There are approximately 3,500 LAFD employees. Each year, children of these employees who are high school seniors and college freshman are eligible to apply for the LAFDSF Merit Scholar Competition. Since 2007, the LAFDSF receives completed Merit Scholar Applications from approximately 45 qualified applicants each year. (See the attached copy of the current Merit Scholar Award Application.) When the Applications are complete, and the required accompanying documentation is available, the Selection Committee (the civilian members of the LAFDSF Board) reviews the material and ranks the candidates. Based on these reviews, a smaller list of Applicants is selected for personal interviews.
After the interviews, the current year Merit Scholars are notified. Individuals who are interviewed but do not receive Merit Scholar Awards are designated as Runners-up and receive one-time grants. All these scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit. The single most important factor is academic achievement, but the Selection Committee also considers other relevant criteria, including personal character and extracurricular accomplishments. The Selection Committee does not consider the financial need of the Applicants, or whether they have qualified for other grants or scholarships. The Los Angeles Fire Department has no role in the selection of Merit Scholars.