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Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship Program

Raleigh banker Victor E. Bell, Jr. was appointed by Governor Terry Sanford to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for College Foundation, Inc. (the “Foundation”) in 1962. Serving in this capacity for thirty years until his retirement in 1992, Vic Bell was committed to the Foundation and its mission to assist North Carolinians in paying for higher education.

A life-long resident of Raleigh, NC, Vic Bell was a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked with First Citizens Bank for 23 years, becoming senior vice president. He founded Bell’s Carpets, Bell’s Linen Closet, and Marjan Ltd.

In addition to his community service to the Foundation, he served as Chairman of the YMCA of the Triangle Area, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the College and the Raleigh Little Theatre. He also took leadership roles with Ravenscroft School, White Memorial Presbyterian Church and Meredith College.

In 1962, when the Trustees determined that the primary goal of the Foundation would be the operation of a student loan program, funded by banks and administered by the Foundation, Mr. Bell personally visited banks across the state to recruit funding support.

At the 1988 groundbreaking of the Foundation’s office building on Yonkers Road named in his honor, Mr. Bell said "Our business is investing in the future - in young people, in students. We wish to make opportunities for them and for the state."

On March 27, 1985, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees established the Special Scholarship Fund in honor of his many years of service to the Foundation as Chairman of the Board. Since inception, additional contributions have been made to the Special Scholarship Fund, particularly to honor his memory after his death in 2005 and from rental income designated from the Foundation’s building named for him.

Through awards from the Special Scholarship Fund, the Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship Program will honor Mr. Bell’s vision and selfless service and benefit new generations of students by enabling them to enhance their potential and future contribution to North Carolina.

The Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship Program has been established to encourage and assist high potential North Carolina students with limited financial resources to pursue higher education.

Awarded to seventh grade students and renewable through four years of college as long as annual eligibility requirements are met, the Scholarship Program encourages students with academic ability and promise to maintain their scholastic standing and achieve a college degree. 

Each individual scholarship award shall be $2,000 per recipient per year up to a maximum total contribution of $20,000 unless a change in the availability of Scholarship Program funds or college costs requires an adjustment in the amount of future awards. 

The award for each recipient will be contributed annually to an account in North Carolina’s National College Savings Program with the Foundation as the account owner and the individual recipient as the beneficiary (“NC 529 Account”).  New recipients will be selected each year.

Funds from the NC 529 Account established for a recipient may be used only for the purpose of education in a baccalaureate or an associate degree program at an Eligible Institution of higher education in North Carolina and for payment of Qualified Higher Education Expenses as allowed under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Initial Eligibility

To be nominated for the Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship, the student must:

  1. be a seventh-grader;
  2. be a resident of North Carolina;
  3. be a citizen or national of the United States or provide evidence from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of intent to gain status as an Eligible Non-Citizen;
  4. have demonstrated above-average academic performance that predicts the potential for future academic success that includes the following indicators:
    1. End of 6th grade year report card with A or B grades and
  5. provide confirmation by an authorized school official that the nominee’s family has provided evidence of family income and family size appropriate to qualify for federal and/or school guidelines for free/reduced lunch or other need-based assistance and, therefore, meets the financial need criteria of the Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship Program
  6. have had no expulsions or Long Term Suspensions; and
  7. have provided a signed Parent or Guardian Consent Form authorizing the student’s school to provide the Foundation with the student's grades, enrollment status, academic progress, and other personal information required for initial and subsequent scholarship eligibility. The Parent or Guardian Consent Form also gives the Foundation permission to publicize the nomination and, if applicable, the selection of the student as a Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholar, and authorizes the Foundation to release the student's and the parent's or guardian's contact information for publicity purposes or other college access opportunities. The Parent or Guardian Consent Form also confirms the signatory's agreement to encourage participation in the college access activities that may be part of this Scholarship Program.

A nomination from a middle school or a college readiness/access group must be certified and signed by the school counselor and principal of the school attended by the nominee ("Nomination Form"). Each Nomination Form must also be accompanied by the Parent or Guardian Consent Form and submitted directly to the Foundation.

Invitation to Nominate: Middle Schools and College Readiness/Access Groups

The Foundation will send out letters inviting nominations from middle schools and approved college readiness/access groups. The Foundation will also advertise the opportunity on the middle school counselor listserv with information to contact the Foundation for a Nomination Form and Parent or Guardian Consent Form.

