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.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.