SHBP Makes $132,000 Available for 2014 Scholarships


November 2013


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College graduates earn nearly $20,000 more per year than the average high school grad, according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau statistics. Further analysis of this data by the Pew Research Center revealed that over a 40-year career, the average college graduate earns $550,000 more than a high school graduate.


Clearly, the financial investment of attending college and getting a degree is worthwhile. Nonetheless, the former reports indicate that the average college grad also leaves school with $23,000 in loans. This can be a heavy financial burden to bear, but it does not have to be this way, particularly for Seafarers and their dependents. Financial help is available through the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan (SHPB), which each year offers scholarships to qualified applicants.


Designed to ease the financial challenges associated with college and vocational studies, the 2014 SHBP Scholarship Program will offer eight awards totaling $132,000. Three scholarships will be designated for Seafarers, while five will be targeted for spouses and dependents.


One of the endowments reserved for Seafarers totals $20,000 and is intended to help defray the costs associated with attending a four-year, college-level course of study. The remaining two are in the amount of $6,000 each and are designed as two-year awards for study at a postsecondary vocational school or community college. Each of the five scholarships for spouses and dependents is for $20,000.


Now is an ideal time to begin the application process. The first step is to send for the 2014 SHBP Scholarship Program booklet. The package contains eligibility information, procedures for applying for the scholarships and an application form. To obtain a copy of this handout, simply complete the form linked at the top of this page and return it to the address provided. As an alternative to requesting a package through the mail, they also are available at SIU halls.


Once the scholarship booklet has been received, applicants should check the eligibility criteria. They should also begin collecting and assembling the remainder of the paperwork needed to submit with the full application, which must be received by April 15, 2014.


Items that need to be incorporated in the final application package include transcripts and certificates of graduation. Since some institutions respond slowly in handling transcript needs, requests should be made as early as possible.


Letters of recommendation – solicited from individuals who know the applicant’s character, personality and career goals – should be included as part of the application package. A high-quality photograph and a certified copy of the applicant’s birth certificate are also required and should accompany the package.


A scholarship selection committee, consisting of a panel of professional educators, will examine the high school grades of all applicants as well as evaluate scores from their Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) and American College Tests (ACT). Accordingly, arrangements should be made by applicants who have not done so to take these tests no later than February 2014. Doing so will virtually assure that the results reach the evaluation committee in time for review.


Seafarers and dependents who previously applied for the scholarship program and were not selected are encouraged to apply again this year, provided they still meet the eligibility requirements.


Don’t let the rapidly increasing costs of higher education prevent you from realizing your goals. The SHBP Scholarship Program can make the same difference for you that it has made for other Seafarers and dependents. In the last 10 years alone, the SHBP has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to 76 college-bound individuals – 21 Seafarers and 55 dependents.



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