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Students win financial assistance, motivation with NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants

Students win financial assistance, motivation with NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants

The value of NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants is twofold: the financial support the awards provide as well as a confidence boost from the recognition. “The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship not only helped me with the cost of schooling, but it also gave me the boost of confidence I needed to succeed through school and into this amazing profession. Realizing the director of my school believed in me through her nomination allowed for that,” said Kendra Steppler, an official court reporter in Helena, Mont., who won in 2015.

“The startup costs straight out of school can be daunting. It has been so helpful to have the financial boost and the unspoken vote of support and encouragement that comes along with it,” said Rachelle Cahoon, a freelance court reporter in Boise, Idaho, who won the New Professional Reporter Grant in 2015.

Many past winners of these scholarships and grants used the funds to help pay for school costs or for court reporting software and equipment. “The timing was perfect as I was graduating in June and had to turn in the school-supplied laptop. That $1,000 enabled me to purchase a really nice touch-screen Dell laptop, plus some court reporting accessories,” said Angeli English, a freelance court reporter in D’Iberville, Miss., who won a CASE essay scholarship in 2015.

For NCRF scholarships and grants, the student will need an instructor, advisor, or supervisor to apply on their behalf; for the CASE scholarships, students may apply directly. Regardless, the student has the power to get the application moving. “When I heard about the Student Intern Scholarship, I looked at the qualifications in order to see if I was eligible. I met all the requirements, and my instructor sent in my application form,” said Elizabeth Vanghelof, a student at Key College in Miami, Fla., who won in 2015. That means that applying for these scholarships and grants takes some preparation.

Tracey L. Tracy, a student at Green River College in Auburn, Wash., who won a CASE essay scholarship in 2015, offers some advice:

  1. “Plan in advance. [For example, the CASE essay scholarship] is due by April 1 and requires a nomination by your school, so plan ahead.
  2. Find an editor or proofreader. You wouldn’t want that winning essay to be derailed by spelling or grammar mistakes.
  3. Remember to thank those who nominate you as well as those who select you as the winner!”

“Don’t talk yourself out of applying for them in the first place. It is easy to think that your chances of being awarded a grant or scholarship are slim. In reality, however, you can’t know that because you don’t know how many applicants there are! So you have nothing to lose by trying except for the short amount of time it takes to see the application process through,” said Cahoon. She also added that the process of applying for the scholarships itself is valuable. “Applying for these grants and scholarships gives you opportunities for networking, which is one of the most important skills a new court reporter can develop. You cannot apply for these grants on your own. You need supportive colleagues and former teachers and school administrators to help you through the process and to give you the necessary recommendations. And even if you don’t win a grant or scholarship, you have strengthened your professional network in the process of the application,” said Cahoon.

Five NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants for students and new professionals are awarded to eight qualifying members. In all cases, the applicant must be an NCRA member and attend or have graduated from an NCRA-certified court reporting program. Most applications are due in the spring. Information for each scholarship and grant, including eligibility requirements, is available on

“Who says ‘no’ to free money? Not me, and no student should. It does not take long to apply and it’s time well invested,” said English.

NCRA CASE Scholarships

Due April 1, 2016

One $500 scholarship, one $1,000 scholarship, and one $1,500 scholarship

Student must submit two-page essay with references on a pre-selected topic (changes each year)

For more information, contact the NCRA Education Department at (although all NCRA-certified court reporting programs receive information in January).


NCRF Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

Due spring 2016

One $2,000 scholarship

Only one nomination from each NCRA-certified program is accepted.

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at


NCRF New Professional Reporter Grant

Due spring 2016

One $2,000 grant

Applicants must be in their first year out of school

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at


NCRF Student Intern Scholarship

Due summer 2016

Two $1,000 scholarships

Applicant must be an intern in any of the three career paths: judicial (official and freelance), CART, and captioning

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at


NCRF Robert H. Clark Scholarship

Due fall 2016

One $1,800 scholarship

There will be a total of five awards, running through 2019

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at