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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 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.
A nomination from a middle school or a college readiness/access group must be certified and signed by the school guidance 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.
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.
To be considered for participation in the nomination process, college readiness/access groups must provide the Foundation with the following:
Decisions on inclusion in the nomination process will be at the sole discretion of the Foundation.
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.
Nomination Forms and the corresponding Parent or Guardian Consent Forms must be returned to the Foundation at the address specified on the Nomination Form: Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship Program, College Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 41966, Raleigh, NC 27629. The regional CFNC representative for the North Carolina telephone area code from which the nominations are submitted serves as the local contact for the Scholarship Program. The current list of CFNC representatives is available at https://www.cfnc.org/home/sc/contact_rep.jsp.
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.
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.
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 guidance counselor return a Renewal Certification Form or college transcript to the Foundation to determine continued eligibility.
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 a subsequent renewal, or such other date as may be set by Foundation Management, to show that the recipient:
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 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.
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.
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. In the case the Foundation receives no communication from the student within five consecutive years of his or her departure from the state, funds will be considered forfeited. However, should the student return to North Carolina to attend an in-state institution within five years of his or her high school graduation date, he or she may contact the Foundation upon return and request money in the amount previously available in the account for payments as earlier designated for his or her college expenses at an eligible NC institution. Such amount could be transferred from forfeited funds and earnings moved to a Scholarship Account owned by the Foundation and on which the Foundation was Beneficiary. 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 permanently forfeited, although the Foundation may grant exceptions for military service or extenuating circumstances.
Renewal decisions will be made at the discretion of Foundation Management.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Special Scholarship Fund is intended to be self-sustaining and grow. The Special Scholarship Fund will seek to meet the following goals, to the extent practicable:
Annual reports on the Special Scholarship Fund will be generated for the Foundation's Board of Trustees. Dollars will be reserved from the Special Scholarship Fund for administration of the Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship Program.