Where to find scholarship money for Eagle Scouts

NESAEmblem_SpotEagle Scouts are “Prepared. For Life.” But are they prepared for the high cost of college?

College tuition was weighting on the mind of Scouter Pam K. from Westlake, Ohio, when she sent me this note last week:

Hello Bryan,

I am helping my Eagle Scout (Ricky) prepare for college in the Fall of 2013 and wondering if you can blog about scholarship opportunities?

Thank you,


Of course, a Scout should apply for scholarships himself. But it’s typically Mom or Dad who signs the check for college, so you can appreciate Pam’s eagerness to find some sources of extra cash to help lighten Ricky’s load.

Do you empathize with Pam’s plight? Here are a few ideas: 

Official NESA scholarships

Unfortunately, Pam’s too late to apply for a 2013 scholarship from the National Eagle Scout Association. That deadline usually falls on the last day of the year. In other words, the scholarship deadline for 2013 was Dec. 31, 2012.

Official NESA scholarships range from $1,000 to a whopping $50,000 and are awarded based on academic success and/or merit.

NESA academic scholarship applicants must be Eagle Scouts graduating high school and entering college in the year for which they apply for a scholarship. An Eagle Scout like Ricky, who’s entering college in fall 2013, missed out on applying for 2013 NESA academic scholarships.

However, NESA merit scholarship applicants may be Eagle Scouts graduating high school or undergraduate college students no farther than completion of their junior year. Recipients may receive the scholarship one time only, but Ricky would be eligible for the 2014 round.

By the way, if your son applied for a 2013 NESA scholarship, he’ll be notified by July 15, 2013, about whether he earned one.

Or let’s say your son’s a high school junior right now. If that’s the case, mark your calendars for Oct. 1, 2013 — the date 2014 scholarship applications are posted on the NESA website.

Keep in mind that competition is stiff. More than 5,000 applications are received each year, and fewer than 150 scholarships are awarded. But your Scout can’t earn one if he doesn’t apply.

Religious Eagle Scout scholarships

Each year, the national Catholic, Jewish, and Eastern Orthodox committees on Scouting award scholarships to Eagle Scouts who have earned their faith’s religious emblem.

Deadlines range from Feb. 28 to May 1, so check the scholarship application to make sure your Scout doesn’t miss out.

Find those applications and more information at this link.

Civic/military Eagle Scout scholarships

More money and prestige is up for grabs from the American Legion, the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program.

Some of these scholarships have special requirements, so read closely before passing the application along to your Scout.

Deadlines for the VFW and American Legion awards are March 1, while the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution scholarship deadlines vary by state and chapter.

Find those applications and more information at this link.

Institution-specific Eagle Scout scholarships

The list of colleges and universities that award scholarships to Eagle Scouts (and Venturing Silver Award recipients, Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients, etc.) has grown since I was a high school senior.

That’s good news for parents like Pam. These days, schools from Florida, Wyoming, Vermont, and pretty much everywhere in between offer scholarships to incoming students.

Deadlines and scholarship amounts vary, but scan this list to see if a school your son’s applying to is on it.

Check your council’s Web site

Local councils may know of scholarships open only to their members.

Del-Mar-Va Council, for example, has two such scholarships.

Check your council’s website — or give them a call — to learn of council-specific scholarships.

General scholarship advice

I found the U.S. News and World Report post called “Start Your Scholarship Search Here” very enlightening. It includes scholarship search engines, scholarship resource sites, and even recommends some people to follow on Twitter to help you track down scholarships.

The post may not be directly targeted at Eagle Scouts, but I’d argue that any Eagle Scout (or recipient of the Venturing Silver Award or Sea Scout Quartermaster award) has an instant leg up on his/her competition for scholarships.

Seeing one (or more) of those awards on an application signals to a scholarship committee that this young man or woman is prepared for college and prepared for whatever comes after.

Any to add?

A Scout is Helpful. Help Pam — and others — by sharing some links to scholarships in the comments section of this post.


  1. Try looking for your local Marine Corps League, American Legion and the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). I know that in my Council, the SAR can hand out up to $8,000, and a packet is included the Eagle package. Unfortunately, Council doesn’t help the scouts and in turn scholarships went from 400+ a year to 0 for the last two years. I guess no ones greasing the skids.

    • JoeC I am the SAR cordinator for the Eagle Scout Awards in Kern County.Our local Kern Chapter awards a Eagle Scout Certificate to all the Eagle Scouts at their Court of Honor that we locate and we encourages them to enter. First at the Local Council contest and if they win they can move on to the State and if they win they can move on to the National. Thanks for informing others that your council places the SAR Eagle Scout contest in their packet. I leave the flyers at the Council and the Council places them on their notification display case. I will asked the Council to place the entry application in the Eagle Scout packet. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

      • Trenton,

        I have been working with our council as well, and have been told that getting information internally about who makes Eagle is almost impossible, even within committees. I find that hard to believe. I find that hard to believe with a Council Advancement Committee who should know who has advanced.

        Our local SAR also puts information in the Eagle packets and have seen it as we have had several Scouts make the Eagle Rank and I have been able to verify it.

