College is expensive. The National Eagle Scout Association wants to help.
The window for 2015 Eagle Scout scholarships — offering cash for college to those who have earned Scouting’s highest honor — is now open. The deadline to apply is earlier this year; applications must be received by Oct. 31, 2015.
All applicants must be members of the National Eagle Scout Association, or NESA. But Eagles can become a NESA member before applying.
Also new this year is that NESA scholarships are payable to Scouts attending vocational trade schools and approved programs. (Eagle Scout Mike Rowe, an advocate of vocational schools, would be proud!) In the past, NESA scholarships were available to four-year universities only.
There are two types of scholarships: academic and merit. For academic scholarships, Eagle Scouts must apply during their senior year in high school unless the Eagle Scout board of review is held after Oct. 31, 2015, in which case they would apply in the next window. Eagles may apply for academic scholarships once.
For merit scholarships, Eagle Scouts may apply beginning in their senior year of high school and may continue applying every year until their junior year in college. Applicants may win a merit scholarship only once but may apply annually.
College expenses have risen, and so has the value of scholarships NESA offers. Effective now, NESA scholarships will start at $5,000 each — up from the previous minimum of $1,000.
For more on how to apply, as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions, keep reading.
What is the scholarship deadline?
It’s 11:59:59 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2015.
At midnight Nov. 1, 2015, the system will be locked. There is no way to update an existing form or to create a new application after that deadline.
Why is the deadline earlier this year?
Because of the overwhelming number of applications received in 2014, the NESA scholarship committee voted to move the NESA scholarship window up two months to allow the committee extra time to consider the applicants. In past years the deadline was Dec. 31.
What if an Eagle Scout’s board of review is after Oct. 31, 2015?
Eagle Scouts who complete their boards of review after Oct. 31, 2015, should apply during the next scholarship window: Aug. 1, 2016, to Oct. 31, 2016.
How many recipients will be selected?
Despite rumors, NESA does not have the funds available to grant scholarships to every Eagle Scout who applies. The number of scholarships awarded depends on the scholarship fund’s performance in 2015.
When will winners be notified?
Recipients will be contacted by mail by July 15, 2016. Applicants who didn’t win will be notified by email by Aug. 1, 2016.
Remember, you can apply every year for the merit scholarships, up to and including your junior year in college.
A full list of winners will be posted on NESA’s website, nesa.org, on Aug. 1, 2016.
Do I have to be a NESA member to apply?
Yes, but you can apply for a scholarship before you apply for a NESA membership (and before you receive your membership packet in the mail — you don’t need a NESA number or Eagle Scout number to create an account, just an email address).
Young men can fill out an application even if they haven’t yet passed their Eagle Scout board of review but plan to do so by Oct. 31. There is no harm in filling out an application and then not passing the board. If you end up passing the board after Oct. 31, you can just apply next year.
NESA staffers will manually verify Eagle Scout/NESA membership status before selecting and notifying the recipients.
What if I have a question not answered here?
Here’s another, longer list of FAQs.