Scholarships Taking Elementary Promising Students (STEPS) is a unique investment in higher education. It is a college scholarship opportunity that is awarded to promising fifth-grade students at every public elementary school in Citrus, Levy and Marion counties.
Each year donor-adopted schools select deserving fifth-grade students to receive a STEPS to CF award. Upon graduating from high school, having remained drug- and crime-free and demonstrating continued academic achievement, the STEPS to CF recipient will receive $4,000 for tuition and fees for any program of study at the College of Central Florida.
In 2015, CF Foundation announced the completion of the initial program goal, which was to have a scholarship in place for a boy and girl in every eligible elementary school in Citrus, Levy and Marion counties. In 2016, the program was expanded to offer three STEPS to CF scholarships to promising students with the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County.
STEPS to CF program history
In 2005, local business owner and community leader Bernard “Bernie” L. Little Jr. was a member of the CF Foundation Board of Directors. He heard about a scholarship program recognizing promising and financially deserving fifth-grade students at another college in Florida and presented the idea to the board. To get the program started, Little established the initial three scholarships. Through the years, Little has personally funded 17 scholarships, most named for other board members and individuals in the community. Though Little has long retired from the board, he is fondly remembered as the father of STEPS to CF.