Last updated: July 31. 2014 5:15PM - 497 Views
By Kitsey E. Burns



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The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority recently selected Ashlyn Vestal as a recipient of a $12,000 Golden LEAF Foundation Scholarship. Vestal is a senior at Forbush High School and plans to attend Gardner-Webb University.


Vestal is one of 215 students selected to receive a $3,000 scholarship each year for up to four years of study at a participating North Carolina public university or private non-profit college or university. Recipients are from rural, economically distressed North Carolina counties and are selected based on a number of criteria, including a review of school and community service activities, goals, and expressed intent to contribute to rural communities upon graduation from college.


The Golden LEAF Foundation created the Golden LEAF Scholarship program to broaden educational opportunities and provide support to students from rural counties, with the hope that after graduation, recipients will provide leadership in these communities.


“The Golden LEAF Board of Directors has been pleased to assist more than 10,100 students from families in rural communities attend college since 2000,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. “The Golden LEAF Scholarship is one of the many tools we have to help fulfill our purpose of growing North Carolina’s rural economy. Our hope is that through this scholarship opportunity, scholars will be able to gain valuable knowledge and skills and come back to their hometowns or another rural area to help our communities prosper.”


The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically-distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,247 grants totaling more than $548 million since its inception.


The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) administers the program on behalf of the Golden LEAF Foundation. NCSEAA, established in 1965, is the State agency that promotes access to higher education by administering financial aid and savings programs, informing students and families about paying for college, teaching educators about financial aid administration, and advocating for resources to support students.


For more information, visit CFNC.org or call College Foundation of North Carolina, toll-free, at 866-866-CFNC (2362).


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