The Watson-Brown Scholarship is offered to high school seniors and college undergraduates in 18 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. The scholarship is based on merit and need, and 200 students receive $5,000 each year. You can apply for the renewable scholarship by entering required information online.

Watson Brown Scholarship

If you are a high school senior or college undergraduate and live in certain counties in Georgia or South Carolina, you may be eligible for the Watson Brown Scholarship. The Watson-Brown Foundation offers 200 $5,000 scholarships each year.

The program began in 1970 to offer educational opportunities for underprivileged high school seniors and college undergraduates. The Watson-Brown Foundation Board of Trustees determines the winners. Scholarships are awarded for need and merit.

The Foundation sends out letters announcing scholarship recipients every April 15th.

Who Can Apply?

Students must reside in one of 18 counties in South Carolina or Georgia. The counties are Elbert, Aiken, McCormick, Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenville, or Spartanburg in South Carolina, or Lincoln, Glascock, Burke, Columbia, Jefferson, Hart, McDuffie, Warrenor, Richmond, Taliaferro, or Wilkes in Georgia.

The scholarships are given to students near the Savannah River Valley, where founder J.J. Brown lived.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, high school transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, a statement of financial need, and your SAT or ACT scores. The scholarships are renewable, but recipients must maintain a 3.00 GPA.

Applicants must plan to go to a four year, non-profit, accredited college. The college or university chosen should be accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) or one of the other regional accreditation bodies:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • New England Association Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accrediting Commision for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

The Watson-Brown Foundation

The Watson-Brown Foundation and Scholarship are named after three prominent Georgia residents of the early 20th Century.

Journalist and broadcaster Walter J. Brown founded Spartan Communications, Inc., in 1940 as Spartan Advertising. It eventually became one of the most successful private TV companies in the U.S.

Thomas E. Watson was a trial lawyer, author, journalist and politician who ran for President on the Populist ticket in 1904 and 1908. J.J. Brown was a one-time mayor of Bowman, Georgia and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture from 1917 to 1927. He worked closely with Watson and was Vice-President of one of Watson’s publishing companies.

The Watson-Brown Foundation runs three historic sites in the state of Georgia – Hickory Hill, the Thomas E. Watson House and the Thomas E. Watson Birthplace.

Watson’ birthplace is a charming look at antebellum life in the South around 1830, and the Thomas E. Watson House features a restored rural-free delivery (RFD) mail buggy. Hickory Hill has a library, antiques, and memorabilia, and the property contains a schoolhouse, pigeon cote, barn, and peacock run.

Applicant Materials Overview

Include a copy of your high school or college transcript. The committee prefers transcripts that contain SAT and ACT scores.

College students don’t need to include an ACT or SAT transcripts unless requested. The committee combines the best subscores from every high school applicant’s ACT or SAT to get an accurate indication of the student’s overall aptitude.

The Foundation will consider ACT or SAT scores included on high school transcripts and copies of the test score reports.

Submit two letters of Recommendation from teachers, coaches, employers, professors or other adult mentors. One letter must be from someone at your high school or college.  Preference is given to descriptive recommendation letters with details about your academic, work, personal or volunteer successes.

Submit all Letters of Recommendation online.

Complete and submit the online application by February 15th. You’ll receive a confirmation email if your submission was successful.

Financial Information

You must submit a copy of your parents’ 1040 EZ or 1040 tax form. Scan and direct the forms into the online application or print out the forms and send the copy snail mail to:

Watson-Brown Foundation

Attn: Scholarship Director

310 Tom Watson Way

Thomson, GA 30824

Feel free to black out Social Security Numbers.  The Foundation destroys paper documents two months after awarding scholarships.

Include a written statement with your mailed or emailed form if you can’t provide tax documents. If you don’t have documents for the most recent tax year, you may submit tax forms for the year before that and describe any changes in income since then.

