2020 Samsung American Legion Scholarships Suspended for 2020
With the unpredictability of the current worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the manner in which the virus spreads, its duration and the resulting public health regulations and restrictions across the nation, The American Legion is facing an improbable situation. The Americanism Commission, in consultation with National Commander James William “Bill” Oxford, announces suspension of the Samsung American Legion Scholarship awards for 2020 (Samsung American Legion Scholarships awarded in years prior to 2020 will continue to be paid out to students upon their requests to receive their funds).
Currently, there are 33 American Legion Boys State and 9 American Legion Auxiliary Girls State programs who have found it necessary to cancel their 2020 programs due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with several more having indicated that cancellation is probable. It is through the Boys State and Girls State programs that youth are afforded eligibility to apply for Samsung American Legion Scholarships. Many, many Boys State and Girl State delegates did not pursue their applications for 2020 Samsung American Legion Scholarships as a result of the scores of Boys State and Girls State program cancellations.
The decision to cancel was extremely difficult but deemed necessary, first and foremost in the interest of health and safety, and in the face of uncertainty. As Americanism Commission Richard Anderson noted, “These times are unparalleled. And while it is distressing to think of all those youth across the nation who are disappointed to learn of the cancellation of American Legion programs this year, it would be a much, much greater tragedy if even just one of those youth were to fall ill during a program. The Americanism Commission feels this is the right thing to do.”
Worldwide electronics leader Samsung endowed a scholarship fund of $5 million to be administered by The American Legion in 1996. Meant to show appreciation for U.S. veterans who came to Korea's aid during its struggle against communist forces in the Korean War, the Samsung American Legion Scholarship Program established a series of scholarships derived from interest and other income from the principal amount. As of 2019 the Samsung American Legion Scholarship has awarded more than $6.5 million in college scholarships to 2,308 applicants since its inception in 1996.
Samsung scholarships may be used for undergraduate studies and applied toward tuition, books, fees, and room and board. Winners are selected according to academic record, involvement in school and community service.
- Ten National Scholars receive $10,000 each (two from each region)
- Ten National Runners-Up receive $5,000 each (two from each region)
- Remaining Department Finalists receive $1,250 each guaranteed
Scholarship applications are restricted to high school juniors who attend the current session of either The American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program and are a direct descendant - i.e. child, grandchild, great grandchild, etc. - or a legally adopted child of a wartime U.S. military veteran who served on active duty during at least one of the periods of war officially designated as eligibility dates for American Legion membership.
Applicants who are direct descendants of Korean War Era Veterans will receive 3 bonus points.
Applicants with membership to the American Legion Auxiliary or Sons of the American Legion will receive a bonus point. Or, they can receive a bonus point by uploading a membership card of a parent. No more than one bonus point for an application.
Proof of Service Documentation
- Form DD214 (Official discharge certificate)
- Official “Honorable Discharge” certificate
- Form DD1300 (Official military death certificate)
- Official record of burial in a military cemetery issued by the National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Current or former military ID card
- Current or former LES (Leave and Earnings Statement)
- Official logbook entries from a military unit
- ANY OTHER DOCUMENT LISTED ON THE “Military Service Verification Documents List” (Linked below)
- Any otherwise “acceptable” document that is illegible
- Pictures of military headstones
- Pictures of servicemembers in uniform
- Entries in non-military and/or non-official records or books
- Membership cards from veterans organizations
- VA Healthcare Cards
The following locations may be of assistance.
- Many certificates of discharge prior to 1979 do not appear to be "official" documents as many were typed onto a sheet of paper. If you are unsure if it is an official document, please ask your American Legion service officer. Department Service Officers are listed by state at https://www.legion.org/serviceofficers or download The American Legion Claims Coach Mobile App through Google Play or ITunes App Store.
- The National Archives and Records Administration: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/index.html
- The County Clerk and Recorders Office where the veteran resided.
- The funeral home may have kept a copy if military honors were provided.
- Monument company if VA headstone or marker was ordered.
- If the veteran had utilized a VA Home Loan there may be a copy of the DD214 with the title documentation.
- Veterans who have signed up for EBENEFITS through the Veterans Administration may be able to obtain a printable copy from https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal
- The State Director of Veterans Affairs may have received a copy of the veterans DD214 at the time of discharge from military service. This will be specific to the state in which the veterans home of record.
Scholarships are due no later than the first day of a participant’s American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program. All applications must be submitted using the online application system by 11:59PM on this day. Applications will not be modified after the due date or given a deadline extension under any circumstance.
Participants should check their individual program coordinator as to whether or not the coordinator desires them to bring a hard copy of their submitted application materials. If a hard copy is required, participants will need to complete their application PRIOR to arrival at their respective program.
For more information