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SB Foundation

Some of the students honored last year with scholarships from the Santa Barbara Foundation show their awards.

Now that college application season is over and winter breaks are coming to a close, scholarship deadlines are quickly approaching. 

From the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, which caters to the entire county, to Hancock and Cuesta college scholarships, there are a number of options for graduating high school and university transfer students alike. 

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara 

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, which provided nearly 3,000 scholarships totaling $8.7 million across the county in 2015, has a deadline of Jan. 31. 

The foundation offers awards that mostly range from $500 to $5,000 per academic year, with average award amounts of $2,500 at a four-year college and $1,500 at a two-year college.

"The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has been providing financial scholarships throughout the county for 53 years," said Candace Winkler, president and CEO of the foundation. 

Recipients must maintain full-time status and a minimum 2.0 GPA to remain eligible. Each recipient is eligible for four years of undergraduate funding and four years of medical/graduate level funding. Awards in subsequent years are not guaranteed, and applicants must submit a complete reapplication each year to be considered for future funding.

Winkler said due to the increasing cost of education, the foundation has been evolving their activities to include free financial aid advising in addition to scholarship dollars.  

"We have two staff members in Santa Maria that are happy to work one-on-one with students throughout the year to help them secure additional funding," she added.

For more information, visit sbscholarship.org or call 687-6065.

Elks National Foundation Scholarships

Each year, the Elks National Foundation provides $3.74 million in college scholarships through three scholarship programs. Typically, a handful of local students are chosen for the honors. 

Most notably, the Legacy Awards Scholarship offers $1,000 throughout four years of college and is open to high school seniors whose parents or grandparents are current Elks members and have been since April 1, 2013. The deadline to apply is Jan. 29.

For more information, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

California Strawberry Scholarship Program

The California Strawberry Scholarship Program provides between $500 and $5,000 to employed strawberry fieldworkers (or their children) for the current and prior two harvest seasons. 

Recipients must be enrolled full time at a trade school, community college, four-year university or graduate/professional program during the period for which the scholarship is requested and maintain a GPA of at least 2.0.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 15. 

Hancock, Cuesta colleges 

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Local community college deadlines also are near. 

Four weeks remain for students to apply for scholarships provided by the Allan Hancock College Foundation. The deadline to apply online is Feb. 2, and scholarships range from $500 to $10,000.

"We want to remind students to complete and submit the online scholarship application as soon as possible," said scholarship program coordinator Toni McCracken. "There is no application fee. So it costs students nothing and could pay off in a big way."

Last year, the foundation awarded 424 scholarships worth $537,000 to 363 students. 

To be eligible, applications must have completed six or more units in the fall 2015 semester at Hancock, have a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA, and complete a minimum of six units in the spring 2016 semester at Hancock.

Similarly, the Cuesta College Foundation offers hundreds of scholarships. The deadline to apply for Cuesta College’s scholarships is March 2.

"We encourage all students to apply for scholarships; many who think they won’t qualify for a scholarship end up getting multiple awards," said Interim Financial Aid Director Patrick Scott. "Scholarship monies can be used for tuition, textbooks and other expenses that can be challenging for students to finance over the course of the year."

Cuesta College’s scholarships are open to all incoming and continuing Cuesta College students. The scholarships reward and assist students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership skills and success in making progress toward a degree or certificate at Cuesta College.

Last year, 434 general scholarships were awarded, each one with different donor criteria and amounts. In 2015, $306,000 in scholarship funds was distributed to 260 students.

For information on the Allan Hancock College Foundation, call 922-6966, ext. 3200, or visit www.hancockcollege.edu/scholarships. For the Cuesta College Foundation, visit www.cuesta.edu/aboutcc/planning/foundation.

Jamie Guista covers education in Santa Maria and the Central Coast for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @JamieGuista.

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