Meta: The KFC Scholarship is no longer available to KFC employees, but did you know you can earn up to $3,000 a year in tuition, just by being employed at the fast food chain? It’s true! Employees at all levels, regardless of age, can get help with vocational school, trade school, college, university, or grad school expenses.
KFC is one of the largest fast-food chains in the world, serving its famous Kentucky Fried Chicken (or some version of it) to customers around the glove. KFC also provides scholarship; while a KFC scholarship is no longer offered, employees can receive up to $3,000 a year in tuition assistance through the KFC Foundation.
Keep reading to learn more about what’s offered, whether or not you’re eligible, and how to apply.
KFC has been around since the 1960s when the now-legendary Colonel Sanders (not a colonel in the United States military) realized his fried chicken, made in a pressure fryer with a unique combination of spices, was something special. The Colonel franchised his chicken to a restaurant in Utah.
Today, there are over 16,000 KFC retail outlets (only about five thousand of those are in the United States). Now, the company is owned by YUM! Brands, which also owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. The Colonel’s original vision for KFC included a dedication to quality and a dedication to his employees, and today, the company honors his legacy through the KFC Foundation.
The KFC Foundation helps KFC employees in the United States in several key ways.
First, it assists employees through its REACH program (formerly the KFC Scholarship, which provides college tuition assistance to employees of any age, in any restaurant position, who are pursuing a two-year or four-year degree (including vocational, technical, or grad school).
Second, the KFC Foundation offers assistance through its GED WORKS program by helping employees earn a high school equivalency. The program is available year-round and pairs the employee with a personal advisor. The entire program is free and all-inclusive.
Finally, the KFC Foundation offers assistance through its KFC Family Fund, which assists employees who have been impacted by severe hardship or crisis beyond their control, as well as My Change, which supports employees in their financial goals.
The KFC REACH Educational Grant Program
Ready to learn more about the KFC REACH Educational Grant Program? Initially, KFC provided scholarship assistance through its KFC Scholarship program. Employees could compete to win as much as $20,000 for a four-year degree. In 2013, that program was modified to become the KFC REACH Education Grant Program, which offers assistance in the amounts of $2,000-$3,000 to employees in the US.
How Do I Qualify?
Applications for the KFC REACH scholarship are open twice a year (you can only win once a year, however). To qualify, you must:
- Be a General Manager, Assistant Manager, Shift Supervisor, or Team Member employed at a U.S. KFC
- Have a minimum GPA (grade point average) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
- Be a high school graduate (or equivalent), a high school senior, or a college undergraduate, graduate, or a trade or vocational school student (age does not matter)
- Enroll full-time or part-time in the next academic term (spring or fall) and earn at least 12 credit hours during the next full academic year
- Be employed at a participating KFC restaurant at the time of application and at the time the winners are announced (if the restaurant is owned by the KFC Company, it is a participant in the KFC Foundation’s Cole Slaw Donation program, but not all franchise-owned restaurants participate)
How Can I Check My Restaurant’s Participation?
If the restaurant you’re employed at is listed on the application (available here), it is a participant, and you are eligible. If it’s not listed, you can email [email protected] with your restaurant’s ID, state, city, address, General Manager, and General Manager’s email address.
You should allow up to ten days for eligibility to be verified; if it is verified, it will be added to the eligible restaurant list on the application and you may proceed with your application.
What Can I Win?
The following awards may be provided:
- Team Members or Shift Supervisors can win one of many REACH Educational Grants worth $2,000
- Prior Team Members or Shift Supervisors have won REACH Grants may also win REACH Educational Grants worth $2,000
- Assistant Managers or Restaurant General Managers can win one of many REACH Educational Grants worth $3,000
- The Janet L. Kuhn Scholarship is available to two restaurant employees annually and is an extra $1,000 (the application process is the same as the REACH grants, except that there is an additional essay due with the application)
What Can I Do With My Grant?
Grant checks are normally issued the month before your school start date. The funds are earmarked for use at any two-year or four-year college, university, trade school, or vocational school in the US.
Funds must first be used to pay tuition, fees, and textbooks (these are considered eligible expenses).
Once these eligible expenses have been paid, leftover REACH funds can be used for additional expenses such as transportation fees to and from school, childcare, school supplies (including computers), and others. Email [email protected] with your request to release the remaining funds. Be sure to include proof of full payment of eligible expenses as well as proof of the additional expenses you would like covered with your leftover grant funds.
In addition to requesting the leftover funds from ISTS (International Scholarship and Tuition Services, which handles all scholarship issues for the KFC Foundation), you must also request that your school return the unused funds to ISTS. ISTS will receive the funds from your school and forward your request to the KFC Foundation. If the KFC Foundation approves, you will receive a check from ISTS.
If you are transferring schools, you make also transfer your remaining scholarship funds; the process is similar to that of requesting the remaining funds for additional expenses, as listed above. You must notify ISTS of your school change and request that your first school return the funds to ISTS so that ISTS can release the unused funds to your new institution.
Scholarship to Chegg.com
Also, you may request ISTS to receive up to $500 of your grant funds in a scholarship to Chegg.com, which offers things like online tutoring, textbook rentals, and more.
How Do I Apply?
Application for the KFC REACH grant is relatively simple–except for consideration in the Janet L. Kuhn Scholarship, you do not have to complete an essay.
There are two submission dates each year. In 2018, the deadlines are March 29 and September 27 (application periods open February 1 and August 1, respectively). As noted earlier, applicants can only win once each year–though they may enter a second time if they do not win the first time.
Citizenship will not be collected, nor will income information be considered in the selection process. Also, as long as the student has met the minimum GPA eligibility requirement (2.5), his or her GPA does not factor into the application.
Where to Apply
To apply, go to the application home page (here) and either log in or create a new account (use an email address you have access to). To find the KFC Scholarship, use program key KFCREACH.
Once you’re logged in to the KFC REACH Grant welcome page, you may complete the application. It is crucial to make sure you do not leave anything out and that you submit all required documents (including, potentially, a high school transcript, a GED certificate, a college transcript, and SAT scores).
When all documents have been attached, and all forms filled out, hit Submit. You may hit Save to save your application and come back to it later, but do not hit submit until you’re ready. To be considered for the grant, however, the entire application must be completed and submitted before the deadline; the committee will not review incomplete submissions.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
I Have Applied to Several Schools; Which One Should I Include on my Application?
Since you may only list one school on your application, select your first choice, even if you haven’t made your final decision yet.
Can I Upload More Than One File at a Time?
Yes. To do so, you must create a .zip file that includes accepted documents (.pdf, .png, .jpeg, .tif, .gif, .bmp, .xps, or .jpg). Please not that Microsoft Word documents (.doc or .docx) are not acceptable.
To create a .zip file, create a folder on your desktop and move all the documents you want to be saved into that folder (all transcripts, for example). Right click on the folder and then (if you’re a PC user) hit “send to” and then “compressed folder.” If you are on a Mac, select “Compress ‘[folder name].’”
You may then upload the resulting .zip file.