Outer Banks Community Foundation now accepting scholarship applications

2020 First Flight High School Senior Judy Williams went to college this year armed with several scholarships, including the Milton A. Jewell Academic Scholarship, a four-year renewable award with a potential $24,000 benefit. [Photo courtesy Judy Williams]

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications on its website: www.obcf.org. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m., Saturday, March 20.

The Community Foundation manages 55 different scholarship programs and expects to award about $178,000 to local students this year. Graduating high school seniors from Dare County, Currituck County, and Ocracoke are eligible to apply online. Non-traditional students also are eligible to apply for several scholarships, through our partnership with College of the Albemarle. 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, nurses, firefighters, journalism students, tennis players, math majors, law enforcement majors, community college students, vocational students, and more — all are encouraged to apply.”

Applicants begin the process at www.obcf.org, which has a link to the Community Foundation’s online scholarship portal. This year, the application is very simple—one application for all scholarships, for all high school seniors.

“The Community Foundation is trying something new this year, one common application for ALL high school seniors,” said Ms. Costa. “That means that the student only has to complete one form once. We are hopeful that by simplifying the process, more students will be encouraged to apply.”

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 20 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.”

The Community Foundation partners with College of the Albemarle (COA) to offer additional, diverse vocational and continuing education scholarships for students of all ages, including graduating high school seniors and adults of all ages and backgrounds.

Those awards include the Billy G. Roughton Memorial Scholarship for Medical Professions, which awards students pursuing studies related to medical professions, 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 Scholarship, which helps 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 us at 252-261-8839.

All senior high school scholarship recipients will be announced at their schools’ Senior Awards Night in May and June.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization that connects people who care with causes that matter. Based in a historic flat top cottage in Southern Shores, the Community Foundation manages $22 million across 200 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, awards grants to local nonprofits, administers 55 scholarship programs, and provides tailored services to help donors pursue their charitable interests. Since its inception in 1982, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $11 million in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students.