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Education is a valuable tool for a young person no matter what career path they choose to follow. However, when making plans for a future career, finances can be a serious obstacle. Fortunately for those who have been involved in the Scouting movement, the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) offers Eagle Scout scholarships to assist Eagle Scouts with their educational pursuits whether they choose to study at a university, at a vocational trade school, or take up a field study opportunity. If you are an Eagle Scout and you are looking for funds for post-secondary education, you have come to the right place
What Is an Eagle Scout?
Eagle Scout is the highest achievement attainable in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The designation “Eagle Scout” was founded over one hundred years ago, and only four percent of Boy Scouts ever achieve this rank. Becoming an Eagle Scout involves a lot of hard work and a lengthy review process, with the requirements necessary to achieve this rank taking years to obtain.
Since its founding, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by almost 2.5 million Scouts and counts among its number many famous people. Eagle Scouts include the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, movie producer Stephen Spielberg, and four Nobel Laureates.
The First Eagle Scout
Arthur Rose Eldred of Troop 1 of Rockville Centre, Long Island, became the first Eagle Scout in 1912. Eldred was the first of three generations of Eagle Scouts in his family as his son and grandson also became Eagle Scouts in their turn.
How Do You Become an Eagle Scout?
To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, a Scout must have been a Life Scout for at least six months and must have earned at least 21 merit badges (of which 13 are compulsory and the rest may be chosen by the individual scout). The Eagle Scout must show “Scout Spirit,” an attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law and demonstrated through service and leadership. Scouts also undertake an extensive service project: planning, organizing, leading, and managing it.
After these requirements are met, the Scout must pass the Eagle Scout board of review. In addition to the board of review, all of these requirements must be completed before the candidate’s 18th birthday. When the award has been earned, Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge which recognizes this great achievement. After gaining the rank of Eagle Scout, Scouts may continue to gain badges and honors. These are called Eagle Palms and are awarded for completing additional tenure, leadership, and merit badge requirements.
What Eagle Scout Scholarships Are Available Through the NESA?
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The Eagle Scout Scholarships Fund was established in 1984 by Texas Governor William P. Clements Jr. The funds are currently raised by donations and by the membership fees paid to the NESA. Annually, $690,000 is allocated to Eagle Scout scholarships. These funds are divided into more than 150 scholarships. At present there are three types of Eagle Scout scholarships available through the NESA: Academic Scholarships, Merit Scholarships, and Field Study Scholarships.
NESA Academic scholarships are awarded via a process that weighs a candidate’s academic performance, school and Scouting participation, and financial need.
Academic scholarships include a range of scholarships. There are up to four $25,000 scholarships (payable at $6,250 per year for four years), one $48,000 scholarship (payable at up to $12,000 per year for four years), and a $50,000 STEM Eagle Scout scholarship for a candidate planning to major in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math.
Prospective recipients who score a minimum of 1290 on the SAT or a minimum of 28 on the ACT are eligible for academic scholarships. Candidates must apply during their senior year of high school, unless their Eagle Scout boards of review were held after the end of October in their senior year. An Eagle Scout may receive an academic scholarship on one occasion only.
Merit scholarships take into account a candidate’s academic performance, school and Scouting participation, and community service.
The Merit Scholarships include the $5,000 Hall/McElwain scholarships, the $2,500 Robert and Rebecca Palmer scholarships, and the $2,000 and $4,000 Bailey scholarships. The Adams Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year is also included in the category of Merit Eagle Scout Scholarships.
An Eagle Scout may receive a Merit Scholarship on one occasion only, but applicants may apply for most of the scholarships multiple times.
Field study scholarships
Field study scholarships weigh a candidate’s academic performance, school participation, community involvement, and passion for respective field study experience.
NESA Explorer field research trips are conducted in locations all around the globe over the course of between one and two weeks. These awards vary by opportunity but cover the majority of expenses for the trip, including such as travel, lodgings, and registration fees.
An Eagle Scout may receive a Field Study Scholarship on one occasion only, but applicants may apply multiple times for multiple opportunities from 18 years old to 35 years of age within each scholarship window.
What Other Scholarships Are Available for Eagle Scouts?
There are a wide range of other scholarships available to Eagle Scouts. These opportunities vary widely depending on area and background of the potential applicant. There are a range of scholarships available for Scouts and Eagle Scouts of certain religions or for residents in certain areas. In addition to this, individual institutions may offer scholarships specifically reserved for Eagle Scouts. Listed below are just a few of the Eagle Scout Scholarship options.
National Jewish Committee on Scouting Scholarships
Scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000.
Active Eagle Scouts who have earned the Ner Tamid or Etz Chaim religious emblem and are active in their synagogue. Some of the NJCS scholarships also require the applicant to demonstrate financial need.
Candidates must apply with an application listing their school and Scouting records.
Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship for Catholic Scouts
Six scholarships available for $2,000 each.
Catholic high school seniors who are Scouts or Venturers in any BSA program. Applicants must have earned either the Eagle Scout Award, Silver Award, Summit Award, or Quartermaster Award.
Candidate must apply enclosing a photo and an application listing details of their service to Scouting, the Catholic church, and their community.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Scout of the Year
$5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place.
Young people who are at least 15 years old and are a registered, active members of a Boy or Girl Scout Troop, Venturing Crew, or a Sea Scout Ship who has received the Eagle Scout Award, Girl Scout Gold Award, Venturing Summit Award, or Sea Scout Quartermaster Award.
Application, photograph, school participation record, Scouting record, community service record, and three letters of recommendation.
American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year
Three Eagle scout scholarships are awarded: $10,000 for the winner and $2,500 apiece for three runners-up.
Eagle Scouts who are active members of a Troop, Varsity Scout Team, or Venturing Crew which is chartered to an American Legion post, American Legion Auxiliary unit, or Sons of The American Legion squadron plus the sons and grandsons of a Legionnaire, Sons of The American Legion or Auxiliary member.
An application, photograph, school participation record, Scouting record, community service record, religious award record, and four letters of recommendation.
Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting Scholarships
$1,000 for first place and $500 for runner-up.
Eagle Scouts who are active in an Eastern Orthodox Church and have received the Alpha Omega Religious Scout Award.
Scouts must submit an application and four letters of recommendation.
Mervyn Sluizer Jr. Scholarship for Philadelphia-Area Scouts
Two scholarships of $1,000 each.
Eagle Scouts who live in the Greater Philadelphia and who have been active in BSA for at least five years.
Candidates must submit an application, essay, school transcript, and two letters of recommendation.
Finding Additional Scholarships for Scouts
Other Eagle Scout Scholarships and scholarships for other scouts can be found by searching online. The results will provide you with links to specific organizations who offer scholarships for Scouts and results pages which collate and detail a wider range of Scouting scholarships.
In order to gain his rank as an Eagle Scout, a Scout must show determination, resilience, leadership skills, and a willingness to work as part of a team and put himself out in service to others. These are qualities which will naturally recommend him to almost any organization, whether it be a university, vocational school, or company. The hard work that Eagle Scouts put in to gaining their skills, badges, and awards is not done with monetary gain in mind, but with the many Eagle Scout scholarships available, that helping hand for the future is an added bonus.