National Coal Transportation Association

Scholarships Scholarship Programs

Scholarship Overview


The National Coal Transportation Association is a tax-exempt non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Colorado with the primary purpose of promoting the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and technology associated with the transportation and beneficial uses of coal.

NCTA’s Scholarship Program was established to further the Association’s commitment to the education and development of informed leaders of tomorrow. To that end, NCTA has budgeted for up to four $1,500 scholarships to be awarded annually to NCTA members’ dependent children who intend to pursue a career in the coal or other supportive industries. Scholarships are awarded to dependent sons and daughters of full-time employees of NCTA member companies in good standing and are to be used toward the continuing education costs of qualified applicants who are legal dependents, in accordance with established Internal Revenue Service guidelines. Recipients are selected by the NCTA Education Committee.

Education Committee

The Education Committee shall, at a minimum, consist of two NCTA members; a Chairman and a Vice Chairman. These members do not have to be NCTA Board members but may be any NCTA member with a stated interest in working with the Education Committee.

Member’s Dependent Scholarship Awards

Up to two non-renewable one-year College or University Scholarships and two non-renewable one-year Vocational, Trade, Certificate, or Associate Degree Program Scholarships are awarded annually. The scholarships are to be applied to educational expenses at any accredited non-profit college, university, vocational training school, or junior or community college program in the United States or Canada. Recipients of these awards may reapply each year if they remain eligible. A new competition for the awards will be held each year. Recipients may transfer from one institution to another and retain their award provided that such transfer is not for disciplinary reasons.

The NCTA Education Committee has full discretion to award the annual Member’s Dependent Scholarships in any combination between the categories above, including the award of all four scholarships to either category. The Committee may revise its decision to award the finalist a scholarship if a discrepancy is found or is considered materially different, but it is not required to do so.

David L. Laffere Memorial Scholarship

In 2009 NCTA established a scholarship in memory of our friend and colleague David L. Laffere. David was the fuel manager for Kansas City Power and Light Company, and served on NCTA’s Board of Directors, when he died tragically in a car accident on June 2, 2009. Full endowment of the David L. Laffere Memorial Scholarship has not yet been achieved. However, NCTA’s Education Committee named one of the Member’s Dependent Scholarships in his memory and continues to accept donations for full endowment.

Thomas C. Canter Honorary Scholarship

In 2019 NCTA established a scholarship to honor former Executive Director Thomas C. Canter. Tom led our industry and the NCTA for over 24 years with a steadfast conviction that economical energy from coal helped establish our nation as a world leader and that it will continue to play a vital role in our country’s future. Tom served our nation for several decades as a Captain in the U.S. Navy. He was also the primary consultant during the development of the Los Angeles Export Terminal, for which he provided his knowledge and expertise of the automotive and logistics industries. Tom continues to be an inspiration to us all with his dedication to this industry.

Downloadable Promotional Materials for Member Companies

NCTA Scholarship: 8 X 10 Flyer

NCTA-Scholarship: 11 X 17 Flyer

CLICK HERE to download a company scholarship promo letter

Scholarship Guidelines

Scholarship Eligibility

Dependents of full-time employees of NCTA member companies in good standing are eligible to apply for a scholarship. “Dependent” means the son or daughter of the employee is declared as a dependent exemption for income tax purposes under the rules and regulations established by the Internal Revenue Service. The applicant’s parent must be employed by a member company at the time the winners are selected.

Scholarship applicants must be enrolled either as a full-time student for the College or University Scholarship or have proof of enrollment for the Vocational, Trade, Certificate, or Associate Degree Scholarship in the fall of the year in which the scholarship is awarded. College or University students who are enrolled as full-time college sophomores or juniors are eligible to apply for a scholarship award to be used for their subsequent junior or senior year. Vocational, Trade, Certificate, or Associate Degree Program students who are enrolled as full-time students in a qualified vocational, trade, certificate, or associate degree program and can provide certification of current enrollment are eligible to apply for a scholarship award that may be used during the current or subsequent session of training.

Selection Process

NCTA’s Education Committee conducts an initial selection process to choose semi-finalists. If a Committee member discovers he/she has a personal connection to one of the applicants, he/she will not participate in the selection process for that year. In place of that Committee member, one of the NCTA Board members and/or the Executive Director will be asked to participate in the selection process instead.

The Committee evaluates each application and selects the final winners during the month of August. The Committee considers applicants’ academic record, test scores, extracurricular activities, skills development, and personal statements of career interest. Consideration is also given to applicants with a stated interest in the various industries represented by the NCTA membership.

All applicants are notified of final results as soon as possible in September after the winners have been selected and certified copies of the students’ transcripts or other pertinent data have been received by the Committee.

Application Procedure

Application forms are available from the NCTA website, at, and will also be provided by email or mail by contacting Melinda Canter, Director of Marketing and Member Services, at The NCTA Educational Foundation accepts applications from April 15 through July 31 of each year.

Applicants for College or University Scholarships may include grade transcripts and letters of recommendation but are not required to do so during the application process. However, certified grade transcripts will be requested from the finalist(s) selected to receive these Scholarships. The Education Committee will confirm the GPA in the transcripts against that provided in the application before checks are mailed to the winners.

Applicants for Vocational, Trade, Certificate, or Associate Degree Program Scholarships should include a description of the program the applicant is currently enrolled in, the name of the school or training center, and an estimated completion date for the program. The Education Committee will verify all pertinent information on the application before checks are mailed to the winners.

Program Administration

The four Member’s Dependent Scholarship winners, including the David L. Laffere Memorial Scholarship and the Thomas C. Canter Honorary Scholarship, will be announced at the NCTA’s Fall Conference. The winners will be notified by the Education Committee Chair, Vice Chair, or the Communications and Administration office as soon as possible after the selection process is complete. On or about October 31, scholarship recipients shall receive checks for the full scholarship award made payable to the recipient. In the case of the four-year College Scholarship, a check is disbursed only after NCTA’s receipt of a certified college transcript. A list of the winners will also be posted on the NCTA website.

During each Fall and Spring NCTA Conference, as well as the annual O&M Committee meeting, the Executive Director, Chair, or Vice Chair of the Education Committee will remind the NCTA Membership of the upcoming deadline and criteria for applying for the Member’s Dependent Scholarships. An email notice with information about the program and a link to the NCTA website scholarship page will be sent to designated member representatives by April 15 as a reminder to provide their company’s employees (via human resources department, employee website, etc.) with information about the program.

Coal Transporter Articles

The Education Committee may prepare short articles about each Member’s Dependent Scholarship winner to be included in the next issue of Coal Transporter. By accepting NCTA Scholarship monies, the recipients grant NCTA the right to use their names, photos, etc., as well as information such as the school attended, field of study, and details about the company that employs the student’s parent. The articles will be reviewed and approved by the student, and copies of the issue will be provided to them upon request.