If there are extenuating circumstances that interfere with your family’s ability to cover your college expenses, explain it on the Financial Needs Statement. Death or illness, unemployment, medical bills or the cost of paying for several children in college or private school at the same time are some examples of financial burdens.

The Foundation will consider your Financial Need Statement as well as your family’s tax return in evaluating your monetary status.

Online Recommendation Letters

Create an account and start your application to add Letters of Recommendation. Go to the main menu to “Add or Edit Recommendation Requests.” You’ll need to fill out the “Personal Message from Student” portion with the following:

  • Your full name
  • Your request
  • The name of the person(s) writing the recommendation

After the first request, click “Save and Add Another” and complete your second request.  Log into your account to check on recommendation status or add more requests. A “Responded” status means the party has uploaded a recommendation letter, and “Contacted” means the email was sent, but a letter hasn’t been received.

Contacted individuals can upload recommendation letters before you send your application and after it has been submitted.

All recommendation letters must be submitted via the Watson Brown Scholarship online system. You will be unable to contact recommenders directly to request a letter.


Upload a 500-word essay along with your other application materials.  The essay shows your writing ability and helps the committee members get an idea of who you are beyond test scores and grades. Choose from one of the topics listed on the application. You may use a college admission essay if it is about 500 words.

Make sure your name is at the top of the essay before uploading it.


If you receive a scholarship, you may attend any four years or two-year college that is recognized by a regional accrediting agency. (The two-year Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is the only exception.)

The Watson Brown Scholarship can be renewed for up to eight semesters or four years of undergraduate school. The scholarship doesn’t pay for the fifth year of college. Students who were in college when they won the award may not receive eight semesters’ worth of funds.

Scholarships are extended on a semester by semester basis. Contact the scholarship office if you have questions about renewals.

Renewal Requirements

You can renew your scholarship if you have at least a 3.0 GPA every semester. Even if you don’t meet the requirement, send your grades to the Watson-Brown Foundation after each semester.  The Foundation may reinstate the scholarship if your grades get better in subsequent semesters.

You’ll receive funds if you take a 12 credit hour course load. If you take less than 12 credit hours a semester, let the Foundation know in advance. When you finish fall classes, fill out the renewal form online and upload your grades. The Foundation sends out checks for scholarship recipients in early January.

Upload your transcripts again at the end of the Spring Semester. The Spring Renewal deadline is New Year’s Day, and June 1st is the fall deadline. Email the Foundation if you have a change in your physical or email mail address.

Let the Foundation know if you plan to take classes overseas or engage in other specialized classes or trips. The scholarship funds can help you with these out of the ordinary actives, but the award amount will not increase.

Scholarship Winner Spotlight

Scholars who have received funds include these students, featured in the Spring 2018 edition of The Legacy, the Foundation’s magazine.

Rishab Chawla, who attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, started a chapter of Be the Match, an organization devoted to matching leukemia and lymphoma patients with bone marrow donors. She also became a team leader for the GT1000 Ambassador Program, which teaches incoming freshmen about college life.

Rachel Dean, a Spanish major at Wofford College, traveled to Spain to study for four months. She also studied in Morocco, Portugal, Ireland, and Greece, and worked as a marketing intern.

Elijan Moton III, a student at Francis Marion University, served as president of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, and ensure a safe space for LBGT individuals attending the school and helped bring diverse, LBGT performances to the school for the first time.


Scholarship recipients from years past feature a wide range of graduates with different interests and skills. Derek Herron, who has an MBA from Texas Tech, works as a Group Sales Executive for the minor league baseball team, the Augusta GreenJackets.

Wes Cooper founded Southern Athlete, an Athens, Ga. based company providing strength and conditioning services to high school athletes. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Georgia Regents University.

Crystal Parten is head of the history and social studies department at Thomson High School in Thomson, GA.  She joined the Watson-Brown Junior Board in 2000. She worked on a preservation project to repair the fence around the boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson in Augusta, GA.

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