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Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California (RMHC) announced this week that applications are being accepted for its scholarship program, with $233,000 to be doled out to deserving high school seniors in the region.

“In today’s world, a college degree is a necessity, but the cost of chasing those higher education dreams can seem overwhelming to families,” said Vince Bryson, CEO of RMHC of Southern California. “Since 1990, we have committed millions to helping Southland families ease their financial worries so students can focus on all the opportunities that a higher education affords.”

This year, the chapter will award 85 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, 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 a legal U.S. resident, be less than 21 years old, have a minimum 2.7 grade point average and reside within Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Since 1990, RMHC of Southern California has awarded more than $5.5 million in scholarship funds to local students. 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 2016/2017 online application is open through Jan. 18, 2017, and interested students should visit www.rmhcsc.org/scholarships for more information.

In addition to the scholarship program, RMHCSC:

—helps families with critically ill children stay together, connecting them with others facing similar challenges through its six Ronald McDonald Houses and two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms;

—operates the cost-free, medically supervised Camp Ronald McDonald For Good Times for children with cancer and their siblings; and

—provides funding through its Community Grants Board to deserving nonprofits that improve the lives of children.