BROOKFIELD, WI — The Funeral Service Foundation is now accepting online applications for academic scholarships, Professional Women’s Conference scholarships, and Career Development scholarships.

Academic Scholarships

Scholarships for U.S. and Canadian Military Veterans

Up to 27 academic scholarships are available, ranging from $2,500-$5,000 USD each, including two scholarships offered specifically for U.S. and Canadian military veterans. The application deadline for all academic scholarships is November 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM CST. Recipients will be announced in early December. 

New this year, the Funeral Service Foundation, in equal partnership with the ICCFA Educational Foundation, will offer two academic scholarships to U.S. and Canadian military veterans, as part of the joint Journey to Serve initiative. The scholarships are designed to help veterans continue their call of duty in a funeral service or deathcare career honoring the values revered in every branch of the military: respect, dedication, and commitment to community.

A $5,000 Journey to Serve Scholarship is available to U.S. or Canadian military veterans who are 18 years of age or older at the time of application and who are currently enrolled or accepted into an ABFSE- or Canadian-accredited funeral service program. The $2,500 Hunter M. Harbeson Memorial Scholarship is open to U.S. military veterans who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of application and who are currently enrolled or accepted into an ABFSE-accredited funeral service program.

“Our foundations recognize that recruiting and hiring great talent is a top priority for the funeral service and deathcare profession,” said Funeral Service Foundation Executive Director Lee Wiensch, CRFE and ICCFA Educational Foundation President Jim Price in a joint statement. “Together, we are proud to offer academic scholarships to military veterans pursuing a career in a profession that values the call to serve others.” 

Academic Scholarships for Funeral Service Education Students

An additional 25 scholarships are available for students who are actively pursuing degrees in funeral service from ABFSE- or Canadian-accredited programs at the time of application. Students who are enrolled but have not yet begun coursework at the time of application are not yet eligible to apply for these non-military veteran scholarships. Paid directly to institutions, the scholarships offset the costs associated with tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Twenty-four academic scholarships were awarded earlier this year.

“The Foundation has a strongly held belief that access to education is essential to a fulfilling funeral service career,” said Wiensch. “This year, we’re on track to award more than $150,000 in academic scholarships. We look forward to impacting the academic experience of 51 students embarking on a first or next career.”

The Foundation offered its first academic scholarship, the Joseph E. Hagan Memorial Scholarship in 2001. In the two decades since, additional scholarships were established in memory of Shipley Rose Buckner and Dennis Schoepp, and in honor of Steve Lang. Memorial Classic Scholarships are funded by tournament proceeds from the annual golf event, and Foundation ’45 Scholarships are awarded in recognition of the Foundation’s founding year, 1945. The Foundation also promotes the Brenda Renee Horn and Steve Mack Memorial Scholarships in partnership with the SCI National Scholarship Program.

Application Process

Using a common application format, all academic scholarship candidates are required to answer five questions in no more than 250 words per question, and submit a brief video, no longer than two minutes. 

The Foundation’s twofold approach to the application process gives each candidate ample opportunity to showcase their passion for funeral service, their commitment to education, and their dedication to serving grieving families.

Additional support materials, such as transcripts, letters of good standing, letters of recommendation and headshots must also be submitted by the November 1 deadline. Late applications are not accepted. Those who have applied in the past but have not been awarded an academic scholarship from the Foundation are encouraged to re-apply. 

The Foundation issues a call for academic scholarships twice per year – February 1-April 15, and September 15- November 1. Interested candidates may apply online at

NFDA Professional Women’s Conference Scholarships

The Foundation is now accepting online applications to attend the November 12-14 Professional Women’s Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, brought to you by NFDA and FSAC/ASFC. The application deadline is October 3 at 11:59 PM CST. Recipients will be announced in early October.

Five scholarships, valued at up to $1,500, are available to female and non-binary funeral service professionals and students. The award covers registration fees, two nights of lodging, and up to $500 in travel reimbursement. Candidates will be asked to answer four questions in no more than 250 words per question, and submit a brief video, no longer than two minutes. 

“The Foundation has supported this event for more than 35 years because spending time in community with others is vital to this profession,” said Wiensch. “The Funeral Service Foundation is honored to help bring together female and non-binary persons to network, learn, and connect.” 

Career Development Scholarships

Career Development Scholarships are available to all licensed funeral directors looking to grow through professional development and continuing education. Valued at up to $500, the awards underwrite registration fees for a single NFDA Cremation 

Certification, Arranger Training or Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC) session of the recipient’s choosing. 

“We began offering the scholarships in 2017 to help funeral directors access quality, innovative education,” said Wiensch. “The program continues to grow year over year. More than 300 licensed funeral directors have received scholarships, adding fulfillment to their careers and value to their firms.”

The Foundation accepts names for Career Development Scholarships throughout the year. Those interested may submit their names online at Applicants must answer the question “Why is continuing education important to you?” and write a 10-word personal epitaph. Recipients are announced on a rolling basis. Information about each of these innovative training programs is available on the NFDA website,

About the Funeral Service Foundation
Since 1945, the Funeral Service Foundation has served as the philanthropic voice of the funeral profession and has identified as the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association since 1997. Donors and volunteer leaders profession-wide support the Foundation in its mission of investing in people and programs to strengthen funeral service and lift up grieving communities.

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