The following is from a news release by the Oaklawn Foundation.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only caused steep declines in college enrollment for two consecutive years, but in scholarship applications as well. However, the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation, which oversees the administration of the Oaklawn Foundation Scholarship, is optimistic that application numbers for the 2022-23 academic year will return to pre-pandemic levels. Online applications for the scholarship open today.
"One of the most rewarding parts of my job as executive director for the Hot Springs Area
Community Foundation is providing administrative support for the Oaklawn Foundation
Scholarship program," Hot Springs Area Community Foundation Executive Director Joyce Whitfield said. "We are hoping for an increase in the number of scholarship applications in 2022, following many distractions and unusual circumstances for a lot of students during the COVID-19 pandemic."
The scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 each, are available to any eligible Garland
County resident who is or will be enrolled at an accredited community college, technical school or four-year public or private college or university (including graduate or post-graduate level studies).
"This is the only program that offers scholarships to vocational education, two and four-year colleges and universities, Masters and Ph.D. programs," Oaklawn Foundation Scholarship Chair Kerry Lockwood-Owen said, "This makes the Oaklawn Foundation Scholarship one-of-a-kind in the state of Arkansas."
To begin the application process, individuals can log in to the Arkansas Community
Foundation's online application portal at www.arcf.org/oaklawnscholarship.
To be considered for the scholarship, applicants will need to submit the following items:
• A completed Oaklawn Foundation Scholarship application.
• A personal essay describing their educational plan, goals and personal story.
• Two letters of recommendation, both dated after June 1, 2021. Older or undated letters
will not be included in the applicant's scoring.
• A copy of their transcript or GED Certificate.
• Proof of residency in Garland County, such as a copy of a valid driver's license or
Arkansas identification card.
"The Oaklawn Foundation is proud to provide support to a wide range of Garland County
residents who may be at different stages in their lives and educational journey," Lockwood-
Owen said, adding that applicants with special circumstances are welcomed to provide this information in their essay. These may include (but are not limited to): military service; disability (self or loved one); changes in family or personal income; single-parent status; child or elder care expenses; or casualty losses due to weather, fire, or natural causes.
Interested individuals must submit the online form and all application materials by February 28, 2022, to be considered eligible for the award.
The Foundation has awarded scholarships to over one thousand Garland County students since 2007. The Foundation uses the money generated from the Oaklawn Gaming Center to fund programs and scholarships.