The James F. Byrnes Foundation Scholarships,
Building South Carolina Leaders
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
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
In 1949 the scholarship award was $500 per year. Now the amount is $4,500
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
"Mom" and "Pop" Byrnes. There are usually about 25
Byrnes Scholars attending the college of their choice during a given
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:
- Applicant must have lost one or both parents by death.
- Be a South Carolina resident and a United States citizen.
- Be a current Senior in High School.
- Plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree at an accredited four-year college or university as a freshman.
- Have financial need and a satisfactory scholastic
- It is important that excellence in character, ability and enterprise
be shown to indicate that the individual will make worthwhile contributions
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.
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
- 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.
- 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
"fantastic," "unforgettable" and "the best
time of my life!!" by scholars.