As students continue to navigate the college application process through the holidays, parents are focusing more and more on the cost and affordability of higher education. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center report weighing the cost and value of a college education, nine-in-ten parents who have at least one child under 18 say they expect their child to attend college, despite 75 percent of Americans who say it is too expensive for most to afford.  To help alleviate the heavy burden of paying for college, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC) of Southern California will award $338,000 in scholarship funds to deserving high school seniors who reside in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The 2014/2015 online application period will be open until January 20, 2015 and interested students should visit to apply.

“The cost of a college education shouldn’t be a barrier for students who are truly driven to achieve their dreams,” said Vince Bryson, CEO, RMHC of Southern California. “Since 1990, we have committed millions to helping Southland students take advantage of all the opportunities that a higher education affords.”

This year the organization will award 109 scholarships through its four programs including: RMHC /African American Future Achievers, RMHC/Asian Pacific American Students Increasing Achievement (ASIA), RMHC/Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources (HACER) and RMHC/Scholars. Scholarship funds can be applied toward tuition, fees and other appropriate educational expenses.

To be eligible for the scholarships, applicants must be currently-enrolled high school seniors who are eligible to attend a two- or four-year postsecondary institution following graduation. They must be legal U.S. residents, be less than 21 years of age, have a minimum 2.7 grade point average and reside within the boundaries of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Since 1990, RMHC of Southern California has awarded more than $4.8 million in scholarship funds to local students to help make their college education dreams a reality. Funding for the scholarships is made possible through the global and Southern California chapters of RMHC and the fundraising efforts of local McDonald’s owner/operators and corporate staff. The McDonald’s Operators’ Association of Southern California (MOASC) pays for all administrative costs of the scholarship programs including the production and distribution of applications and a recipient recognition event, which will be held in May 2015.

For more than 35 years, RMHC of Southern California has been committed to providing comfort, care and support to children and families in Southern California. RMHC of Southern California is dedicated to creating a community where children and their families embrace life and healing with a sense of hope, enthusiasm, courage and joy by operating six Ronald McDonald Houses, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and a Community Grants Board.