Scholarship Overview


The NCTA 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.

The overarching NCTA Scholarship Program was established to further the NCTA’s ongoing interest in the education and development of informed leaders of tomorrow. NCTA has budgeted four $1,500 scholarships to be awarded as NCTA Member’s Dependent Scholarships on an annual basis to individuals who intend to pursue a career in the coal or other intersecting industries. The Member’s Dependent Scholarship Program provides financial assistance toward the continuing education costs of qualified applicants who are legal dependents, in accordance with established IRS guidelines, of employees of NCTA member companies. NCTA also recognizes the importance of vocational training and associate degree programs to our Members, and we desire to encourage all students with an interest in our industries as well as others. Recipients are selected by the NCTA Education Committee. The following are guidelines to be used in the selection process for reference by the NCTA Board and Education Committee members.

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. The Committee currently has a total of three (3) members.

Member’s Dependent Scholarship Awards

Two non-renewable, one-year College or University Scholarships and two non-renewable, one-year Vocational, Trade, Certificate, or Associate Degree Program scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded annually. The scholarships are to be applied to educational expenses at any accredited non-profit college, university, accredited non-profit vocational training school, or a junior or community college program in the United States or Canada. Recipients of these awards may re-apply 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 the awards, provided, however, that such transfer was not due to 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 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 manager for fuels for Kansas City Power and Light Company and was also one of NCTA’s Board of Directors, who 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, the Education Committee of the NCTA has named one of the Member’s Dependent Scholarships the David L. Laffere Memorial Scholarship and is continuing to accept donations for full endowment.

Thomas C. Canter Honorary Scholarship

In 2019, NCTA established a scholarship to honor its 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, with determination, we will persevere through whatever challenges we face. He fully understood that coal continues to have a vital role to play 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, where he provided his knowledge and expertise to the automotive and logistics industries. Tom Canter continues to be an inspiration to us all with his dedication to this industry.

Downloadable Promotional Materials for Member Companies

Student FAQ Flyer

NCTA Scholarship Brochure

CLICK HERE to download a company scholarship promo letter

Scholarship Guidelines

Scholarship Eligibility

Dependents of full-time employees of companies that are Members in good standing of the NCTA are eligible to apply for a Scholarship Award. “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.

Application Procedure

Application forms will be available from the NCTA website at or will also be provided by email or mail by Contacting Melinda Canter, Director of Marketing and Member Services, at or John Ward, Executive Director, at The NCTA Education Committee will accept applications from April 15 through July 31 of each year.

Applicants for the 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 the application submitted before checks are mailed to the winners.

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

Selection Process

An initial selection process to select semi-finalists will be conducted by the NCTA Education Committee. 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 applicant for that year. Instead, the overall scoring for that applicant assessed by the other members of the Committee will be used. The Committee will evaluate each application and select the final winners during the month of August each year. The Committee will evaluate applicants’ academic records, test scores, extracurricular activities, skills development, and personal statements of career interest. The College Grade Point Average (GPA), assessments, and/or transcripts from Vocational or Associate Degree applicants will also be considered.

College transcripts are not required during the application process, but will be required before the disbursement of checks to the selected awardees. Finalists will be selected largely on the basis of academic merit. Consideration will also be given to applicants with a stated interest in the various industries represented by the NCTA field of Membership. All applicants will be notified of final results as soon as possible in September after the winners have been selected and certified copies of the student’s transcripts or other pertinent data have been received by the Committee.

Responsibility of Recipients

Scholarship recipients must be enrolled 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 for which the scholarships are awarded. Scholarship recipients shall utilize their scholarship funds to pay for tuition, room and board, fees, books, or other education-related expenses.

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 Marketing and Member Services 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. Checks are made payable to the recipient. In the case of the four-year college scholarship, a check is disbursed only after receipt by NCTA 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 out to the designated 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.