        The issue for me in talking to council is that they say it’s a privacy issue, it’s not their job, etc, etc in discussing this who made Eagle and scholarships. Maybe I’m getting a lot of Who Roast Beef, but it seems like either the Keystone Kops are running the place or just hiding behind a cloak of misinformation.

        I can’t see what the harm is in helping a scout earn money towards college or in general. There should be a happy medium in protecting a scout and helping them realize there are grants our there for them to help them along.

  2. As University employee who works with new freshman and transfer students, I can’t stress enough how important it is to let your young adult be part of the process. Many errors and misunderstandings occur during orientation and registration because the parent has completed the entire college application and selection process FOR their student instead of with their student.

    • Concur. Let your kid fill out the paperwork & then the adult spotchecks it. Nothing drove me up a wall was when a HS Senior with an Army ROTC Scholarship would come visit me at Tulane University to decide if they wanted to use their scholarship there AND their parent did all the talking/asking questions. If the Senior did not do the majority of the questionging, I knew one of two things. One was that the student was not really interested in Tulane & their parent wanted them to go there because it was a 100% free ride ($25 K per year back in 1994). Or two, the student was probably not good leadership material as I now had to reverse 18 years of pampering in 4 short years so they could leader Soldiers in combat. Neither type usually made it to commissioning.

    • Brenda When a prospective Eagle Scout applies for his Eagle rank he recieves a packet to fill out and apply’s for his rank advancement. Brenda your local Council will give you help in the process of applying for scholarships. When the Eagle Scout recieves his approval for rank advancement from the National the council may include scholarship application’s in the same packet. Sincerely, Trenton

  3. So, I have a question. I am an Eagle Scout and I’m trying to apply for a scholarship. However, the requirements on all of the Eagle Scout scholarships I’ve ever seen require me to be a high school senior getting ready to enter college. Is there any purpose to this and are there any scholarships I could apply for? I’m basically on my own in terms of paying for college, which is kind of scary at times, considering living costs, tuition, etc… So any advice would be very well received. Thank you!

  4. Some colleges offer scholarships for Eagle Scouts. I know that the University of Evansville offers a very lucrative one. My son received it a couple of years ago. Something you might want to look into!

  5. My son is a Life Scout. He will make Eagle this year. He is a Junior in High School. Also I have roots going back to the Revolutionary War. My mother is a member of the DAR. Should he apply SAR is it for the relitives of the RW

  6. As a parent, I studied several thousand scholarships a few years back looking for merit scholarship funds since my daughter wished to attend a $50K/year liberal arts college. (I was “OCD” about it since I’d heard many times, “there is scholarship money out there,” but there was no central source of that information. After exhaustively looking through the large, commercial “workbooks” of scholarships (which you can buy at Barnes & Noble”) and looking through the local scholarship lists from our local high school, I concluded as follows:

    *most of the “big” merit-based money is offered by the colleges themselves. Obviously,colleges with larger endowments typically have more money to distribute to students, and these colleges are largely private. Public universities have their own “scholars” programs, and they, too, are very competitive. Of course, private colleges have more flexibility.

    *nationwide scholarship websites pit a student against every other student in the nation (and possibly overseas), so the odds are quite long. That became particularly apparent when I contacted the Coca-Cola Scholars and the Ronald Reagan Scholars — both of whom awarded large scholarships — since they receive tens of thousands of applicants and award relatively few of these.

    *other than the colleges themselves, the greatest chance for winning a merit scholarship (typically in the $500-$2500 range) is through scholarships awarded in one’s local community. A check with the Counseling Office at one’s high school can typically provide a list of such entities awarding scholarship money. In Virginia, there are non-profit entities that manage many local scholarships, typically known as “The Community Foundation of X (City or County).

    In addition, often high schools conduct an “Awards Ceremony” for graduating seniors, at which some school-based scholarships are awarded, typically by faculty or school-related non-profit. To get a “head start,” a savvy parent will attend that Awards ceremony when their HS student is a freshman, sophomore and junior, to learn just what awards are given, in order to determine if their child might be a candidate for one of these awards.

    Finally, to get a good handle on college selection, a very revealing paperback (the most important part is the roughly 30-page introduction) is “Colleges That Change Lives.” Again, the intro (approx. 30 pages) puts this into perspective. Further, you can read about each of the colleges by simply visiting http://www.collegesthatchangelives.com.

  7. Yes, The American Legion says a Eagle must complete his religious award requirements
    as a Boy Scout and be a son or grandson of an American Legion (family),member -OR- his unit must be sponsored by an American Legion (family) Post, Most eagle candidates/unit leaders/committee members/American Legion members/parents are UNAWARE of the requirements until it is too late when they age out.This is why there has been no Ohio or Kentucky finalists since the inception of the American Legion scholarships .back in 1973..

    Wake up Ohio & KY.Lets see those 2017 Eagle of the year applications sent to the
    Department HQ in Ohio & KY by March 1,2017! .

  8. Please update the information on this page.
    When I checked on the page – where to find scholarships -that page is not found.

    Unfortunately my son did not qualify for any Eagle scholarships. It is disappointing that most of the scholarships are “$10,000 for one boy” -how about $1000 for 10 boys instead. He is the Average student, not involved in SGA, or any major sport. He luckily did get some scholarships so he can live at home and cover his costs otherwise.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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