Eligible College Readiness/Access Groups

To be considered for participation in the nomination process, college readiness/access groups must provide the Foundation with the following:

  • Evidence of work with middle school students that qualifies the group to identify and nominate eligible candidates;
  • Evidence of an on-going schedule during the school year of providing student academic and mentoring meetings and programs to improve readiness for college; and
  • Data to document program success rate.


Decisions on inclusion in the nomination process will be at the sole discretion of the Foundation.

Nomination Limit

Each middle school and each approved college readiness/access group may submit one nomination each which certifies the nominee eligibility and includes the Parent or Guardian Consent Form.

Submission of Nominations

Nomination Forms and the corresponding Parent or Guardian Consent Forms must be returned to the Foundation:

  • By mail to the address on the Nomination Form: Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship Program, College Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 41966, Raleigh, NC 27629-1966, or
  • By fax to 919-835-2383, or
  • By email to [email protected].


The regional CFNC representative listed for the North Carolina telephone area code from which the nominations are submitted serves as the local contact for the Scholarship Program. List of Current CFNC Representatives

Deadlines

Foundation Management reserves the right to adjust deadlines set forth in these Policies and Procedures to account for changes in school schedules, test score release dates, or other reasons within its discretion.

Nomination Timeline

A call for nominations of seventh graders will go to middle schools and participating college readiness/access groups by middle to late August. Nominations must be postmarked or received by the Foundation by September 30, or such other date as may be set by Foundation Management, to be included in the selection drawing.

Initial Selection

  1. In mid-October, or such other date as may be set by Foundation Management, Foundation Management will hold a random drawing to select recipients. Six recipients, one from each region of the State, will be selected from the pool of middle school nominations received from school counselors and principals. If sufficient nominations are received from college readiness/access groups, three more recipients will be drawn from the pool. After separate drawings are conducted or if the college readiness/access pool is found insufficient, the final recipient or recipients will be drawn from a combination of all remaining unselected nominations. After drawing the maximum number of recipients, two additional nominees will be drawn from the remaining unselected nominations and marked as first and second alternates. Alternates will be contacted in the order drawn only if a designated recipient is disqualified or does not respond to the initial scholarship offer.
  2. Generally, ten new recipients will be drawn each year; however, the number may be increased or reduced by the Foundation, depending on funds available and other extenuating circumstances as approved by Foundation Management.

After the initial selection, a recipient will be considered for up to nine renewal awards. The Foundation will send each scholarship recipient’s parent or guardian a saving account statement and an annual renewal notice in mid-August. Upon receipt, the student and parent or guardian will be responsible for requesting that the school counselor return a Renewal Certification Form or college transcript to the Foundation to determine continued eligibility.

Annual Renewal Criteria

For recipients in grades 7 through 11:
To consider a recipient's renewal eligibility, the Foundation must receive appropriate documentation by the end of November of the year following the initial scholarship award or subsequent renewal, or such other date as may be set by Foundation Management, to show that the recipient:

  1. continues to be a resident of North Carolina;
  2. satisfactorily progressed through the grade for which scholarship previously awarded or renewed and is enrolled in the higher level grade following; and
  3. continues to meet grade-level requirements as below:
    1. End of 7th grade: Has made no lower than one C in any Core Course on the final report card, and has had no expulsions or Long Term Suspensions;
    2. End of 8th grade: Has made no lower than one C in any Core Course on the final report card; has signed up to enroll in the appropriate Future-Ready course of study, and has had no expulsions or Long Term Suspensions;
    3. End of 9th Grade: Has earned at least a 2.25 (weighted or unweighted, whichever is higher) cumulative Grade Point Average (“GPA”); is enrolled in and following the Future-Ready course of study; and has had no expulsions or Long Term Suspensions;
    4. End of 10th Grade: Has earned at least a 2.25 (weighted or unweighted, whichever is higher) cumulative GPA; is enrolled in and following the Future-Ready course of study; and has had no expulsions or Long Term Suspensions;
    5. End of 11th Grade: Has earned at least a 2.25 (weighted or unweighted, whichever is higher) cumulative GPA; is enrolled in and following the Future-Ready course of study; and has had no expulsions or Long Term Suspensions (Note: if graduating early, see the end of 12th grade renewal requirements below)
    or, in the case of homeschooled students:

    Provide documentation that student has maintained performance equivalent to each grade level requirement listed in #3 in homeschool courses as demonstrated on the nationally standardized test or test equivalent administered annually

For recipients completing 12th grade or college year: To consider a recipient's renewal eligibility, the Foundation must receive appropriate documentation of acceptance to enroll or enrollment at least half-time in either an associate or baccalaureate degree program in an Eligible Institution in North Carolina (either a copy of the acceptance letter or other documentation of enrollment from the institution) as well as documentation of the items below no later than the end of September of the year following the previous scholarship renewal year, or such other date as may be set by Foundation Management. Funds for which the recipient may be eligible cannot be disbursed until all documentation is received.

