FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2016) – The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s scholarship application process for the 2016-2017 school year is now available. Approximately $500,000 in scholarship money is available through more than 50 scholarships for local high-school students and undergraduate students with financial need or academic merit from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

The E-Apply online scholarship application tool can be accessed through the Community Foundation’s website at www.floridacommunity.com/scholarships. Students may review the scholarships available online as well as a tutorial about how to create and submit the online application.

Students may apply for multiple scholarships and have the ability to upload transcripts, SAT/ACT score reports, letters of recommendation and financial documentation (if required). For need-based scholarships, students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The deadline for scholarship applications is March 4, 2016.

“We are excited to be able to offer students an opportunity to apply for annual as well as renewable scholarships,” said Melanie Holaway, scholarship coordinator for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

Renewable scholarships are those offered for up to four years such as the Patricia Means Scholarship, which is new this year.

According to Holaway, examples of some of the more unique scholarships not as highly sought after include scholarships for students with disabilities, student athletes, students pursuing a specific field of study such as teaching deaf or blind individuals, specific church membership or community service hours in a particular facility such as a veterans hospital, adult students going back to school, students from particular schools or communities, and students pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

New scholarships this year include four from Dr. Allen and Mrs. Elizabeth Shevach for medical students from Lee County attending the University of Florida College of Medicine, Lee County students enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, graduating seniors from Fort Myers High School who have participated in high-school athletics and plan to pursue a college education, and a general scholarship for graduating seniors from any Lee County high school.

The Patricia Means Scholarship is for a U.S. citizen, high-school graduate with a B or C grade-point average pursuing post-secondary education.

The Gerard C. Mehr Scholarship is for a financially needy Southwest Florida student graduating high school or possessing a GED, or to adult learners seeking continued education from accredited colleges or universities, or training from certified job-training programs.

The Immokalee Achievement Award Fund is for an Immokalee High School graduating senior who has or will be applying to a community college or an advanced education trade school for a course or courses leading to a specialized trade or job skill.

In 2016, the Community Foundation awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships. With a simplified and streamlined online application process, students apply without submitting paper applications.

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.