It goes without saying that academic scholarships can make the dream of college a reality for many students. Not only do scholarships help make higher education possible for those who can’t afford to pay out of pocket, but they can also spare cash-strapped college grads the angst of entering “the real world” with a cloud of debt.

Just ask the graduates from private and public high schools on Maui, Lanai and Molokai who are now pursuing degrees at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. with the help of the scholarships they received from the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF) Presidential Scholarship Fund.

Since its inception in 1989, the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $750,000 in academic scholarships to college-bound high school seniors throughout Maui County, as well as past scholarship recipients. Funds for the scholarships were raised through Mea Kako‘o (a group of sponsors who collectively donate money to the program) and events like the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk, RAM’s Got Talent event, RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Golf Event, and RAM’s annual installation and membership gala.

To be eligible for the scholarship award, students must be a high school senior or a former recipient of the scholarship (from the previous three years) and they must be in the process of applying or reapplying to an accredited college or university or trade school. Applicants must also be full-time Maui County residents who are currently attending—or have previously attended—a public or private high school in Maui County; however, students attending private high schools off island will be considered residents of Maui County if they are living off island for the specific purpose of attending that private high school. Current GED participants are also encouraged to apply for the scholarship award.

Once they receive the completed applications, the members of the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund Review Committee carefully evaluate each applicant based on a number of criteria, including financial need, scholastic achievement, career goals, school activities and community activities. In addition, applicants are required to submit a written personal statement that answers the question: “Who are you?” They are also asked to write about their interests, concerns and expectations, as well as why receiving the scholarship is important to them.

Each year, the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund Review Committee determines the total number of scholarship recipients. And what makes this scholarship program unique is that past recipients can apply every year they are in school (up to four years).

All of the scholarship recipients, along with their immediate family members, are invited to RAM’s General Membership meeting, which is held every year in July. There, they are honored on stage with a certificate and lei and then treated to a private luncheon, where they have an opportunity to mingle with the review committee members, as well as their fellow scholarship recipients.

Do you know a college-bound student who may be interested in the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund? Tell them to mark their calendars now: The deadline to apply for the 2020 scholarship is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. To apply, visit www.ScholarsApp.com, create a free account, and search for “Realtors Association of Maui Presidential Scholarship.” Students must complete the application and submit all accompanying documents no later than 5 p.m. on March 31. Paper applications are also available for those without internet access. To obtain a paper application, students can contact their respective school guidance counselor; homeschooled students can contact RAM directly. Applications can be mailed to RAM at 441 Ala Makani St., Kahului, HI 96732 and must be postmarked by Friday, March 27.

For more information about the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund, visit www.ramaui.com/scholarship or contact RAM Education Manager Leeann Poaipuni at leeann@ramaui.com or 270-4628.

The Maui News – December 30, 2019

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