With a special emphasis on education and service, the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation (PMYF) is committed to impacting young individuals among their communities. Along with offering in excess of $150,000 per year in PMYF-sponsored scholarships, many lodges and statewide appendant Masonic organizations maintain educational endowment funds through PMYF, from which scholarship awards are granted annually to deserving recipients.
The exact number and amount of awards disbursed each year varies according to the revenue available from the fund and the number of qualified applicants. To date, the competitive program has granted over 688 awards to students across Pennsylvania, totaling well over $1,000,000.
Selected recipients are to use the received grants towards undergraduate tuition and fees alone. Applicants are selected by a committee based on basic eligibility criteria, which includes academic performance, financial need, fraternal involvement and extracurricular activities.
To qualify for a PMYF scholarship, an applicant must be a member in good standing of a Pennsylvania Masonic Lodge, his child, stepchild, grandchild, great-grandchild, sibling or dependent; or a present or former member of one of the Masonic-related youth groups; or a resident or graduate of the Masonic Children’s Home.
Candidates must be a high school graduate or a high school senior pursuing higher education, upholding a minimum 3.0 GPA. The level of academic performance and specific achievements in the past is a crucial factor in the recipient selection process.
For all available scholarships, PMYF requires applicants to meet the financial need standards according to a range of household incomes. If an applicant’s household has a high income, relative to the number of individuals in their family, they should not expect to receive an award. However, special financial circumstances will be considered if communicated appropriately.
Although direct membership in a Masonic Lodge or Masonic Youth Group is not required for a scholarship award, it is a key advantage in the selection process. When choosing recipients, those who display remarkable success and participation in extracurricular activities are more likely to be qualified.
Interested individuals should visit the “Scholarships” tab on the drop-down menu. Here, applicants can refer to the Masonic Scholarship Resource Guide (MSRG) to navigate the application process and browse the available scholarship opportunities.
Candidates should visit the “Applications” tab to download and fill out the desired scholarship application online or visit the PMYF office to obtain a hard copy. Once the application is filled out, individuals should print and mail it to PMYF, postmarked by March 15. It is imperative that candidates use the current year’s application, as previous years will be disregarded immediately. The application changes each year.
Those wanting to apply for a scholarship and seeking a fair appraisal of the provided information should note these tips and tricks:
- When possible, the application should be typed.
- Take all sections of the application seriously, and fill out the required information with honesty. If an item does not apply, simply write NA.
- Follow all directions listed on the application. Directions will vary depending on the specific scholarship application you choose.
- Fill out all sections of the application, and if needed, attach additional material or documentation to elaborate.
- Please include only those attachments that have been requested. Letters of reference are not asked for and will not be reviewed. Additional attachments like this only slow down the evaluation process.
- Use the checklist in the application to ensure you give PMYF all required documentation.
- Focus on the quality and content of your writing by giving an appropriate amount of time and effort. The PMYF committee looks for thoughtful responses that exemplify a candidate’s personality, ability and need.
- Hand in your scholarship application early. All applications are to be postmarked by March 15 of the current year and sent directly to the PMYF. Late applications will be disqualified.
Past recipients have expressed their sincere appreciation for the PMYF Scholarship program, as the support allowed them to concentrate on their education with less financial stress.
“The scholarships I have received from the Freemasons have been immensely helpful to me,” Samuel, a previous PMYF scholarship recipient, said. “If it weren’t for this financial aid, I simply would not have been able to attend college.”
PMYF welcomes and encourages all eligible individuals to apply. The scholarship program has allowed the Masonic fraternity to fulfill its commitment to serve young individuals, specifically those wanting to pursue higher education and impact their community.