Post-Secondary Education Scholarships

For Graduating High School Seniors and Adults Going Back to School

 Educational Awards at the Polk County Community Foundation begin with the passion of donors who create and contribute to our scholarship funds. Their philanthropic desires are put into action through a variety of awards that support students in our community who wish to further their education past high school.

Awards are given on a competitive basis to those individuals who intend to continue their education or training at a recognized college, university, technical, vocational, or other accredited post-secondary educational institution. We have awards for high school seniors and adults returning to school. Many of our awards for graduating high school seniors are merit-based and do not require financial need. All awards for adults going back to school require financial need.

Scholarships are awarded in a competitive application process by the Scholarship Committee of the Community Foundation in accordance with the donor's criteria. The criteria for these scholarships are listed in the Kirby Handbook of Polk County Area Scholarships, a booklet published annually by the Foundation.

Scholarship Committee members are volunteers from our community who are screened to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. The committee works hard to match the unique talents and accomplishments of students with the criteria established by the donors. The committee is responsible for reviewing all complete applications before meeting to make award decisions, which are then reviewed and approved by the Board.

The process for awarding scholarships is always competitive, with more applications being received than awards available. The first step towards receiving a scholarship is to submit a complete application. To treat all applicants equally, our policies dictate that any error made in completing your application according to the directions prevents it from being considered on its merits. You are encouraged to contact the Director of Grants at the Community Foundation well in advance of the deadline to review your application and certify that it is complete and submitted on time.

Increased donor gifts now allow the Foundation to award approximately $300,000 each year to to qualified graduating high school seniors and adults going back to school. All scholarships are a minimum of $1,000 and are awarded based on criteria established by donors and the Foundation's Board of Directors to recognize the unique needs, interests, and accomplishments of students. For example, some scholarships are awarded to top students while some are for students who have demonstrated hard work or a desire to pursue certain areas of study. Other awards are designed for students who wish to pursue career training that will enable them to live, work, and prosper in our community. The Foundation values all students and their potential to contribute to the well-being of our community.

Please see the current application for details and additional information.





For more information about these scholarships, download a copy of the Foundation's Kirby Handbook of Polk County Area Scholarships or contact us.


Duke TIP Summer Studies Scholarships

For Eligible Students to Attend Summer Camp Programs through Duke University's Talent Identification Program

The Merit Award for Duke TIP Summer Studies is a scholarship awarded from time to time by the Polk County Community Foundation to academically gifted students in our community whose high SAT scores have qualified them for Duke University's Talent Identification Program. The Summer Studies programs are three-week camps held on college campuses where rising middle and high school students take advanced level courses and live with peers from many other states. Local Polk County and Landrum students who are accepted into certain Summer Studies Programs may qualify for a full tuition scholarship. Please contact us regarding eligibility and application details. More information about Duke TIP is available by visiting the Duke TIP website.

 Read MoreFoundation Funds Duke TIP, Education Investments (January, 2018)


AFS Study Abroad Scholarships

For Local High School Students to Live and Study Abroad

The Leadership and International Understanding Merit Award is a scholarship managed by the Polk County Community Foundation for well-qualified local students to participate in the AFS experience of studying abroad. Students are encouraged to apply to study abroad through AFS and receive the benefits of learning a new language, exploring the world, and making lifelong connections. More information about AFS is available by visiting the AFS-USA website.