Your Ultimate Guide to Santa Barbara Scholarships in 2024

Are you a local Santa Barbaran or an aspiring one ready to explore the trove of Santa Barbara scholarships waiting to be discovered? This blog post is your ultimate guide.

The Scholarship Foundation’s commitment revolves around the conviction that pursuing post-high school education is a crucial endeavor for each motivated and deserving student. The Foundation’s dedication to supporting students in their educational pursuits traces back to 1962. Annually, the online application process becomes available from October 15 to January 15, allowing students to apply for scholarships.

Through a meticulous review of applications and careful management of over 500 scholarship funds, the Foundation extends opportunities to eligible students from Santa Barbara County seeking higher education in college, graduate school, or vocational training. In May 2022, the Foundation proudly awarded over $7.7 million in scholarships to 2,139 deserving students.

Beyond financial support, the Foundation actively assists students in making informed financial decisions related to their education.

The dedicated staff offers free financial aid advising, assisting students with scholarship applications, navigating complex federal and state financial aid forms, understanding financial aid award letters, and managing student aid. In the past year, their advisory services facilitated scholarship recipients in securing an additional $35 million in federal, state, and institutional aid, further enriching their educational journeys.

Mission Behind Santa Barbara Scholarships

As higher education costs continue to soar, making it increasingly unattainable for many, many aspiring students grapple with substantial debt, contributing to the staggering national student debt totaling $1.4 trillion. Recent analyses underscore the stark reality that, over the last 25 years, real wages for the typical college graduate have seen a mere 1.6 percent increase, while their average student debt has surged by an alarming 163.8 percent.

In response to the escalating costs of college, there has been a significant surge in demand for scholarships and financial aid. The Scholarship Foundation, year after year, strives to meet this escalating demand, particularly for low and middle-income students. It is perceived as their mission and privilege to connect these qualified, determined, and motivated students with the necessary funding to realize their educational aspirations. The growing concern is that without assistance, low-income students will continue to lag behind their more affluent peers, primarily due to the lack of funds for tuition, expenses, books, and fees—expenses that escalate annually. However, the advantages of completing a college education are compelling:

four-year college graduate earns 70 percent more annually, and a two-year college graduate earns 30 percent more annually than a high school graduate.

College graduates exhibit higher employment rates and are likelier to have a pension or retirement fund.

College graduates enjoy lifelong benefits, including increased longevity (by an average of nine years), higher levels of physical activity, and lower smoking rates than high school graduates.

College graduates contribute significantly to their communities, volunteering more than twice as often, requiring less public assistance, voting more frequently, and contributing 77 percent more in taxes than non-graduates.

Cumulatively, these factors highlight the myriad lifelong benefits associated with a college education.

Hence, since its inception in 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has collectively awarded over $140 million to more than 60,000 students from Santa Barbara County.

Eligibility Requirement

General Scholarship Program Applicant Eligibility Criteria

1. Have attended school in Santa Barbara County for at least four of the six years between grades 7 and 12.

2. Graduate or receive a G.E.D. from a Santa Barbara County High School by June of the current academic year.

3. Plan to attend a Title IV-approved school full-time in the next academic year.

4. Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or AB 540 eligible.

5. Current or previous wards of the Santa Barbara County Court (youth in foster care after age 13) residing outside the county are eligible to apply to our General Scholarship Program.

DEADLINE TO COMPLETE THE GENERAL PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION: Extended to February 18!

Important Notes:

1. Applicants must plan to attend a Title IV-approved postsecondary institution full-time.

2. Recipients must remain in good academic standing and make timely progress toward a degree or vocational certificate.

3. Primary criteria for scholarship selection are financial need, motivation, and academic potential.

4. Financial need is verified by the Student Aid Report (SAR), generated after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application.

5. The Foundation does not offer student aid for summer sessions, research, special projects, or part-time study. Online courses are accepted if attempted at a Title IV-approved institution.

6. Homeschooled applicants must have a homeschool affidavit on file with the Santa Barbara County Office of Education. Submit a copy of the affidavit for each high school academic year (grades 9-12) to the Scholarship Foundation by January 31st.

7. Families of homeschooled and boarding students must have resided in Santa Barbara County for at least four of the six years between grades 7 and 12.

Title IV refers to U.S. Department of Education guidelines governing the eligibility of institutions to participate in federal aid programs, including grants, loans, and work-study. Some international institutions are Title IV approved. Visit https://studentaid.gov/fafsa-app/FSCsearch to search for your institution.

Eligibility Checklist

Eligibility ChecklistGeneral ProgramHonorsArtEmployer
ResidencySanta Barbara CountySouth CountySouth CountyVaried
Need-basedVariedNoNoYes
Academic LevelHigh school senior or aboveHigh school seniorHigh school seniorHigh school senior or above
Enrollment StatusFull timeFull timeFull timePart time considered
Application DeadlineJanuary 31 (Extended to February 18)November 15November 15January 31 (Extended to February 18)

