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Meeting Street Scholarship Fund Welcomes 96 in its Inaugural Class



Press Release

The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, a new initiative that aims to support high-achieving Charleston County graduates in paying for college, is proud to announce the first class of Meeting Street Scholarship recipients. These 96 scholars will begin their college journeys in the fall.

The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund awards each qualifying student up to $10,000 annually for a total of up to $40,000 over four years. By 2024, the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund will support nearly 500 scholars, providing approximately $5 million each year. The Fund works in close partnership with Charleston County School District to identify and assist potential applicants.

“One emotion I felt when I got the scholarship was excitement,” said America Fernandez-Gamboa, 2021 scholarship recipient. “I would like to send my deepest thanks for believing in all of us, that we could do it, and that we deserve this chance.”

Ben and Kelly Navarro, who founded the Meeting Street Scholarship, hope that many more students will achieve the academic results needed to qualify over time.  The Scholarship makes the dream of college financially attainable for every eligible student in Charleston County.

“We are inspired by these students, who have faced and overcome many challenges on the path to college acceptance. Their families are rooting for them, we are rooting for them, and the Charleston community is rooting for them,” said Ben Navarro. “Kelly and I are proud to be a part of the team that created this opportunity, which builds on the lessons from the past decade of work with Meeting Street Schools.  We hope that we can continue this momentum and open pathways for thousands more students to achieve their dreams.”

The $10,000 annual scholarship award will help fill any gap remaining after earning Pell Grants and SC LIFE scholarships, as the price of tuition at most higher education institutions continues to far outpace family incomes.

Any Charleston County high school graduate of traditional or public charter schools who meets the following criteria is eligible to earn the scholarship:
  • Graduate in 2021 from a Charleston County public high school or eligible charter high school
  • Earn LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship
  • Meet two of the following three requirements:
    • Earn at least a 3.0 GPA in high school
    • Score at least 1100 on SAT or 24 on ACT
    • Rank in the top 30% of their graduating class
  • Qualify for a Federal Pell Grant by completing FAFSA
  • Attend one of the eligible SC colleges and universities with a track record of graduating students on time
“Spending time with the inaugural class of Meeting Street Scholars has reignited my belief that anything is possible for every student in South Carolina. We can continue to build partnerships across our community to address our state’s most pressing educational opportunities,” says Josh Bell, Director at the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund. “After a successful inaugural scholarship cycle, we are thinking big about growing this initiative and welcoming even more Meeting Street Scholars in 2022.”

The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund application for the class of 2022 will open later this fall. To learn more about the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, visit
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