Dunkin' Donuts offers students an educational perk. Connecticut franchisees will award 50 $1,000 scholarships to qualified high school seniors in the state, as part of a community partnership program and a continued commitment to local education. This is the eighth year of a very successful scholarship program that has donated more than $750,000 to Connecticut students. This year the application process will be completely online at www.dunkindonuts.com/scholarship.

Qualified scholarship candidates must be high school seniors who plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school for the entire upcoming academic year. In addition to being residents of the state of Connecticut, candidates must also have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Full-time and part-time employees of Dunkin' Donuts franchisees who meet the above scholarship requirements are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Merit-based scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate a well-rounded character both in and out of the classroom. Such qualifications include a solid academic record, leadership roles and participation in school and community activities, academic honors, work experience, a statement of goals and aspirations and unusual personal or family circumstances.

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In our current economy, every little bit helps. As college costs continue to rise (up 4.3 percent in the past year for private universities and 8.3 percent for public universities, according to the College Board), Dunkin' Donuts franchisees are seizing the opportunity to help by giving back to the community.

"We understand the challenges families encounter today when financing their child's college education," Michael Barista, a Connecticut franchisee, said. "The franchisees of Dunkin' Donuts are excited to give back to the local families who support us every day."

Dunkin' Donuts franchisees have partnered with Scholarship America to administer the scholarship program and selection process. The deadline date for all online applications is Thursday, March 15, 2012.

All applicants will be notified of their status via email by April 1, 2012. Scholarship winners will be recognized during an awards ceremony with the franchise owners and state dignitaries on July 10, 2012. The official terms, requirements and application information are available at www.dunkindonuts.com/scholarship.