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The James F. Byrnes Foundation Scholarships, Building South Carolina Leaders

Pop Byrnes

Seldom does a man significantly affect the world around him during a lifetime. A remarkably fewer number continue to influence other lives after their own passing. One of these remarkable men was James Francis Byrnes, South Carolina's most distinguished citizen.

His career in public service is well documented in the history of the 20th century. When one looks at his brilliant career in public service, it becomes even more remarkable that he said on many occasions that the most rewarding thing that he and Mrs. Byrnes ever did in their long lives was to start the James F. Byrnes Foundation, which has provided the means and the inspiration for hundreds of South Carolina's young men and women to achieve college educations. His legacy is continued in the lives of these men and women who proudly bear the designation Byrnes Scholars.

In 1949 the scholarship award was $500 per year. Now the amount is $5,000 and is renewable annually for as many as four years if the student is making satisfactory progress towards a degree. To date, over $3,500,000 has been spent on scholarships and student activities. Despite these impressive figures, Byrnes Scholarships are not simply cash awards. Other benefits include a summer luncheon, fall dinners, and a weekend retreat at Garden City Beach, SC, in the spring.

In 1964, a separate voluntary organization was formed by recipients of Byrnes Foundation Scholarships and functions as a supporting arm to the Foundation. More than 1,000 James F. Byrnes Scholarships have been awarded since 1949 -- young men and women who constitute a living memorial to "Mom" and "Pop" Byrnes. There are usually about 25 Byrnes Scholars attending the college of their choice during a given year.

Eligibility And Requirements For Byrnes Scholarships

Since the first scholarships were awarded by Governor James F. Byrnes in 1949, more than 1,000 young South Carolinians have been assisted in obtaining a college education.

Eligibility requirements are:

  1. Applicant must have lost one or both parents by death.
  2. Be a South Carolina resident and a United States citizen.
  3. Be a current Senior in High School.
  4. Plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree at an accredited four-year college or university as a freshman.
  5. Have financial need and a satisfactory scholastic record.
  6. It is important that excellence in character, ability and enterprise be shown to indicate that the individual will make worthwhile contributions to society.

Scholarship recipients are named by the directors of The James F. Byrnes Foundation after preliminary screening to determine semifinalists and personal interviews with those semifinalists. Scholarships are for four years (or less for students already in college) and are contingent upon the recipient's maintenance of adequate academic standing, personal involvement in the program for Byrnes Scholars and continuing need for financial assistance. Application blanks are available from the Foundation office in Columbia or by downloading from this site using the link below, and completed applications are to be submitted by snail-mail to that office by February 6 of the scholarship year. The new scholars are announced in May, and the scholarships become effective for the school term beginning the following fall.

A Byrnes Scholarship, More Than Money

The James F. Byrnes Foundation is unique among such foundations because of its emphasis on personal involvement with those who are awarded scholarships. All students in college are expected to participate in three activities during the year. Many former scholarship recipients also attend these functions.

    Pop Byrnes and The 1951 Byrnes Scholars
  1. The annual luncheon (second Saturday in June). The annual luncheon, planned by the alumni group known as The Byrnes Scholars, is held in Columbia, SC, the second Saturday of every June. The highlights of the luncheon include introducing the new Byrnes Scholars to "the family" and honoring the graduating seniors
  2. Fall dinners (September and October). The fall dinners provide small group settings that give the students the opportunity to get to know each other. They are usually held in September and October in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, and Rock Hill.
  3. Super Weekend (third weekend in March). Say "Super Weekend" and Byrnes Scholars know it is the third weekend in March and it is time to head for Garden City Beach, SC, where FUN, FOOD, and FELLOWSHIP are the key ingredients for what has been described as: "fantastic," "unforgettable" and "the best time of my life!!" by scholars.

2024 Application Process Closed

The application process for 2024 is closed. Scholarship announcements will be posted to the website in early June. The application for 2025 will be available December 2024. Please check back then.

Donate To The Foundation

In return for their generosity and support, Mom and Pop Byrnes asked only two things from us: become the very best people we could become in life, and make sure their legacy of family continues for those who come after us.

Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the James F. Byrnes Foundation to secure its ability to invite more deserving young women and men to join the Byrnes family, both now and in the future. The Donate button will take you to the Paypal site where you can use your credit card or Paypal account to make a secure, one-time donation or set up a monthly recurring donation.

Join the Maude's Angels Network

Maude’s Angels is family helping family. It is a network of former Scholars who assist a current Scholar or Alumnus with a need for an item or service.

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© 1998-2024 Byrnes Scholars. All Rights Reserved.
The James F. Byrnes Foundation
Post Office Box 6781
Columbia, SC 29260-6781
Tel.: (803) 254-9325