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SCC Foundation Scholarships:

The following is a brief description of scholarship programs for SCC students. Scholarships are gift money that does not need to be repaid as long as the student meets the eligibility criteria. Scholarships may be awarded based on financial need or some type of merit (such as academic), or a combination of the two. The Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) is also required for many scholarship applications.

An alphabetical list of scholarships available through Southwestern Community College Foundation and other donors that have contacted us are listed below. Click on the scholarship title for more details. Students are encouraged to review the list to identify any scholarships they might be eligible for.  Flip through the links by using the arrows at the bottom of the sidebar. Please realize that in addition to the information in the descriptions, there may be eligibility requirements beyond those mentioned below. For complete scholarship and application information, you may come by the Financial Aid Office located in the Balsam Center or contact us at 828.339.4207 or 800.447.4091, ext. 4207. To apply for scholarships, visit The SCC scholarship application portal opens on February 1st. The deadline is typically in mid-April.

The Financial Aid Office may receive scholarships throughout the academic year. Please continue to check your student email or come by the Financial Aid Office for new scholarship information. Should funding for any scholarship become unavailable, that scholarship will not be awarded during the upcoming academic year.

Scholarship Web Searches:
The following are a few of the many search engines for scholarships known to us. We recommend that you always read all the details before you provide your personal information, and be sure you are willing to accept the provider's terms and conditions. Remember: never pay anyone to help you find free financial aid.

Every year, the North Carolina Community College System provides information about scholarships across the state through a yearly Scholarship Guide.  Students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office if they are interested in any scholarships in the guide. 

Outside Scholarships:
Students are encouraged to pursue scholarship opportunities throughout their communities, from groups such as civic organizations and churches, and to research other national scholarships through reputable organizations and web sites. There are many organizations and agencies that offer scholarship information. SCC provides links to scholarship opportunities as a service to our students. SCC does not offer the scholarships, and has no responsibility for or involvement in the scholarship administration, selection and award processes. If you have questions about outside scholarships, please contact the company offering them. To view the outside scholarships we're currently aware of, please click here


Couple pose in black & white photo

Up until his death in 2012 at the age of 79, Alvin Kinkaid literally helped change Jackson County’s landscape by discovering ideal construction sites that preserved the mountains’ natural beauty.

To honor his memory, Mr. Kinkaid’s wife, Virginia, has endowed a scholarship fund that will help students find their own potential in years to come.

The Alvin Norton Kinkaid memorial scholarship is awarded annually to a student in Southwestern Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program. Following are the criteria for applicants.

  • Students must be enrolled in the Basic Law Enforcement Training program at SCC
  • Preference for students with financial need
  • Preference for students living in Jackson, Swain or Macon counties

And here's a little more info about the man for whom this scholarship is named.

Throughout his five-decade career as a land developer and general contractor, Alvin Kinkaid could look at a mountain and immediately visualize its possibilities.

Up until his death in 2012 at the age of 79, he literally helped change Jackson County’s landscape by discovering ideal construction sites that preserved the mountains’ natural beauty.

To honor his memory, Mr. Kinkaid’s wife, Virginia, has endowed a scholarship fund that will help students find their own potential in years to come.

The Alvin Norton Kinkaid memorial scholarship is awarded annually to a student in Southwestern Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program.

“With any piece of land, he had the ability to see what could be,” Virginia Kinkaid recalled earlier this week. “One time he took me up to look at a piece of property, and the weeds were taller than I was. He said, ‘This is going to be Horseshoe Cove. Can you see such and such?’ And I’d say ‘Alvin, all I see are a bunch of weeds.’ But he always had the ability to see what could be.”

Mrs. Kinkaid said the idea for memorializing her husband through an SCC scholarship arose during a phone conversation with a friend, Anita Hall.

Hall’s husband, David, had served as a sheriff’s deputy with the Kinkaids’ son, Al Jr.

“I told Anita that I wanted to set up some kind of fund in Alvin’s name, but I didn’t know what to do,” Mrs. Kinkaid recalled. “I was thinking forestry or the fire department because of the land connection. David was in the background, and he asked, ‘Why not law enforcement?’ Alvin supported law enforcement, and Al Jr. just retired after more than 30 years with the sheriff’s department.”

The suggestion immediately resonated with Mrs. Kinkaid, so she discussed it with her son then put in a call to Jackson County sheriff Jimmy Ashe.

Ashe put her in touch with representatives of the SCC Foundation, who helped her get the scholarship endowed.

