COVID-19 has had profound impacts on the Hillsborough County community, and that includes the ability of many students to afford attending college. However, Hillsborough County Social Services and the Community Action Board are partnering again this year to offer scholarships of up to $5,000 to eligible students. In response to the impacts of COVID-19, the program will feature expanded eligibility criteria this year.
The Community Action Board Scholarship program broadened its household income eligibility from 125 percent to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and lowered the GPA requirement from 2.5 to 2.0. The changes to the program requirements aim to help students who struggle academically because of the pandemic’s unprecedented impacts on schools as well as students from households that saw a reduction in annual income. These changes will help many students overcome the impacts of COVID-19 and achieve their higher education dreams.
The scholarships, worth up to $5,000, are awarded to students to help alleviate some of the financial burden of college tuition so they can focus on furthering their education, not paying bills. This includes first-time students and students returning to school. The scholarships can be used at trade schools, community colleges or four-year universities.
Over the past five years, 295 scholarships have been awarded to deserving high school and college students across Hillsborough County, totaling about $1.29 million.
Applications for the 2021 scholarships will be accepted through Wednesday, March 31. Recipients will be notified in writing prior to the start of the fall semester.
Applicants must meet these eligibility requirements to be awarded a scholarship: be between the ages of 16 and 24, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent (16-year-olds may apply if they are graduating seniors), reside in Hillsborough County, have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and household income must fall within 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The following criteria will also be used to evaluate applicants: community service and school involvement, application and letters of recommendation, academic record (transcript), essay response and panel interview participation.
Application materials can be downloaded on the county’s scholarship application page at https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/social-services/education-and-training/action-folder/apply-for-a-scholarship. Detailed instructions on how to apply can also be found on the page. Students may submit completed applications online only.
For questions, call Irina White at 272-5074.