PEF Scholarships

Over $801,000 was awarded to 2020 seniors graduating from Polk County public and charter high schools, all thanks to the generosity of donors from our community!  Click here to see a list of all recipients.

The Polk Education Foundation’s 2021 scholarship application is tentatively scheduled to open in mid-February, 2021. Students should check this page and the lists below for updates, and, with the scholarship contact at their school for full details on this process, and, other awards offered by the community.  Please note:  Students intending to apply for scholarships offered through the PEF must complete the FAFSA which opens in October of each year.

Abbey Rogers receiving scholarship from the Finchs

Abby Rogers (center) from Harrison School for the Arts, was selected as the Betsye Kay Finch Performing Arts Foundation, Inc. Scholarship recipient.  This was a new award in 2020 made to honor Mrs. Finch and provide funds to assist a student majoring in dance or musical theatre.  Pictured are Al Finch (L) and Alexis Rocker (R), Mrs. Finch’s children.

Bobby Lane Scholarship

This application is open nationwide, to student fishers in the 11th and 12th grade.  It is marked with a November 20, 2020 deadline and two essays are required.  Click here to view and print application.

Bailey Matthew Tilley Memorial Scholarship

For Polk County 11th and 12th grade students. Click here to print and view the application.

Take Stock in Children Scholarships

click here for that program page with scholarship information 


Previous Recipients of PEF Scholarships

For previous scholarship recipients who need to request funds, please complete the form below and return it to the Polk Education Foundation using the address provided on the form. A copy of the thank you note written to your donor must also be on file with this form to have funds disbursed.

Scholarship College Information Sheet

Recipients receive a copy of the Scholarship Policy with their award letter. A policy copy is also sent to each college or university with scholarship checks.

Click here to view the most recent PEF Scholarship Policy

Fund a Scholarship

You can sponsor a scholarship for Polk County High School graduating seniors in your club or business name, or, in memory of a loved one. After the application period ends, all scholarship applications are collected, screened and recipients selected through a competitive application process using the criteria each donor has set. We strive to make sure each application is given focus and attention to allow for the best candidates to be awarded scholarships. Donors can choose to participate in the selection process or allow a PEF committee to make those selections. Donors determine the criteria and the amount for the award. Scholarships can be designated for certain schools or groups of recipients. PEF staff would be happy to speak to you about the process, call 863-534-0434 to discuss.

Scholarships are promoted online every January through the Polk County School District and Polk Education Foundation. The last list of scholarships offered can be found at a link at the top of this page. Scholarship funds are awarded in the spring of each year; funds are not distributed directly to the student. A check is mailed payable to the college of the student’s choice during the first part of July. Thank you notes are required to be sent to each donor of a scholarship by its recipient prior to funds being disbursed.

By creating an endowed scholarship, you will have a perpetual scholarship awarded each year with no other investment needed. Endowed funds must however be invested for one year before they pay for an award. PEF’s endowment funds are professionally managed by at least 2 management firms per PEF policy. Currently a $10,000.00 donation equals a perpetual $500 scholarship. Endowed amounts and corresponding awards increase incrementally by each $10,000 donated. For more information, please contact Susan Copeland phone: (863) 534-0434.

Thank you GiveWell Community Foundation!


This logo was made possible by a capacity building grant sponsored by the GiveWell Community Foundation.