 “We are thrilled that Mrs. Kinkaid chose this scholarship as a way to pay tribute to her husband’s legacy,” said Mary Otto Selzer, who oversaw the SCC Foundation at the time of the scholarship's endowment. “For years to come, students who might not otherwise be able to attend college will have the opportunity to realize their own potential thanks to the Kinkaid family’s generosity.”

  • Applicant must reside in Jackson, Macon, Swain counties or the Qualla Boundary
  • Applicants must be enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program
  • Applicants must have demonstrated financial need
  • Applicants must have an maintain a 3.0 GPA

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

Apply online at

  • Applicants must be a full-time student pursuing an Associate Degree or a College Transfer degree in Nursing
  • Preference is given to single parents who are permanent residents of Jackson County
  • Applicants must have an maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Applicant must be enrolled full time
  • Applicant must have a 3.0 gpa or higher
  • Preference for applicants in the Paralegal, Criminal Justice or Cyber Crime Technology programs
  • Applicant must be enrolled full time
  • Applicant must have a 3.0 gpa or higher
  • Applicant may be pursuing any Associate Degree
In 2016, Catch the Spirit of Appalachia (CSA) established an endowed scholarship through the Southwestern Community College Foundation. Pictured from left to right are: Doreyl Ammons Cain of Catch the Spirit; Dr. Don Tomas, president of SCC; and Amy Ammons Garza of Catch the Spirit.

The local non-profit heritage group "Catch the Spirit of Appalachia (CSA)" has established a $15,000 endowed scholarship through the Southwestern Community College Foundation.

CSA gave an $11,000 gift for the scholarship in April 2016 and raised the remaining $4,000 at the group’s 10th annual fundraising dinner held on Sept. 27, 2016. Cofounders Doreyl Ammons Cain and Amy Ammons Garza presented the check to SCC President Dr. Don Tomas and SCC Foundation Director Brett Woods.

"We are honored to create this endowed scholarship with Catch the Spirit of Appalachia,” said Brett Woods, director of the SCC Foundation. “This is a wonderful opportunity to help students continue to preserve and honor the heritage of the mountains through their education at SCC.”

This scholarship was created by the CSA board of directors and founders to help SCC students preserve the Appalachian traditions of the area.

“The scholarship has also been established in memory of those who have been role models in our community: Elmer and Irene Hooper, Mary Jane Queen, Cannie Owen Ammons, Wayne Cobb, Paul Chancellor, Ethel Roper Welch, Gladys Dills Owenby and many others,” said cofounder Amy Ammons-Garza. “It is our hope that this CSA Endowed Scholarship through Southwestern Community College will provide a lasting remembrance of our heritage to our youth.”

When selecting recipients, priority will be given to SCC students studying arts and the environment.

“We are so grateful to Catch the Spirit of Appalachia for establishing this endowed scholarship with SCC,” said Dr. Don Tomas, president of SCC. “This scholarship will help students preserve Appalchian history through their studies at SCC for years to come.”

CSA was founded by Cain and Garza in 1989 to teach local children about mountain music, art and storytelling. CSA became a 501(c)3 nonprofit heritage organization in 1991.

Following are criteria for applying for this scholarship:

  • Applicant must have financial need
  • Applicant must have completed a FAFSA
  • Applicant must be a degree seeking student
  • Applicant must have a 2.5 or higher GPA
  • Applicant must be carrying 12 credit hours or more
  • Applicants must reside in Cashiers/Glenville/Sapphire area
  • Applicants must have and maintain a 2.5 GPA
  • Applicants must be pursuing an associate degree in nursing
  • Preference for students in the RIBN program
  • Applicants must be enrolled three quarter time or more
  • Applicants must have and maintain a 3.0gpa or better
  • Preference will be given to new applicants ever year
  • Preference will be given to those students who are honorably discharged veterans of the US Armed Forces. 
Dr. Charles McConnell

Ask anyone who knew Charlie McConnell well, and they’ll tell you he was all heart.

That’s why the Sylva Rotary Club endowed a scholarship through the Southwestern Community College Foundation in memory of the former Jackson County superintendent, who devoted much of his post-retirement years to making a college education more accessible for high school students.

Specifically, he helped former SCC president Barry Russell establish the New Century Scholars program that has been providing last-dollar tuition assistance for deserving students from Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties to attend SCC.

“When he retired, he could have been content that he’d done a lot of great things in his career and just taken it easy – but he wasn’t a guy to just sit down,” said Kenny Nicholson, president of the Sylva Rotary Club and a longtime friend of McConnell’s. “He would have been so pleased that we’re helping children in his name.”

