Regions Bank expands scholarship

Region Bank announces the return of its 11th annual Riding Forward Scholarship contest for high school and college undergraduate students.

As part of the bank’s commitment to celebrating Black history, the annual program has expanded its contest to have a video component inviting students to create essays celebrating inspirational Black Americans and describing how their contributions have positively impacted the student’s life.

High school seniors and college freshman, sophomores, and juniors who are residents (or currently enrolled in accredited colleges in) the 15 states that have Regions Bank full-service branches may apply. Region Bank has 122 branches across the state of Texas.

“The high school seniors selected from each of the 15 states will receive a $5,000 scholarship. The college undergraduate award recipients receive $3,500,” said Dana Williams.  “We’ve had about 20 Texas winners since the campaign launched in 2012… and three in the Houston area.”

Williams said Region Bank will expand the number of scholarships this year. There will be 30 $5,000 awards for high school seniors and 30 $3,500 for college undergraduate students. She said the COVID-19 pandemic impacted many families’ ability to finance an education, so the increase will hopefully help to offset some costs.

“Some of our scholarship recipients are working part-time while attending classes. Reducing the financial burden will allow them to focus more on academics, said Williams. “Some families might have more than one child in college at a time and the cost of tuition, books, housing, transportation increasing with inflation, creates another challenge for them.”

Davone Morgan is a 4th-year architecture student at the University of Houston. The 23-year-old is a former recipient of the Region’s Riding Forward Scholarship.

“I worked full time during the first couple of years of my program and I wasn’t doing the best academically,” Morgan said. “I was always tired, I missed classes, and I told myself that I couldn’t do this anymore. The Region scholarship helped take the stress away so I can fully focus on my classes.”

Emily Nguyen,18, found it very expensive to fund the equipment needed for her pre-med courses. She is also a Regions Bank scholarship recipient and encourages students to apply.

“The scholarship helped me pay for equipment that was $100 apiece. My focus is oncology and studying in this track can get expensive,” she said. “My tip for applicants is to choose a person who isn’t famous. Think outside of the box. Talk about someone who speaks to your personal interests and writes from a deeper connection.”

Applicants can choose to submit either a written essay or a video essay. High school and college winners will be selected from both the video essay and written essay categories.

Additional details of the contest include:

  • Each applicant must submit a 500-word (or less) written essay or a 3-minute (or less) video essay that addresses how a Black American individual has been an inspiration in the applicant’s life, and that discusses the contributions of that Black American individual.
  • Applications must be submitted on or before March 31, 2022.
  • Scholarships will include a total of 30 awards of $5,000 each for high school winners (15 scholarships for written essays and 15 scholarships for video essays) and 30 awards of $3,500 each for winners who are currently enrolled as college students (15 scholarships for written essays and 15 scholarships for video essays).
  • An independent selection committee will judge the written essay and video essay submissions and select the winners.

For official rules, complete entry details, and eligibility requirements, visit the contest website at No purchase or banking relationship is required to enter the contest.

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...