Les Best Scholarship Program 

OCSEA Les Best Scholarship

The Les Best Scholarship Program helps OCSEA members and their families pay for college education. A total of $12,000 is awarded annually for each academic year. The application process is open January 1-April 30 each year.

The 2024 Les Best Scholarship program begins on January 1, 2024. 

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Members' College Scholarship - $500-$1,000 each

To be considered for the Members' scholarship, the applicant must be a dues-paying OCSEA member and enrolled at least part-time in an undergraduate degree program for the 2024-2025 academic year. Applicants for this scholarship are also automatically considered for one of two $250 awards through the Pat Callanan-Castro Memorial Book Scholarship.

Dependents' College & Vocational Scholarship - $1,000-$2,000 each

To be considered for the Dependents' scholarship, the applicant must be the dependent child of a dues-paying OCSEA member and enrolled full-time at a college, vocational school or union apprenticeship for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Spouses' College Scholarship - $500-$1,000 each

To be considered for the Spouses' scholarship, the applicant must be married to a dues-paying OCSEA member and enrolled at least part-time in an undergraduate degree program for the 2024-2025 academic year.

How to apply

Complete and return the following items to OCSEA by April 30 each year:


Applications accepted January 1, 2024 - April 30, 2024.


The essay is a major portion of the Applicant's score. Submit a typed, 500-1,000 word essay in response to a prompt. The scholarship essays are a major part of the selection process. You are encouraged to draw from personal experiences. Examples that demonstrate how this issue would have affected working American families like yours are helpful.

Proof of Enrollment

Send a copy of your acceptance letter or other proof of enrollment for the Fall 2024 semester to OCSEA. If you have not yet been accepted, please send proof of your application and the estimated date you will be notified of your acceptance.

Academic or Professional Reference

Ask a person who can be a reference (whether it be a supervisor, college advisor, course instructor or professor) to complete the academic/professional reference form. They may either return it to you to send in with the rest of your application materials or they may send it directly to OCSEA.


(Dependents' scholarship only)
All students applying for the Dependents' scholarship must send a transcript from the high school or college they are currently attending. Please allow your school at least two weeks to process your request.

Test Scores

(Dependents' scholarship only)
Graduating high school seniors must submit either ACT or SAT scores if they plan to enroll in an undergraduate degree program. Test scores are not required for students enrolling in vocational or trade schools. If test scores are recorded on your high school transcript, it is sufficient to simply highlight the results and eliminate the step of sending the scores separately. Applicants may also send a photocopy of their scores to OCSEA.

Selection Process 

A a group of distinguished educators and labor union representatives not affiliated with OCSEA comprise the Scholarship Selection Committee. This independent committee will select the eight to ten scholarship recipients in June. Their decisions are final. To receive consideration, all completed application packets must be submitted and postmarked no later than April 30 each year. Applicants are encouraged to get their applications and essays in as soon as possible.
Send applications and supporting materials to You may also mail the application to:
OCSEA Les Best Scholarship Fund
390 Worthington Road, Suite A
Westerville, Ohio 43082

The deadline to apply is April 30

More Information

For more information, download the Les Best Scholarship brochure.
or call OCSEA at 614-865-2645 with questions.

About Les Best

Les Best was an OCSEA state officer and a math teacher at the Ohio Veterans Children's Home. Believing in OCSEA's dedication to improving the quality of life for its members and their children, Les felt an obligation to promote higher education and training. In 1989, he proposed that OCSEA begin a scholarship for the children of active members and retirees. Les Best died that same year, after serving OCSEA for 10 years as an officer and 22 years as a member of its Board of Directors. Les was loved by many and his memory and dedication lives on through the Les Best Scholarship.

About Pat Callanan-Castro

The Pat Callanan-Castro Memorial Book Scholarship was established by OCSEA District Council 1 in memory of longtime union activist Callanan-Castro. Her passion for working families, lifelong learning and reading impacted her children, co-workers, and community. In honor of her commitment to education, the scholarship fund is earmarked to help union members who have returned to school with the purchase of books.

Other Scholarships

AFSCME Scholarships

The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), OCSEA's national affiliate, offers several scholarship programs to union members and their children.

Union Plus Scholarship Program

Current and retired OCSEA members, their spouses and dependent children are eligible to apply for the Union Plus Scholarship.