  1. End of 12th Grade: Earned at least a 2.25 (weighted or unweighted, whichever is higher) cumulative GPA (must submit an official, sealed high school transcript); earned all credits required in the Future-Ready course of study; have no expulsions or Long Term Suspensions; and be a citizen or national of the United States or an Eligible Non-Citizen; and provide documentation of acceptance or enrollment as outlined above. For homeschool students, demonstrate equivalent standards as measured by the nationally standardized test or test equivalent.
  2. After the college freshman year and for each year of college in which enrolled at least half-time thereafter (up to a maximum of four years), present a certified transcript from the eligible North Carolina institution showing satisfactory progress and at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

The Foundation may change the renewal criteria at any time in its sole discretion and will notify the student, parent or guardian, and school of such change. Any such changes will not apply retroactively.

Ineligibility/Forfeitures

Should Foundation Management determine that a recipient does not meet the specified standards or the recipient fails to provide the required documentation for renewals or disbursements and is, therefore, no longer eligible, the scholarship offer will no longer be in effect. No additional contributions will be made to the NC 529 Account on behalf of the student and no future scholarship funds will be disbursed. Previously awarded scholarship funds and any earnings in the NC 529 Account will be forfeited due to the student's ineligibility and the Account closed. The amount of the scholarship award and interest earned in the Account being closed will then be transferred to a Scholarship Account, with the Foundation as owner and no named Beneficiary. In this way, funds may be transferred from one Account to another, rather than withdrawn, and the forfeited funds can be made available for a future Bell Scholar.

If the only eligibility criteria the recipient does not meet is the requirement to reside and attend school in North Carolina for the full academic year for which renewal is being considered, the NC 529 Account opened on his or her behalf will remain open at the level previously funded prior to the move or attendance at a school out of state. However, no additional contributions will be made nor will funds be awarded to the Account unless the student returns to North Carolina to continue middle or high school on a full-time basis or later enrolls in an Eligible Institution in North Carolina at least half-time in an associate or baccalaureate degree program. It will be the responsibility of the student to contact the Foundation upon his or her return. Funds in the NC 529 Account not disbursed within the expected five years of high school graduation date will be forfeited, although the Foundation may grant exceptions for military service or extenuating circumstances.

Renewal decisions will be made by Foundation Management in its sole discretion.

Exceptional Circumstances

The student is expected to continue to meet the specified standards. If any standard is not met, CFI will communicate with the school counselor to determine if exceptional circumstances may have been involved in the student's failure to meet all renewal standards. If the failure to meet the specified standards appears due to exceptional circumstances, a school official must submit a statement to support their adverse effect on the ability of the student to meet renewal standards.

If no exceptional circumstances exist, but a standard was not met, the student may request Foundation management to consider granting a probationary renewal based on a written explanation of reasons that prevented him or her from fulfilling any requirement for the prior academic year.

CFI will consider information provided by the school official or the student on a case by case basis to determine whether renewal is in order. Final decision to renew will be at the discretion of Foundation Management.

When the inability to meet renewal standards is based on verified exceptional circumstances, the student will be eligible to continue in the scholarship program. Renewals based on exceptional circumstances are not limited to a maximum number or by frequency of occurrence. When no exceptional circumstances exist, the Foundation may grant probationary renewal based on an appeal from the student. No more than two probationary renewals are allowed per individual and they cannot be granted in sequential years.

In any instance that the scholarship is renewed for a student who has not met eligibility standards, the Foundation will track the renewal type and date for use as needed to determine future eligibility.

In addition to considering a school official’s statement regarding exceptional circumstances, the Foundation may grant exceptions for military service.

Renewal Notice

After annual certifications are received, Foundation Management will review and communicate renewal status to each previous scholarship recipient. At the end of each renewal cycle, funds will be deposited to the NC 529 Account established for each student deemed eligible for renewal.

