Monday, November 30 , 2015, 6:46 pm | Fair 56º

Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara to Award $8.6 Million to Help Local Students

By Raissa Smorol for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara |

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara will award $8.6 million to help 2,755 local students attend college, vocational school, graduate and medical school this year.

Many of those awards will be presented at its annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 28 at the Sunken Gardens of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

Each May, hundreds of proud students, their families and local philanthropic leaders gather at the Sunken Gardens to celebrate student award recipients. The event is hosted by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara and its largest partner, the Santa Barbara Foundation.

This year, the ceremony will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 29. The event is free and is open to the public. A group photo opportunity of the student recipients will be arranged at the conclusion of the awards event at 5 p.m.

The Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to inspire, encourage and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of higher education through financial aid advising and scholarships. Below are a few notable facts:

» Since its founding in 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than 36,750 scholarships totaling $87.6 million.

» In 2014, the Scholarship Foundation received a record number of applications for aid — 3,874. Unfortunately, 1,119 qualified applicants were denied awards due to lack of funds.

» The Scholarship Foundation assists 35,000 students and their parents each year through its Financial Aid Advising Program and educational presentations and workshops at schools and community sites.

» Tuition and fees at public four-year colleges have increased at an average annual rate of 6% beyond inflation over the past 10 years. The price of a college education is the single fastest rising commodity in America.

» A college graduate with a bachelor’s degree working full-time earned on average $56,000 a year in 2009. A high school graduate earned on average $32,000 a year during the same time period. Lifetime earnings for college graduates are approximately $1.2 million higher than for those of high school graduates.

— Raissa Smorol is the development director for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.

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