for nursing students from the Outer Banks with demonstrated financial need. The Josephine Oden Scholarship is for students from Hatteras Island; it is also a renewable, need-based award.
The Howell Revier Shearouse Scholarship is another renewable award, and it is for any student from Dare County with financial need who plans to attend a public college or university in North Carolina. The Shearouse Scholarship is particularly looking for students with a work history through high school and college. Finally, the Rex Sample Scholarship, in memory of the late First Flight Middle School teacher and coach, is for student athletes from First Flight High School who have overcome adversity.
The Community Foundation partners with College of the Albemarle (COA) to offer many other, diverse vocational and continuing education scholarships, including the First Flight Society Scholarship, which supports students in the field of aviation systems technology, the Joe Riddick Scholarship, which supports students in the construction field, and the Tom and Peggy O’Brien Scholarships, which help students from Currituck County in the building trades. Interested students should contact COA to apply for these college-specific awards.
Scholarship funds have been generously donated from individuals, families, businesses, nonprofits, civic groups, and government agencies to help local students pursue higher education. Any community member can establish a scholarship fund with the Community Foundation by calling Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839.
All scholarship winners will be announced at their schools’ Senior Awards Night in May and June.