Award Criteria

  1. The student must be a citizen or national of the United States or an Eligible Non-citizen;
  2. The annual award funds will be available from the NC 529 Account on or after July 1 for use during each year of an associate's, bachelor's, or graduate or professional degree program in an Eligible Institution in North Carolina (up to a maximum of four years) as long as the student has completed and returned all required documentation.
  3. The student must request and receive funds by the following method:
    1. Prior to the college freshman year and no later than September 30 after the senior year in high school, or such other date as may be set by Foundation Management, present to the Foundation a copy of the acceptance letter from the Eligible Institution in which the student plans to enroll and Cost of Attendance information from the school. Student must have met the renewal criteria.
    2. After the college freshman year, the student must present the Cost of Attendance information for the coming year and a statement confirming intent to continue enrollment and must meet renewal criteria.
    3. The Foundation will remit a check from the NC 529 Account payable to the Eligible Institution for the benefit of the recipient.
  4. Disbursements shall be used for Qualified Higher Education Expenses allowed under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which include but are not limited to tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment, and certain costs for room and board for students attending at least half-time. Prior to disbursement, the scholarship recipient shall complete and return the certification to the Foundation that funds shall be used only for allowable expenses as described above. No disbursement may exceed the school's estimated Cost of Attendance. Generally, the amounts disbursed to scholarship recipients each year from the NC 529 Account established by the Foundation on his or her behalf may be no more than the amounts as described below.
    1. For students enrolled in a four-year college program (to earn a bachelor’s degree):
      1. Year 1: Current year's scholarship contribution, plus one-fourth of the NC 529 Account balance;
      2. Year 2: Current year's scholarship contribution, plus one-third of the NC 529 Account balance;
      3. Year 3: Current year's scholarship contribution, plus one half of the NC 529 Account balance, and
      4. Year 4: Current year's scholarship contribution, plus the balance remaining in the NC 529 Account.
    2. For students enrolled in a two-year program (to earn an associate’s degree):
      1. Year 1: Current year's scholarship contribution, plus one half of the NC 529 Account balance; and
      2. Year 2: Current year's scholarship contribution, plus the balance remaining in the NC 529 Account.
    3. Any student graduating with an associate's or bachelor's degree who still has a balance remaining in the NC 529 Account established by the Foundation on his or her behalf may use the full remaining balance at any time for graduate or professional degree programs.
    4. The goal of the disbursement schedule is to encourage degree completion by the scholarship recipient. Scholarship recipients who demonstrate a reasonable need for an alternative disbursement schedule will be accommodated, upon approval by Foundation Management.
  5. Funds in the NC 529 Account not disbursed within eight years of high school graduation will be forfeited. (See Ineligibility/Forfeitures section for more information.) Exceptions may be granted by Foundation Management for military service or extenuating circumstances.

Press releases announcing all nominees from a region will be sent out annually to the areas within the region. Each nominee will receive a certificate of achievement.

Annual selection of new Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship recipients will be announced in a separate press release to be sent out statewide. Each recipient will be presented with an additional certificate with the scholarship award indicated.

A database of all nominees will be created in order to issue annual personal invitations to college access activities. These activities will be developed in conjunction with CFNC partners and may include GEAR UP summer workshops, financial literacy programs, college application days, financial aid workshops, college visits, and FAFSA Day.

  • "Core Courses" shall include math, English, social studies, and science courses that are required, not elective courses.
  • "Cost of Attendance" shall mean the student's educational expenses established by the Financial Aid Office of the Eligible Institution in which the student enrolls for the applicable academic year.
  • "Eligible Institution" shall mean any educational institution defined as an eligible educational institution in the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and as also described in such Act.
  • "Eligible Non-Citizen" shall mean a U.S. permanent resident alien with an Alien Registration Card (Form I-151 or I-551) or refugee with a departure record (I-94) from the INS showing one of the following designations (indicating that the refugee is in the United States for other than a temporary purpose):
    • Refugee;
    • Asylum Granted;
    • Alien paroled into the U.S. for at least one year;
    • Alien granted a stay of deportation due to fear of persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion; or
    • Conditional Entrant.
  • "Foundation Management" shall mean the executive management team or Board of Trustees of College Foundation, Inc.
  • "Long Term Suspension" shall mean the removal of a student from school and all related school events/activities for more than 10 days and up to the balance of the semester or year.