Sealaska shareholders and descendants who applied for scholarships for the 2020–2021 academic year received their award letters this month, marking an all-time high in the level of scholarship support provided by Sealaska.
The year 2020 was significant for the program. It marked the largest number of students ever awarded, the most Sealaska scholarship money ever distributed, and the highest award amounts to recipients. The corporation awarded $1.34 million to 551 students, up from $960,000 in 2019–2020. The average award per student increased slightly, from $2,316 last year to $2,427 this year, but the number of students who received awards increased dramatically, from about 415 last year to 551 this year. That increase is due in part to an expansion of eligibility this year to include students enrolled part-time or in vocational-technical programs.
“We are proud to have extended the scholarship program to cover more students and a more diverse group of students, including those going back to school later in life or pursuing careers in the trades,” said Joe Nelson, chair of Sealaska’s board of directors. “By supporting shareholders and descendants throughout all stages of their careers and education, we improve the economic prospects of the entire region and beyond.”
The criteria to qualify for an award is simple, according to Carmaleeda Estrada, who administers the Sealaska scholarship program as part of her job as operations officer with Sealaska Heritage Institute, the nonprofit arts and cultural institution founded by Sealaska in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.
“Sealaska shareholders or their descendants who maintain at least a GPA of 2.0 and are enrolled in an accredited college or vocational-technical school are eligible to receive a scholarship,” Estrada said. To receive support for graduate school, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or better.
Scholarship applications for the 2021–2022 school year will be available starting in mid-December at MySealaska.com. Applications are ordinarily due by March 1, but the application deadline was extended to April 15 this year due to COVID-19.
Did you know?
- Since last year, part-time students are now eligible for scholarships.
- Scholarships are awarded to students enrolled at graduate schools, four-year colleges and other types of post-secondary programs.
- Scholarships are funded by Sealaska and administered by Sealaska Heritage Institute.
- Descendants are eligible to apply — not just shareholders.
Calling all former Sealaska scholarship recipients!
Are you a former scholarship recipient? Or do you know someone who is? We want to hear from you! Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how education has shaped your journey. Be sure to include a photo!