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Outer Banks Community Foundation now accepting scholarship applications

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

OBCF 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 OBCF’s 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, OBCF executive director. “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 OBCF’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 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 OBCF’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 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.”

OBCF 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 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 OBCF by calling 252-261-8839.

All senior high school scholarship recipients will be announced at their schools’ senior awards night in May and June.

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