The Trust has made funds available for student financial aid since its inception. The grants are made to full-time undergraduate students at local MSCHE accredited colleges and universities. Students are required to be permanent residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties or the City of Camden, New Jersey. Out-of-State students (with the exception of the City of Camden, New Jersey) who gain residency status due to college enrollment are not eligible for funding.
In the Scholars Program, the number of and percentage of students on aid determine the size of the Trust’s grant to each institution. Further, all stewardship and reporting requirements must have been met in the previous year. The dollar amount of each award made to the individual students, including nontraditional-age students, is determined by the financial aid office at the institutions. The Trust encourages the renewal of the scholarship aid for more than one year. Many students receive a grant for multiple years beginning their freshman year.
It can be noted that many Smith Scholars have gone on to distinguished graduate schools and have excelled in their careers. The Trust can count among them: professors, scientists, editors, elementary, middle and high school teachers, lawyers, stockbrokers, librarians, surgeons, doctors, nurses, software developers, restaurant managers as well as professionals in many other areas.
Finally, because of Bill Smith’s personal interest and love for the sea, the Trustees continue to fund need-certified student scholarships to attend a program of the SEA Education Association, Inc., located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. All students selected for this SEA Program must meet the same requirements as the Trust's Scholars Program and be enrolled full time. The SEA Scholars must demonstrate financial need and meet the Philadelphia area residency requirement. SEA provides one semester of marine education, both ashore and aboard oceanographic research vessels, for full academic credit. There are different curricula for humanities and science majors. Prior sailing experience is not necessary.
The Trustees continue to receive a picture of the Smith Scholar recipients from the hundreds of thank you letters received at the Trust. From a Smith Scholar, now a college professor, “Sometimes a gift, once given can give itself many times over. Thank you for helping to give a college education to me.” The wisdom and importance of accumulated knowledge comes into clearer focus with each passing year. The Trustees remain committed and proud of the Smith Scholars.