Meeting Street Scholarship Fund expands to Barnwell County

November 17, 2022

Donor-funded scholarship continues growth across South Carolina 

The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit helping high-achieving students with financial need pay for college, today announced the expansion of the scholarship to Barnwell County thanks to the remarkable generosity of a group of anonymous donors. The expansion to Barnwell County is projected to impact more than 60 high school seniors in the next five years, awarding each recipient up to $40,000 in total college scholarships. The estimated Scholarship awards will exceed $2.4 million, and there is no limit to the number of recipients who can earn the Meeting Street Scholarship.

The scholarship is now available in ten counties, including six with the highest poverty rates in South Carolina: Barnwell, Charleston, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg. The fund provided over $3 million to 276 students in its first two years. With the addition of Barnwell County, the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund projects it will award more than 200 scholarships annually.

“With this act of exceptional generosity, we are now able to expand the eligibility of the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund to deserving students in Barnwell County,” said Ben Navarro, founder of the Fund. “Students who have worked hard to earn acceptance to our state’s best colleges should not be held back by daunting college costs. Expanding opportunity is our mission, and we are excited to follow these incredible students as they achieve their dreams.”

The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund was based on a simple principle: to make college accessible for hardworking, qualified students from under-resourced families who want to attend one of South Carolina’s best colleges. The scholarship is intended to bridge the gap between college tuition costs and what a student can reasonably afford by granting up to $40,000 for up to four years per recipient. With no limit to the number of scholarships granted, every student who completes the simple online application and meets the Fund’s eligibility criteria will receive the scholarship.

In its first year, the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund awarded scholarships to 94 Charleston County students for the 2021 -2022 school year. For the 2022 – 2023 school year, with the generous support of the Darla Moore Foundation, students from eight counties in the Pee Dee region became eligible for the scholarship, almost doubling the number of new scholarship recipients for the 2022 – 2023 school year.

Inspired by the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund’s work in Charleston County and the Pee Dee region, a group of philanthropists decided to fund the scholarship in Barnwell County.  Only 49 percent of Barnwell County high school graduates from the Class of 2022 are currently enrolled in a two or four-year college. The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund is thrilled to begin supporting high-achieving students in Barnwell County who may be otherwise deterred from attending college due to financial concerns but have dreams of attaining a four-year degree and pursuing a career that transforms their lives.

“The opportunity to receive a Meeting Street Scholarship is a financial blessing to our scholars who desire to pursue higher education,” said Dr. Marcella Shaw, Superintendent of Barnwell County Consolidated School District. “The scholarship works hand-in-hand with our graduation coaches and school counselors who work with students to secure as much college funding as possible.”

Students who are qualified to receive the Meeting Street Scholarship must:

  • Reside in Barnwell, Charleston, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, or Williamsburg county
  • Graduate from eligible public or public charter high schools in:
    • Charleston in 2021, 2022, or 2023
    • Pee Dee in 2022 or 2023
    • Barnwell in 2023
  • Complete the FAFSA and receive a Pell Grant
  • Earn an SC LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship:
    • SC LIFE requires meeting at least two of the following:
      • Earn at least a 3.0 GPA in high school
      • Score at least 1100 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT
      • Rank in the top 30% of their graduating class
    • Palmetto Fellows requires the following criteria:
      • Earn at least a 3.5 GPA in high school
      • Earn 1200 on the SAT or 27 on the ACT
      • Rank in the top 6% of their class at the end of 10th, 11th, or 12th grade
  • A student can qualify for Palmetto Fellows without regard to rank with a 4.0 GPA and 1400 on math and critical reading on the SAT or 32 on the ACT
  • Attend an eligible South Carolina college or university with a six-year graduation rate of 50% or higher

The simple online application is now open and available at  Applicants will be notified of their eligibility within one week of each monthly submission deadline.

For more information about The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, visit For updates, news, and more, sign up for the Progress Report newsletter and follow the organization on Facebook and Instagram.


Founded in 2019 by Ben and Kelly Navarro, the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund is a program of the Beemok Family Foundation. The Scholarship creates a pathway for thousands of hard-working public high school graduates to attend a great South Carolina college by helping families with limited means pay for college with up to $10,000 in annual scholarship awards for a total of up to $40,000 over four years. Based on the most recent data, the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund will support more than 2,000 students in the coming decade, providing millions of Scholarship awards annually. The Meeting Street Scholarship Fund expects that schools prepare many more students to achieve the academic results needed to qualify over time. For more information, visit