The Truckload Carriers Association is opening up its annual scholarship application process on May 11, with some significant changes to the program.

• Scholarship applications may now originate from college students in any class, not just juniors or seniors. With this decision, the Fund's trustees hope to help those people who may not be able to start, let alone finish, a higher education given the current economic crisis.

• The requirement of a 3.3 minimum grade point average has been removed. This change takes into account the impact of "life experiences" on past performance and future success.

• During the judging process, students studying for degrees in tranasportation and business will no longer receive extra points over students pursuing degrees in other fields. The old reasoning was that students should be encouraged to enter fields like transportation and business. However, the trustees have cme to believe that trucking actually benefits from students entering many fields, even those that may at first glance seem less relevant to the industry. For example, students obtaining political science degrees could go on to become congressional representatives who can vote positively on the issues affecting the trucking industry.

The Scholarship Fund's Board of Trustees voted to make the changes at a meeting held April 14 in Irving, Texas, office of Bill Webb, the 2009-10 Scholarship Fund chairman and an operating partner with Fenway Partners.

"Because the economy is so bad, a lot of people are going back to school," said Don Orr, the past Scholarship Fund chairman, who will be staying on as a trustee. "So we're expecting to be flooded with applications this year. We felt it was time to revisit some of our criteria to make the porgram even more beneficial to the trucking industry and its people."

Applications are due on Friday, June 12, 2009. For more information and to download the official rules and an application, visit