Applications being accepted for ESF scholarships

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Deserving students who need help financing college have an opportunity to chip away at the cost of their post-secondary education.

High school seniors and college students are encouraged to apply for scholarships valued at as much as $2,000 through the Etowah Scholarship Foundation.

The nonprofit organization will be accepting applications online at www.etowah.org/scholarships until Monday, April 1, at 5 p.m.

Serving students from Bartow County, the foundation distributes college scholarships based on need and/or merit on behalf of local businesses, corporations, individuals, churches and civic groups.

“Students and families of Bartow County are very fortunate to have a resource such as this to help offset the ever-increasing cost of college,” ESF Operations Director Dawn Evans said. “I would encourage all high school seniors and college students who were graduates of a school located in Bartow County to apply. We also invite nontraditional students who have been a Bartow County resident for three years or more to apply as well.”

To be eligible, an applicant must be a Bartow County high school senior or current college student who graduated from a Bartow County high school or a home-schooled, GED or nontraditional student with three years residency in Bartow County who is or will be enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college, university or technical school during the current academic year.

Besides the online application, high school students must submit an official transcript obtained and signed by their guidance counseling office, a copy of their ACT and/or SAT scores, a 500-word essay outlining their educational/career goals, a copy of one post-secondary letter of acceptance and a copy of the current FAFSA student aid report for those applying for need-based scholarships.

College students must submit an official transcript and copy of their 2019 spring semester schedule proving full-time status, a 500-word essay and a copy of the current FAFSA SAR if applying for need-based scholarships. 

Most scholarships are for $1,000, “but we have a few at $1,500 and $2,000,” Evans said.

“It’s important to note that there is only one application for students to fill out,” she said. “The selection committee will match the best candidate with the criteria given to us by the donors using the applicants’ entries. The students will have a chance to express how a scholarship would impact them and explain their future aspirations in the required essay.” 

She also added a new application management software program has been put in place that will make it easier for students to login and navigate through the application and will give the selection committee – made up of anonymous volunteers – an “up-to-date system for choosing the recipients.”

In 2018, the foundation received about 350 applications and awarded 230 scholarships totaling $240,000, Evans said.

“We have made progress on ‘closing the gap’ between the number of applicants each year and the number of scholarships awarded,” she said. “In fact, in 2018, we awarded the most scholarships in our entire history. But the need still exists and is ongoing for more students to be helped every year.”

Evans also said the foundation expects to be able to award about the same total amount of scholarships “if not more this year” due to increased fundraising efforts and sponsor support this past year.

“[Community support has] been incredibly generous,” she said. “At our most recent fundraisers, we raised over $20,000 in scholarship dollars to be awarded this year. This community sees the value in education and supports our local youth in so many ways. We appreciate the commitment we receive from our donors and sponsors.”

Foundation staff members will be visiting each of the four high schools in Bartow County to help students get started on the application, Evans said.

“We do not have any dates lined up yet, but it will be in February and early March,” she said.

Students who need assistance before then can call the foundation at 770-382-1757 or email questions to info@etowah.org.

Winners will be notified in May and will be invited to the Scholarship Announcement Ceremony on Thursday, May 30. They can claim their checks after July 1.

Anyone who is interested in sponsoring a scholarship should visit the foundation website to learn about the process or call the foundation office.

“It’s fairly easy to set up an annual scholarship or an endowment,” Evans said.

Since its inception in 1982, ESF has distributed more than $6 million to more than 7,000 Cartersville and Bartow County students, according to its website.