Elks Scholarship

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What is the Elks Scholarship?

The Elks Scholarship comes from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. It is a kind of financial aid that you don’t repay and offsets the costs of any undergraduate studies.

A fraternal order, the Elks organization has hundreds of thousands of members in the United States. They’ve been around for 150 years and award millions in Elks scholarships. Each program comes with a set of criteria to meet. 

For this one, any high school senior who is a citizen of the United States may apply. These four year scholarships renew each year if the selected student keeps up good academic standing. 

If you are chosen, the award comes with a Certificate of Award from the ENF. ENF is Elks National Foundation. It is the charitable arm of the Elks Organization. 

For 2020, the ENF plans to award a total of $24 million to 500 finalists. Twenty top awards range from $20,000 to $50,000. Another 480 runners up take away $4,000 each. 

To qualify and apply for Elks scholarship, you could meet the following requirements: 

  • Don’t need to be a member of the Elks or related to one
  • Must be a high school senior or currently in high school 
  • Must be a U.S. citizen on the date of your application (not a permanent resident)
  • Have and show leadership qualities
  • Must show financial need 

As you might guess, there are lots of competition for these funds. There are 500 winners, but the ENF caps the number of recipients in each state. So make sure to submit everything early before the application deadline. 

What Elks Scholarship Programs Can You Apply to?

There are four Elks scholarships from the Elks National Foundation to apply to. Each one comes with separate instructions and criteria. 

Most Valuable Student Elk Scholarship

The Most Valuable Student Scholarship also goes by the name MVS Scholarship. It is available to high school seniors who are U.S. citizens.

Eligible applicants do not need to be a relative of an Elk member. Instead, the selection process looks at academics, leadership, service and financial need.

If you qualify, you must complete it online by the application deadline. Eligible male and female applicants compete separately. 

There are 500 winners and award amounts range from $1,000 to $12,500 per year. Each award is for a student pursuing a four year degree on a full time basis. 

The top 20 finalists traditionally take part in an all expenses paid Leadership Weekend in Chicago. During the weekend, they each interview with the national judges. The finalists will compete for the following placements:  

  • Two first place awards of $50,000 each
  • Two second place awards of $40,000 each
  • Two third place awards of $30,000 each

The remaining 14 finalists will receive awards of $20,000. The 480 runners up will receive fifth place scholarships of $4,000.

Elks Legacy Awards

Legacy Awards are $4,000 scholarships available to children and grandchildren of Elks members. The Foundation will offer a total of 350 awards in the 2021 contest. Each state is eligible to receive a number of awards based on its past support of the Elks National Foundation. 

To qualify, you must be a high school senior and U.S. citizen. Eligible applicants must also meet the following requirements:

  • Any child or grandchild (or step child, step grandchild, or legal ward) of a living Elk who joined the order on or before April 1, 2018 or charter member of a Lodge set up on or after April 1, 2018
  • The Elk must also be a paid up member through March 31, 2021
  • Great grandchildren are not eligible

If you are selected as a Legacy Awards recipient, you must perform service once a year with an Elks Lodge during the four years you receive this Elks scholarship. 

Emergency Educational Grants

These grants help the children of disabled or deceased Elks members. Each grant is a one year renewable award of up to $5,000. It is for use at an accredited U.S. college or university as a full-time (12 semester hours) undergraduate student.

The aim of the grant is to help offset the cost of a college degree. The amount you receive tends to reflect your financial need. You may apply up to 4 times as long as you meet the following criteria: 

  • Elk parent or stepparent must have been a member in good standing for at least one year at the time of his or her death, or
  • Must have been a member in good standing for at least one year before he or she became totally disabled and must continue to be an Elk in good standing when you apply.
  • You must be a single (unmarried) student under the age of 24 

Elks Gunther Lee Weigel Medical School Scholarships

This year, eight (8) $26,000 scholarships were available to Elks scholars (current or alum) entering their first year of medical school. 

This Elks scholarship was set up through the generosity of the late Lee Weigel, widow of Gunther Weigel. It is not for the general public but if you are an eligible Elk member, it could help pay for medical school.

What are the Elks Lodges?