The Sylva Rotary Club raised more than $15,000 through donations and fundraisers to endow the “Charlie McConnell Scholarship,” which will be awarded for the first time this fall. McConnell was a past president of the Sylva Rotary Club.

“Charlie’s legacy will live on every time a young person earns a college degree through New Century Scholars and this newly endowed scholarship,” said Mary Otto Selzer, director of the SCC Foundation.

Ruth McConnell, Charlie’s wife of 46 years, said: “The scholarship is quite a compliment to Charlie. It’s really special to me, and our children (Greg McConnell, Jeff McConnell and Kristy Bullock) have taken a big interest in it too.”

Nicholson, a longtime principal for Jackson County Schools, said he’s known McConnell since their high school years when Nicholson attended Sylva-Webster and McConnell was at Cullowhee High.
Their friendship flourished through their time working together in the school system.

“One thing I really enjoyed about working with Charlie was the way his first thought on anything would always be about what he could do to help the kids,” said Nicholson, a longtime educator and former principal for Jackson County Schools. “Don’t get me wrong; he was also very concerned about the well-being of our teachers and staff. But he also knew that without the kids, none of us (teachers, administrators) would have been there."

Following are criteria necessary to apply for the scholarship given in memory and honor of Charlie McConnell, a lifelong educator, who was instrumental in creating the New Century Scholars program.

  • Applicants must be seeking an associate degree. 
  • Preference will be given to students with a demonstrated history of community service. 
  • Preference will be given to students with demonstrated financial need, not otherwise covered by grants and/or scholarships. 
  • No GPA or enrollment requirements.
 Phil Haire (second from left) and Dr. Connie Haire (third from left) recently endowed a scholarship through the SCC Foundation. They are shown here with Dr. Don Tomas (left), president of SCC, and Brett Woods (right), director of the SCC Foundation.

During her 25 years of overseeing the Southwestern Community College Foundation, Dr. Connie M. Haire had the privilege of seeing just how significantly scholarship funding could impact a student’s life.

Now retired, she and her husband – former N.C. Rep. Phil Haire – have ensured many more lives will be changed for the better.

The Haires, who reside in Sylva, set up the Connie M. Haire Endowed Scholarship fund in 2017.

“Phil and I wanted to provide for student support for many years to come, and we wanted to set up an endowment that would provide scholarships in perpetuity,” Dr. Haire said. “Since retiring six years ago, I have seen the growth in programs and student success, and I want to be part of that going forward. This scholarship endowment allows me to continue to be a part of the SCC family.”

Dr. Haire served in a variety of roles at SCC before retiring in 2011 as vice president of the Macon Campus and institutional development. She previously served as vice president for student and institutional development (1995-2005), dean for institutional development (1997-99) and director of resource development (1986-97).

Throughout her time with the college, she oversaw the SCC Foundation.

“Very few people have spent more time than Dr. Haire has over the years working to help our students through the SCC Foundation,” said Dr. Don Tomas, president of SCC. “She knows as well as anyone how much an endowed scholarship can mean to current and future students. On behalf of our students, I am extremely grateful that the Haires have endowed this scholarship in her name.”

During Dr. Haire’s tenure, then-president Dr. Barry Russell and the late Dr. Charles McConnell – who was then superintendent of Jackson County Schools - founded the New Century Scholars program. Funded solely by private gifts, New Century Scholars provides last-dollar tuition for deserving students in Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties.

Dr. Haire immediately became a strong advocate and leader in helping raise funds for the program, which has touched hundreds of area families and is still thriving today.

“I had a wonderful career at Southwestern, and I had the opportunity to work in many different areas of the college – all of which were related to support for students and programming,” Dr. Haire said. “Of the many initiatives we began, one of the most rewarding is New Century Scholars. It is wonderful to see how it’s continuing to help young students and their families.”

Following is criteria for applying for this scholarship:

  • Applicant must be enrolled 3/4 time or more

For more information about endowed scholarships or other giving opportunities at SCC, visit, call 828.339.4227 or write

  • Must be actively seeking a degree in the Culinary Arts Program.
  • Must be enrolled full-time.
  • Must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Applicants must have and maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher
  • Applicants must have completed 50% of their program credits
  • The purpose of this scholarship is to provide a "hand up" to students who demonstrate academic promise, grit and determination in continuing their education
  • Applicants must be pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering or Geomatics
  • Applicants must have and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher

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