The Golden LEAF Scholarship application for the 2021-22 academic year is now available at

A total of 215 awards will be offered to first-time recipients from qualifying rural and economically distressed or tobacco-dependent counties. Applications are due March 1.

The awards are valued at $12,000 ($3,000 per year for up to four years) for North Carolina high school students attending a participating North Carolina college or university. 

North Carolina community college transfer students can receive $3,000 per year for up to three years.

Recipients are selected based on multiple factors, including an interest in returning to a rural North Carolina county after graduation. Applicants must also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and demonstrate financial need as determined by the application process; have a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.0; and be a resident of a rural North Carolina county that is economically distressed and/or tobacco dependent for at least 10 years.

“Since it began 20 years ago, the Golden LEAF Scholarship program has helped more than 5,600 rural students attend the state’s four year colleges and universities,” Golden LEAF President Scott Hamilton said. “This scholarship program is a component of the Foundation’s strategy to help rural communities grow by creating a future generation of skilled, educated workers to come back home to live, work and raise families.”

The Golden LEAF Scholarship Program is administered by North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority and funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation.

A complete list of program requirements, participating campuses and qualifying counties can be viewed at Call 1-800-700-1775, ext. 4658 or send an email to, for more information.

Scholarship recipients may also apply for the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program.

This program, offered through the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, provides two leadership-building conferences, a summer internship and a stipend. Students completing all four years of the leadership program can receive up to $8,830 in stipends in addition to the Golden LEAF Scholarship award.

For more information about Golden LEAF and their other programs, visit the website