Elks lodges are communities. There are now about 200 of them all over the country. Each is a place where neighbors gather, friends share meals and children grow up. Members invest more than $80,000,00 per year on programs that help youth, veterans and people with disabilities. 

The non political mission of the Elks is to put into practices four principles. Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity. They do this through fellowship, patriotism and programs that show Elks Care and Elks Share. 

Grand Lodge Convention

The Grand Lodge is a national convention to connect with all Elks members nationwide. Due to COVID 19, the 156th annual Grand Lodge Session in Baltimore, Maryland will not take place. The convention is important to the Order because members may elect Grand Lodge Officers and vote on legislation and new budget.

Scholarship Awards

Each year, the Elks National Foundation awards more than $3 million in college scholarships. These go to at least 800 talented and service minded high school seniors.

Elks National Veterans Service Commission 

Grants to Elks lodges fosters a connection with veterans and military members in their communities. Each month, Elks volunteers provide direct service to veterans in more than 330 facilities. Some of these efforts are adaptive sports programs and therapy kits. The Welcome Home Initiative reaches out to vulnerable (homeless) veterans in need.

Hoop Shoot

The Elks Hoop Shoot is a free throw program for youth ages 8 to 13. It exists for nearly 50 years and gets kids involved in contests at the lodge closest to their community.

Elks Drug Awareness Education Program (DAP)

The largest volunteer drug awareness program in the U.S. It was set up to warn primary grade students and their parents about the dangers of drug use.

Community Investment Programs

Each year, the Elks release funds for grants. This year, they plan to put $3.7 million towards Spotlight Grants. These $2,000 grants are available to every Lodge to shine the light on COVID 19 relief. Other grants go towards five areas of increased need:

  1. Employment
  2. Homelessness / housing
  3. Military families
  4. Health
  5. Educational Support

How Do You Become an Elk Member?

Proposal for membership in the Order is through invitation only from a member in good standing. Members are only American citizens who believe in God, have good morals and are at least 21 years old. 

You may find the B.P.O. Elks Membership Form at www.elks.org. But, you must look for an Elks sponsor. Any member in good standing from any lodge in the country may sponsor you. You also need two other Elks as references. 

Next, the Lodge Secretary will read your application at a regular Lodge meeting. Then, he/she forwards it to the Investigating Committee. From there, you should get a call to set up an interview. 

After the interview, there is a vote. If you are approved, you and your spouse present yourselves for an indoctrination. This is basically a time to learn about the Order’s programs and charities. 

Here are some recent service activities from local lodges:

  • Vancouver Elks Officers and their Past Exalted Ruler Association (PERA) loaded up three cars with 629 pounds of food and two checks totaling $3,000. Then they delivered it to the Clark County Food Bank.
  • Elks in Alexandria, VA., hold a soup kitchen at the Lodge each weekday at lunch, serving 30 people, many of whom are veterans.
  • Wheeling, West VA., Elks Lodge hosts local youth once a week for a wholesome meal. They also help with homework and invite community leaders to speak at the meals.
  • Elks in Lockport, N.Y., provide an annual weeklong summer camp tailored to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Since 1868, millions and millions of Americans have joined the Elks. If you are already an Elk, you might invite a friend to join and keep this wonderful organization going strong!

List of Elks Scholarships

Elks Scholarship 2024 List

Most Valuable Student Scholarship Competition

U.S. high school seniors who plan to enroll as full-time college freshmen are eligible for this award. Applicants will be judged on scholarship, leadership, and financial need; applicants need not be related to a member of the Elks to apply.
Award Amount

Total:  $3125000000

Awards:  500


Deadline:  November 15

Emergency Educational Grant

This grant is for U.S. students of deceased or totally disabled Elk Lodge members. Students must demonstrate financial need and have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
Award Amount

Total:  $20000

Awards:  2


Deadline:  November 01

Gunther & Lee Weigel Medical School Scholarships

These scholarships were established to help Elks scholars pursue a career in medicine. This year, eight (8) $26,000 scholarships were offered exclusively to Elks scholars (current or alum)** entering their first year of medical school in 2020. The deadline for the 2020 contest has passed.
Award Amount

Total:  $1664000

Awards:  8


Deadline:  May 24