The Power of Local Scholarships

This year alone the SW Florida Community Foundation  awarded $800,000 through 50 competitive scholarship funds to our local students!

One of the most overlooked money resource for many families is local scholarships. Many families simply do not know they exist. Unlike national scholarships, where hundreds of students may apply, local scholarships often see only a handful of applicants, sometimes only one or two! Making great odds for applying students!

I have had several students be awarded these invaluable money resources; for some their only pathway to higher education. What is wonderful is that they offer a variety of scholarships for many different types of students. Contrary to what people believe, local scholarships are not just for the "high achievers" but also for those with financial need,  average students, or meet another niche.


Local scholarships are created from local community members, organizations, and programs that believe in supporting students in their quest for higher education to grow and prosper the next generation of leaders, innovators, and doers.Typically, local scholarships are managed by a community foundation that is separate from the school, and hold to what the original donor wanted, such as;

1.        Specific career or program paths (education, law, nursing, medicine, etc.)

2.       Specific universities or colleges (in-state or out-of-state)

3.       Gender or ethnicity (female going into engineering, first generation student, etc.)

4.       Academic achievement

5.       Community service or involvement

6.      Extra-curriculars (sports, music, etc.)

7.       Organization a parent works for (electric company, real estate, education, etc.)

8.      Involvement in a special organization (Kiwanis, Rotary Club, Girl/ Boy Scouts, etc.)

9.      Financial need

Documents Needed

          1.      Application

          2.      Recommendation letters

          3.      Essay

          4.      Transcript and/or standardized test scores (ACT/ SAT)

In SW Florida, one of our local scholarship foundations is:

SW Florida Community Foundation
OPENS early January 2018
CLOSES early March 2018

This year alone they  awarded $800,000 through 50 competitive scholarship funds!

Community Foundation of Collier                           

They have over 40 different scholarship funds. They have opened a new website called Collier County Scholarship Connector that is a searchable scholarship site for local scholarships,

Other Florida counties have their own community foundations, which I have listed below. It is important to check with your school counselor and school district on how to access them.

Florida State/ County Resources

Florida Department of Education Scholarships-

Broward: Community Foundation of Broward-

Charlotte: Charlotte Community Foundation-

Collier: Community Foundation of Collier County-

Collier: Collier County Public Schools-

Eastern Florida: Eastern Florida Local Scholarships-

Hernando: Hernando County Education Foundation-

Hillsborough: Hillsborough Education Foundation-

Indian River County: Scholarship Foundation of Indian River County -

Northeast Florida: Community Foundation for Northeast Florida-

Ocala & Marion: Ocala Marion County Community Foundation-

Okaloosa: Okaloosa County School District-

Osceola: Osceola Education Foundation-

Palm Beach & Martin: Community Foundation for Palm Beach & Martin Counties-

Polk: Polk Education Foundation Scholarships-

Sarasota: Community Foundation of Sarasota County-

SW Florida: SW Florida Community Foundation-