How To Apply

Scholarship ProgramDescriptionApplication Deadline
General Scholarship ProgramFor all graduate and undergraduate students who meet eligibility requirements. Selection criteria include financial need, motivation, and academic achievement. Eligibility InformationJanuary 31 (Extended to February 18)
General Scholarship Application
South County High School Senior Art Competition Scholarship ProgramFor traditional fine arts, including painting, drawing, sketching, photography, design, furniture, and sculpture. Eligibility InformationNovember 15
Art Scholarship Application
South County High School Senior Honors Scholarship ProgramHighly competitive program for students demonstrating strong academic achievement (e.g., above a 4.2 weighted GPA and above-average SAT scores). Eligibility InformationNovember 15
Honors Scholarship Application
Employer-Sponsored Scholarship ProgramFor eligible employees of specific organizations who do not meet General Scholarship Program requirements. Spouses of Casa Dorinda employees may be eligible. Eligibility InformationJanuary 31 (Extended to February 18)
Employer-Sponsored Scholarship Application

Important Deadlines to Remember:

November 15:

Applications due for

  • South County Art Scholarship
  • South County Honors Scholarship

January 31 Extended to February 18:

Applications due for

  • General Scholarship
  • Employer-Sponsored Scholarship

April 26:

Award announcements for high school seniors – check your email

May 15:

Award announcements for current undergraduate and graduate students – check your email

FAQs Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara ( For Applicant)

1. How do scholarships from the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara work?

The Scholarship Foundation administers five large scholarship programs, each with multiple awards. Scholarships are awarded annually for the fall-spring academic year. Students must apply each year to be considered for funding.

2. Is there an age limit to apply?

No, there is no age limit. All applicants must meet General Eligibility Requirements.

3. Can I email or mail my documents if I can’t upload them?

No, all documentation must be submitted through your online application portal. Documents received via email or in-office will not be reviewed.

4. My college isn’t listed. What should I do?

Follow the application instructions. Email [email protected] with your details, and enter any college into your application account to mark the task as “Complete.”

5. Can I submit the missing documents after the deadline?

No, the electronic application requires completeness before submission. Ensure all tasks are finished before attempting to submit your application.

6. Do I have to fill out a financial aid application?

Yes, you must file the FAFSA or California Dream Act application to confirm financial need. Upload the Financial Aid Submission Summary to your scholarship application.

7. Has my application been submitted?

Check your online portal for completed preliminary tasks and a “Complete” label. Award notifications will be sent via email on May 15.

8. When and how will I find out if I received an award?

Scholarship award notifications are emailed on May 15. Notifications will be sent to the email associated with your Scholarship Foundation account.

FAQs (For Reapplicant)

1. Am I a Re-applicant to the General Scholarship Program?

You qualify as a re-applicant if you completed the General Scholarship Program Application within the past two academic years.

2. Am I a Re-applicant as a Graduate Student with a Previous Foundation Scholarship?

If this is your first application as a graduate student, you are not a re-applicant. However, you are considered a re-applicant if you applied as a graduate student within the past two academic years.

3. Will I Be Interviewed as a Re-applicant?

No, re-applicants will not undergo interviews.

4. Do I need to submit recommendations and high school transcripts as a re-applicant?

No, re-applicants are not required to submit letters of recommendation or a high school transcript.

5. Which Activities Should I Include as a Re-applicant?

List your most recent activities first. If there’s no recent involvement, include activities from the last three years.

FAQs (For Awardees)

1. Once Awarded, Is There Anything Else I Need to Do?

Yes! After receiving an award, you must provide essential information for releasing private funding. Continue to log in to your online Scholarship Foundation application portal throughout the academic year for required tasks.

Most tasks can be completed during the summer before the new academic year starts.

2. How Do I Receive My Scholarship Funding?

You’ll receive a Disbursement Request Form link after accepting your award. Complete the form to initiate fund release. Checks will be mailed to your college’s Financial Aid Office upon completion. Email notifications will inform you of disbursement.

3. Studying Abroad or in Summer School?

Email [email protected] to notify the Foundation of your academic plans. Funding will be sent to your home institution for study abroad.

4. What if I am Updating Information or Dealing with Waitlisted Courses?

Inform the Foundation immediately of any changes. Waitlisted courses don’t count until officially registered. Ensure timely payments for courses.

5. Document Submission:

Only use the online application portal for document submission in Microsoft Word (.doc) or PDF format. Email, mail, or in-person submissions are not accepted.

6. Can I Reapply for Next Year:

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Yes! Scholarships are awarded yearly, so reapply each year for consideration.

Valid Verification of Enrollment:

Valid documents for verifying enrollment include your student schedule, unofficial transcript, or a letter from the Registrar’s office. The document must contain:

  • Student’s full name
  • Name of the institution
  • Term
  • States that the student is full-time or shows units equivalent to full-time (12 units)
  • Additional documentation is required if you are considered full-time by your institution but not by the Scholarship Foundation.

7. Not at Full-Time Status?

Full-time status is necessary for receiving disbursement. If not enrolled full-time for one term, a one-time forbearance may be considered for receiving disbursement despite being under-enrolled.

8. Can I Save Awards for Next Year?

No, awards cannot be placed on hold. Disbursement occurs in the awarded academic year only. If unable to attend in the awarded year, re-application for the following year is encouraged.

9. Check Sent to Home Address After Completing Tasks?

No, the check is sent to your institution and applied to any remaining balance. If you’ve paid expenses before your institution receives the disbursement, they may release the check to you as a refund.

Note to Applicants:

Dear Scholarship Applicants,

We understand the importance of staying informed throughout the application process. Please be advised to regularly check the scholarship website for updates and any potential changes in deadlines or information related to the scholarship programs. Our commitment is to ensure transparency and provide you with the latest details. Your diligence in keeping abreast of updates will contribute to a smooth and successful application experience.

GoodLuck!

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