The Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) scholarship application is currently open and available to students raised in tree fruit industry families with plans to attend college in the fall of 2021.

Annually, WAEF awards over $1 million in scholarships on behalf of Washington’s tree fruit growers, packers, shippers and suppliers to college-bound and college-enrolled students. The application must be submitted in its entirety by March 1 for consideration.

Students qualify for WAEF scholarships based on their own or their parent's/legal guardian's employment in Washington’s tree fruit industry and/or if the applicant plans to work in the tree fruit industry upon completion of their college degree. Employment in the tree fruit industry includes jobs in orchards, warehouses, suppliers and service providers to the tree fruit industry. It also includes ownership of orchards and warehouses.

WAEF scholarships are established by industry employers, families and community members to support students. Each award has a unique set of criteria that can be found on the foundation’s website scholarship page, waef.org/scholarships.

Scholarships through WAEF are provided to students pursuing two- and four-year degrees at accredited colleges and universities and to students seeking program certifications from nonprofit technical and vocational colleges. Field of study is not limited.

Traditionally, 80% of WAEF scholarship recipients are first-generation students. Financial need is a strong consideration for many awards managed by WAEF. Additionally, academics, extra-curricular involvement, character references and student short answers and essays are all factored in the selection process.

To apply for WAEF scholarships, students complete one of two forms depending upon the type of education sought. The Universal Application Form is used by community college or university bound students. Students attending a vocational/technical college or a community college certificate program complete the Vocational/Technical application, so long as they are pursuing one of the programs listed on the application. Details about each application are available at waef.org/scholarships.

In addition to financial support, students selected to receive WAEF scholarships are provided access to professional development workshops, mentoring, career preparation activities and regular encouragement and support. Students may renew WAEF scholarship support for up to four undergraduate years upon meeting renewal conditions.

For more information on applying for WAEF scholarships or offering a scholarship through WAEF, contact the foundation office at 663-7713 or at scholarships@waef.org.

Since founding WAEF, the state tree fruit industry has provided scholarships to over 2,000 students valued at over $10 million.

Jennifer Witherbee is executive director of the Washington Apple Education Foundation

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