Golden LEAF Scholarship Programs
Since its inception, the Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded over $35.9 million to help more than 15,800 students from rural North Carolina attend the state's colleges and universities.
Scholarships are available to students from qualifying counties, who demonstrate financial need, to help them attend college at participating North Carolina public or private institutions or community colleges.
See information on the two scholarship programs below:
Golden LEAF Scholars Program
to attend NC 4-year colleges or universities
Since establishing the scholarship program, Golden LEAF has provided over 4,300 scholarships to help North Carolinians attend participating UNC System universities and private colleges and universities in N.C.
Participating NC colleges and universities
Participating institutions include UNC system universities and NC's private, nonprofit institutions. Click here for the list of participating colleges and universities.
High school seniors or community college transfer students planning to attend any of the participating colleges or universities who reside in a qualifying county and demonstrate financial need. Recipients are selected based upon multiple factors including grade point average, financial need, length of residence in the county and the ability to communicate a commitment to returning to a rural county that is economically distressed.
For students awarded scholarships:
- High school seniors are eligible for a four-year scholarship totaling $12,000 ($3,000 a year over four years).
- Community college transfer students are eligible for $3,000 a year for up to 3 years.
- Years of scholarship support are subject to the number of credits transferred and the degree sought, among other eligiblity factors.
- Approximately 215 scholarships will be awarded each year.
How to apply
Visit CFNC.org/goldenleaf to fill out the application form or call 866-866-CFNC for assistance. Your FAFSA, application, and transcripts are all processes through CFNC.org. Please do not send your information to the Golden LEAF Foundation.
March 1, 2016 to submit your application, FAFSA, and transcripts
Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program
Students awarded Golden LEAF Scholarships are also eligible to participate in the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program (subject to funding availability). The optional program provides:
- leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership, one of the nation’s leading leadership development organizations.
- paid internship opportunities in rural N.C. communities.
- stipends up to $8,830 (for all four years of participation) in addition to Golden LEAF Scholarship funding.
Click here for more information about the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership program.
Golden LEAF Scholars Program - Two Year Colleges
to attend N.C. Community Colleges
Since establishing the scholarship program, Golden LEAF has provided over 11,500 scholarships to help North Carolinians attend participating community colleges.
Participating community colleges
Click here for the list of the 2015-2016 North Carolina community colleges participating in the Golden LEAF Scholarship program. You can only apply for the scholarship if your community college is participating in the program.
Up to $750 per semester, including summer term, is available for curriculum students and up to $250 per semester for students enrolling in occupational programs. Awards can be applied toward tuition, fees, books, supplies at the community college where enrolled, transportation, child care expenses related to attending classes, and mid-skills credential testing upon course completion.
Students attending or planning to attend any of North Carolina’s participating community colleges who reside in a qualifying county and demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply.
How to apply
Contact your college’s financial aid office (link to NCCCS's websites) for more information on how to apply and deadlines for your application. Information is available at your financial aid office and must be returned to the financial office. Please do not send your information to the Golden LEAF Foundation.
Each participating college will set the deadline for the scholarship application. Contact your college's financial aid office (link to NCCCS's websites) as soon as you plan to enroll to determine application deadlines.
For additional information about a Golden LEAF scholarship, you may also contact:
If you received a Golden LEAF Scholarship prior to Fall 2011, contact the following with any questions about your current scholarship:
- NC Community College System - Monty Hickman at 919-807-7195
- University of North Carolina System - Edna Williams at 919-248-4632
- North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities - Colleen Maza at