Rotorua residents with disabilities are being encouraged to apply for scholarship funds which are waiting to be allocated.
BayTrust is calling for people to apply for its Dillon Scholarship, which provides study grants for Bay of Plenty residents with significant disabilities to undertake tertiary study next year.
BayTrust manager Bruce Cronin said only 12 applications had been received to date, compared with more than 50 in each of the past two years.
The Dillon Scholarship has funds available for individual scholarships of up to $5000 a year for up to four years. Applications close on December 31.
The scholarship recognises the efforts people with significant disabilities must make to obtain tertiary education and the extra financial costs they may incur.
This year the trust gave more than $123,000 to the 64 successful Dillon Scholarship applicants.
One of those is Rotorua's Hugh McGuire, 21, who has just finished a Certificate in Business Administration at Waiariki Institute of Technology. Hugh is on a part-time internship at Te Puia during summer. His mum, Heather, said the support from the scholarship for Hugh, who has autism, had been "absolutely fantastic".
"The financial support, the belief in him and the opportunities that the Dillon Scholarship has given him over the past two years have been wonderful. Not to mention the prestige and kudos - it was Hugh's opportunity to have a moment in the sun."
Mr Cronin said he strongly encouraged anyone who had a significant disability and was planning tertiary study at university or polytechnic, to apply. "I anticipate several new scholarships will be approved for next year and I'd like to see more applications received before the close-off date."
Mr Cronin said some people may be waiting on exam results before applying but that wasn't necessary. Because of the work considering applications the date couldn't be extended. There is no age limit for applicants.
For more information visit www.baytrust.org.nz, the BayTrust Office, 73 Spring St, Tauranga or phone 0800 654 546.