Golden LEAF seeks scholarship applicants

Published 3:36 pm Monday, January 22, 2024

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The Golden LEAF Colleges and Universities Scholarship application for the 2024-2025 academic year is now available at A total of 215 awards will be offered to first-time recipients from qualifying rural counties. Applications are due March 1.

The awards are valued at $14,000 ($3,500 per year for up to four years) for North Carolina high school students attending a participating North Carolina college or university. North Carolina community college transfer students can receive $3,500 per year for up to three years.

“The Golden LEAF Scholarship Program is an important component of the Foundation’s workforce preparedness strategy,” said Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton. “The Golden LEAF Board established the scholarship program 25 years ago with the goal for Golden LEAF scholars to gain the talent, knowledge, and skills necessary to help North Carolina’s rural communities thrive by returning home to live, work, and raise families.”

To be eligible, students must be a graduating North Carolina high school senior or a currently enrolled North Carolina community college transfer student, enrolling full-time in the fall at a participating North Carolina public or private college or university.
Recipients are selected based upon multiple factors including an intent to return to a rural North Carolina county after graduation.

Applicants must also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and demonstrate financial need as determined by the application process; have a cumulative GPA of no less than 2.5; and be a resident of a rural North Carolina county that is economically distressed. Stanly is in this category.

For 25 years, the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program has provided more than 6,600 scholarships to help rural students attend the state’s colleges and universities.

The Golden LEAF Scholarship Program is administered by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority and funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation. A complete list of program requirements, participating campuses and qualifying counties can be viewed at Call 1-800-700-1775, Ext. 4658 or send an email to, for more information.

Students awarded the Golden LEAF Scholarship to attend North Carolina colleges and universities are also eligible to participate in the Rural Internship Initiative. The initiative allows scholars to participate in paid internships in their career field of interest, while strengthening connections and opportunities in a rural North Carolina community.

For more information about the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program, visit