Many Santa Barbara organizations actively work to provide academic opportunities to local students. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Storyteller Children’s Center, and the Santa Barbara Bowl, among others, offer great programs for students to learn fundamental life skills and gain exposure to unique and exciting opportunities. Another key area institution is the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, which help local students to afford higher education. This year, the organization offered nearly 3,000 scholarships totaling $8.7 million.
Core Programs for Santa Barbara Students
At the heart of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara is its mission to provide students in need with access to scholarships that put vocational, technical, or undergraduate education within reach. In addition, the organization provides scholarships for medical school, graduate school, and other professional programs. In order to be eligible for the scholarship programs, students should have attended at least four of the six years between grades 7 and 12 and graduated from a high school in Santa Barbara County. Students who receive their GEDs from area schools are also eligible to participate, as are home-schooled students provided that the student’s family lives in the county and files an affidavit of approval with the Santa Barbara County Education Office. In order to receive a scholarship, students must attend a Title IV approved school.
Scholarships are only a portion of the services offered by the foundation to area students. Both students and their families have access to financial aid advising at no cost. This year, more than 45,000 families received guidance from the foundation to figure out ways to finance students’ education. During meetings, representatives of the foundation discuss the various grants, scholarships, and federal and state aid available to pay for educational programs. Meetings are held on a one-on-one basis, and the foundation also holds group workshops through nearby schools, businesses, and community organizations. Advising services are offered in both English and Spanish.
Specialty Scholarships for Certain Students
In addition to its general scholarships, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara works with area businesses to offer a wide range of specialty grants. For example, some employers offer scholarships programs for employees and their children. In some cases, spouses are also eligible. Employers include Valle Verde, Senior Planning Services, Hardy Diagnostics, Casa Dorinda, and Vista del Monte. Employees of these companies can find out more information about the respective programs through their human resources representatives. Students who meet general eligibility requirements should complete the general application and indicate employment eligibility.
Students interested in pursuing an arts education can apply for the Art Competition Scholarship Program. The program is open to high school seniors in Carpinteria, Goleta, and Santa Barbara schools who want to major in art or a related field. The program includes a competition in which students are judged based on their art portfolios. The competition takes place in the winter of the applicants’ senior year, and financial need is not a requirement.
Individuals with a strong academic record can apply for the Honors Scholarship Program, which does not take financial need into consideration. In order to compete, applicants must have a clear record of achievement, including a weighted grade point average above 4.2 and an SAT score above the national average. This program is only open to students studying at Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, and Goleta schools
Another specialty scholarship program is the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Heritage Scholarship Program. The need-based scholarship is open to applicants with a verified lineal descent from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Applicants for this scholarship do not need to meet the requirements of the general scholarship program, but are encouraged to apply and indicate their lineage.
Ways to Support Santa Barbara’s Young Scholars
The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara largely operates through the support of local donors. One-hundred percent of all donations go directly to supporting scholarships or programs. Donors can make an unrestricted gift, meaning that the money goes wherever it is most needed, or they can specify that they wish to support advising programs, the general scholarship, or other initiatives. The foundation maintains ties with area businesses and encourages corporate. Individuals may also donate a vehicle or a boat to the organization.
One of the most exciting ways to give is to establish an annual or endowed scholarship fund. The foundation has set up these funds on behalf of civic groups, individuals, families, businesses, and other foundations. When individuals or groups pledge to give at least $2,500 annually, they can establish a name for the fund and create preferred criteria for choosing student recipients. Every year, donors receive a letter describing those students who received a scholarship.
The foundation also maintains The Scholars Circle, a legacy society for planned giving. Individuals can learn more about planned giving opportunities and how to get involved through other donations on the foundation’s website, SBScholarship.org.