BNSF College Scholarship Program Offers Helping Hand to Employees' Dependents

The BNSF Foundation is proud of BNSF's more than 50-year tradition of commitment to higher education through its scholarship opportunities.

One of the most successful and significant scholarship programs BNSF funds is the BNSF College Scholarship Program for high school seniors who are dependents of BNSF employees, retirees or furloughed employees. The BNSF Foundation awards up to 40 scholarships annually through an online application process administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services (ISTS). These scholarships carry awards of either $5,000 per year renewable for up to three additional years if a student is selected as a National Merit Scholar or $2,500 per year renewable for up to three additional years if the student is selected as a BNSF Scholarship winner. To be eligible for consideration, the student must be the dependent of a BNSF active or furloughed employee or retiree, a senior in high school and be able to provide an official SAT or ACT score prior to the application deadline.

All winners are selected solely by ISTS. BNSF has no input in the selection process, except to confirm parental employment.

The BNSF Foundation is precluded by the Internal Revenue Code from sponsoring individuals and, therefore, cannot offer scholarships for individual programs or for attendance at events for which employees' children have won special honors or prizes. Also, the BNSF Foundation cannot offer support for graduate school assistance or for higher education beyond the initial bachelor's degree or its equivalent.

Information about scholarship applications and deadlines for the 2015-2016 school year can be found in the Fall 2014 issue of Railway Magazine.

General information about BNSF scholarships

  • BNSF scholarships are in the amount of $2,500 each annually and are not based on financial need.
  • Scholarships are renewable for three additional years, provided the recipient attends as a full-time student and makes satisfactory academic progress.
  • The scholarships will be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for course load.
  • Institutions must be accredited, nonprofit four-year colleges/universities in the United States.
  • A student may transfer from one institution to another and retain the award.

What are the selection criteria?

An independent selection committee will evaluate the applications and select the winners.

The committee will consider:
  • Academic records
  • Community and/or school activity involvement
  • Essay content
  • Timely and accurate completion of the scholarship competition application

How do the National Merit Scholarships and BNSF Scholarships correlate?

  • The BNSF Foundation also funds National Merit Scholarships each year for eligible students who become finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • A student cannot win more than one foundation-funded scholarship.
  • Students who are awarded National Merit Scholarships will be withdrawn from consideration for the BNSF Foundation Scholarships.
  • For information about qualifying for these scholarships, obtain a PSAT/NMSQT Student Bulletin from your high school guidance counselor.