The Ronald McDonald Scholarship program provides a number of scholarships, of varying amounts, to make college more affordable. These awards have been given out to high school seniors since the program stated back in 1985. To date over $37 million in scholarship money has been awarded to financially needed students from diverse backgrounds.
Students are selected for RMHC scholarships based on a combination of factors, which include level of financial need, community service involvement, leadership skills, and academic merit. The eligibility criteria vary slightly depending on the specific scholarship.
RMHC/Scholars: Is open to any student who is under 21 years of age. Applicants can be from any ethnic background. Students must have at least a 2.7 grade point average and have unmet financial need. The amount of the awards varies by local chapters, so students should get in touch with their local RMHC to inquire about funding. Additional information can be found at this website: http://www.rmhc.org/rmhc-us-scholarships.
RMHC/African-American Future Achievers: requires at least one of the applicant’s parents to hold either African American of Black Caribbean heritage. This award requires students to write a brief essay related to their cultural heritage, career aspirations, and other skill, talents, or traits that make them unique. An emphasis is placed on community service. Students who would like to apply for this award can find additional information, as well as a list of previous winners, at the following website: http://www.rmhc.org/rmhc-us-scholarships.
RMHC/HACER: requires that at least one of the applicant’s parents is of Hispanic or Latino heritage. This award, which is worth a total of $100,000, is given out to four students on the national level. The award is given directly to the student’s college in the amount of $25,000 per year for four years. Only undergraduate students are eligible for this award. Some smaller awards are available at the local level. Students can read more about the eligibility criteria for the HACER scholarships at the following website: http://www.meencanta.com/hacer/en/requirements.html.
RMHC/Asia: In order to be eligible for this scholarships, at least one of the applicant’s parents must have Asian or Pacific Islander heritage.
For all of the Ronald McDonald Scholarships described above, students must be a senior in high school with at least a 2.7 grade point average. Applicants must also be legal residents of the United States and meet an age requirement (they must be younger than 21-years-old). Students must also plan to attend a two-year or four-year college or university on a full-time basis if they are offered the award. Lastly, applicants must agree to enroll in an approved institution the academic year following their high school graduation. Thus, students must proceed immediately from high school to college with no gap in enrollment.
Applications for all of the RMHC scholarships can be submitted online or via mail. In addition to the actual application form, students will be required to furnish supplemental documentation, such as a personal statement, letter of recommendation, 1040 tax form, and their high school transcripts. Applications must be postmarked by January 20th in order to be eligible. Students will want to be sure to highlight their community service experience, as that greatly influences the selection of winners.
Students who are planning to apply for the award may be interested in learning that they can view previous winners online. Brief bios along with the winners’ name and current university are posted and available for future applicants to review. A list of frequently asked questions can also be found online at the following link: http://www.rmhc.org/frequently-asked-questions.