On Saturday, January 15, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) will begin accepting applications for more than $1 million in scholarships and grants available to individuals pursuing a secondary degree in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.

These scholarships and grants seek to lighten the financial burden of secondary education and support future leaders in the industry. In 2021, the NRAEF awarded $1.1 million in scholarships and individual grants to more than 300 students at more than 130 colleges and universities across 44 states and territories. Nearly 60 percent of 2021 scholarship recipients were Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); half were first-generation college students; and 70 percent were women.

“I plan to use my education to open up my own high-end pastry shop that gives back to the community in a meaningful way, both by employing people with barriers to employment through job training programs and also by giving a percentage of proceeds back to the community,” says Stephanie Loo, a 2021 NRAEF scholarship recipient who is majoring in baking and pastry arts at the Institute of Culinary Education. “My dream to own a pastry shop is an opportunity to bring joy to a neighborhood and grow employees from all walks of life. The financial assistance through NRAEF is a huge help in realizing both my short-term and long-term career goals.”

NRAEF scholarships range from $2,500 to $10,000 and can be used towards tuition and fees, books, room and board, as well as other school-related expenses. The scholarships have no age restrictions. All who are pursuing higher education in a restaurant, foodservice and hospitality related field are encouraged to apply – including recent high-school graduates, military service members, adults looking to make a career change or individuals at various education levels.

“These scholarships are intended to help the next generation of leaders in our industry realize their dreams through higher education,” says Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. “Their resilience, talent and energy will be crucial in the years ahead, and I hope everyone eligible will take the time to apply.”

This year’s NRAEF scholarships are funded by numerous partners, including:

  • Burger King Foundation
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers
  • Hormel
  • The J.M. Smucker Company
  • PepsiCo
  • Rachael Ray Foundation
  • Rich Family Foundation
  • SPB Foundation
  • Women's Foodservice Forum
  • Yum-o!

The deadline to apply is March 15, 2022, and applications can be completed through the NRAEF’s online portal.