Outer Banks Community Foundation now accepting scholarship applications; $200,000 available in 2023

Cape Hatteras Secondary School graduates Johan Palofax Briones (Class of ’21) and Jose Briones Avila (Class of ’22), with parents and Community Foundation CEO Chris Sawin. Both students received Stewart Couch Memorial Scholarship awards to help cover college costs. [Outer Banks Community Foundation/Submitted]

The Outer Banks Community Foundation will begin accepting online scholarship applications on Monday, February 6, 2023. The deadline to complete all application requirements is 11:59 pm, Monday, March 6, 2023.

Applicants begin the process at obcf.org, which has instructions and links to the Community Foundation’s online application portal. One application provides access to all available scholarships for all high school seniors, returning students, and Dare Guarantee graduates. 

The Community Foundation administers 44 scholarships and manages 66 different scholarship programs. The Community Foundation expects to award approximately $200,000 to local students this year. Graduating high school seniors and returning applicants from Dare County, Currituck County, and Ocracoke are eligible to apply online. 

Scholarships range from one-time awards of $1,000 to four-year awards totaling $24,000. One completed application allows students to be considered for all Community Foundation-administered scholarships based on specified program criteria.

“We have scholarships for a huge diversity of students,” said Chris Sawin, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Art majors, nurses, firefighters, journalism students, tennis players, math majors, law enforcement majors, community college and vocational students — all are encouraged to apply. Scholarship opportunities continue to grow, thanks to the generosity of local donors and the power of the endowment.”

Five new renewable scholarships are available in 2023: The Best Family Scholarship is geared toward students entering math, science, or technical fields; the Irene Nolan Memorial Scholarship Fund focuses on journalism and English majors; the Gayle Grinstead Memorial Scholarship is geared toward STEM majors; the Jeannette U. McOwen Memorial Scholarship Fund is for graduating Dare Guarantee students pursuing careers in education; and the SAGA Community Focus Scholarship is geared for building construction and engineering majors or related trade programs.

Though many of the Community Foundation’s scholarships are merit-based, a majority of awards consider financial need. For the need-based awards, students must 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.

“We encourage students to begin the application process early,” said Nandy Stuart, Community Foundation Chief Operating Officer and Scholarship Manager. “Applications must be received before midnight on March 6. Students who begin the process late risk not having their Student Aid Report and necessary recommendation letters in time. Late applications, unfortunately, are not accepted. The Outer Banks Community Foundation has scholarships for everyone, so be sure to apply now!”

The Community Foundation partners with College of the Albemarle (COA), Manteo Rotary Club, Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, and DareArts to offer additional, diverse vocational and continuing education scholarships, including for graduating high school seniors and adults of all ages and backgrounds. OBCF.org has more information on how to apply for these scholarship opportunities.

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 school’s Senior Awards Night in April and May.