CRESTVIEW — Crestview High School seeks local businesses’ help to fund this year's Crestview Community Partners Scholarships.

CRESTVIEW — Crestview High School seeks local businesses’ help to fund this year's Crestview Community Partners Scholarships.

The scholarships help CHS applicants pay for tuition or text books at their chosen college or technical school, said Jessica Conner, a program organizer along with fellow teacher Sharon Criddle.

Funds go toward tuition or the textbooks, Conner said.

Application process

All seniors who apply are eligible, Conner said. However, recipients will be student applicants in good academic standing, working their way through high school, who can best state how the financial aid will help them.

"They have to explain (in an essay) how they are planning to give back to community once they are finished with their post-high school education," Conner said.

The applicant must list her or his extracurricular activities, work history and add an employer and teacher’s endorsement.

A panel comprising the school’s teachers and administrators screens each application before selecting recipients, Conner said.

"Typically, each student that applies receives some amount of reward," Conner said, adding some 15 students apply for the scholarship.

No set date has been announced for students to apply for the scholarships, but Conner said students could start applying around the end of March. Deadline is in late April.

Donations down

The program’s organizers hope this year’s donations reverse a downward trend.

"Last year, we received about $2,700," Conner said.

Contributions have decreased in the last three years, she said.

Several factors could contribute to the low funding.

"I think the main reason is the economy, but it could also be that we are not reaching out to enough businesses," Conner said.

This year, “we have already sent out about 200 letters (to local businesses)," Conner said. "So far, we haven't had any response."

It’s typical to hear nothing before February or March, she said. Businesses have until May to make a donation.

Still, the more donations roll in, the more students can receive financial aid they need, as the total amount must be divided among recipients.

"In the past three years, all of the students that have applied for the scholarship have received some amount of money," Conner said.

Businesses with a student working part-time or interning can have a specified amount donated to that student for the scholarship, organizers said.

The school  library’s scholarship center has information on the many scholarships available.

Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.