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Foundation to Award $6.95 Million in Scholarships

The awards will help local students with college expenses

Parents, students and foundation leaders will gather from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. May 27 at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens for the annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Foundation partner to help thousands of local students attend college each year. Students and families are faced with rapidly increasing tuition and fees at state and private institutions. Providing student aid through scholarships and loans help make it possible for local students to pursue college, vocational school, and graduate or medical school.

The ceremony is free and open to the public.

On behalf of community donors, the foundation will award $6.95 million in student aid though loans and scholarships: $4.75 million in scholarships and $2.2 million in student loans through a grant received from the Santa Barbara Foundation.

Despite these awards, it has been one of the most challenging years the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has faced in its 47-year history. Tuition and student fees are increasing dramatically, demand for scholarships is up and supply is down. In 2009, the foundation received 300 more scholarship applications than in the previous year. While contributions from donors have remained steady, investment income has decreased dramatically, reducing the overall number of awards to be given this year.

In 2008, the Scholarship Foundation denied scholarships to 454 qualified students because of a lack of funds. In 2009, the number is projected to double to more than 900 students.

— Rebecca Anderson represents the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.

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