Each year, the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan (SHBP) makes scholarships available to qualified individuals who are looking to further their education.
The 2019 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 obtain a scholarship program booklet. This package contains eligibility information, procedures for applying for the scholarships and an application form. Union members and their dependents now have three avenues through which they may obtain this booklet.
First, as has been the case in the past, prospective applicants may request these booklets via mail by completing and mailing the form printed in the January edition of the Seafarers LOG. Secondly, they may obtain the booklets by visiting any SIU hall. Finally, applicants may download the booklet online by clicking HERE
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, 2019.
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 2019. 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.