College Scholarships

The Penn-Del Chapter of the ISA is proud to have organized two scholarship programs. In 1994, the Horace Thayer Scholarship was established, and in 2013, the Fran Ward Women in Arboriculture Scholarship was formed and is now administered by the TREE Fund. The Chapter has recently reactivated the Horace Thayer Scholarship after a four-year hiatus, thanks to a partnership with TreePennsylvania (the Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forestry Council).


Horace Thayer Scholarship

More than 35 years ago, the first recipient of the Certified Arborist Penn-Del credential (now known as ISA Certified Arborist) was Horace Thayer. Named for this forward-thinking arborist, the Horace Thayer Scholarship supports returning college students seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree, who are entering the arboriculture or urban/utility forestry industry, ideally within Pennsylvania and Delaware.

  • The minimum GPA accepted is 2.5, and this minimum average must be maintained (or increased) to receive the second installment
  • Applicants must provide proof of residency in either Pennsylvania or Delaware -OR- be attending an accredited university, college, or technical school within Pennsylvania or Delaware.
  • The award amount is $5,000 per academic year. It is administered by the Penn-Del ISA with additional support from TreePennsylvania.
  • Applications are accepted from February 1 to April 15.


Application Process

Applications are due by April 15th and will only be accepted through the online application form. The following items must accompany the application:

  • Your educational standing and enrollment status
  • History of scholarships, extracurricular activities, and relevant employment or experience in arboriculture or urban /utility forestry
  • Essay describing relevant subjects currently being studied, which subjects are the most enjoyable and why, and how you intend to make a career in the field (minimum of 500 words, maximum of 1,000 words)
  • Current transcript(s)
  • Proof of Pennsylvania or Delaware residency (copy of current driver's license, a state-issued identification, utility bill) or proof of attendance at a school located in Pennsylvania or Delaware (copy of current school-issued identification)
  • Two letters of recommendation (including contact information) from any of the following: an academic advisor, a professor/instructor connected with the relevant coursework or program, an arboriculture professional, or an employer in the arboriculture industry

Criteria for Selection

Applications will be reviewed and ranked by the Scholarship Committee consisting of representatives from the Penn-Del ISA and TreePennsylvania (TreePA). Committee members and their immediate families are ineligible, as well as current Board members of these sponsoring organizations. The scholarship recipient will be announced by May 15th and all applicants will be notified of the committee's decision before that date.

Applications will be scored on the following scale:

  • GPA (0-20 points)
  • Essay (0-30 points)
  • 1st letter of recommendation (0-15 points)
  • 2nd letter of recommendation (0-15 points)
  • Potential for continuing in arboriculture or urban/utility forestry after graduation (0-20 points)

The Penn-Del Chapter of the ISA and TreePennsylvania do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disability, national or ethnic origin, nor any other protected class.

Reporting Requirements and Funds Distribution

The recipient will be asked to sign a letter of acceptance and upload a brief biography and photo for potential use in Penn-Del ISA and TreePA publications, websites, or social media.

Upon receipt of the signed acceptance letter, the first installment (50% of the award amount) will be sent to the recipient's institution. A second-term verification of enrollment and GPA is due midway through the academic year, after which the second installment (50% remaining of the award amount) will be sent. If the recipient withdraws from the college or university during the scholarship period, the full amount of the scholarship funding paid-to-date must be returned to the Penn-Del Chapter of the ISA.

Go to the online application

Email the Penn-Del/TreePA Scholarship Committee with any questions regarding the Horace Thayer Scholarship  - [email protected]



The Fran Ward Women in Arboriculture Scholarship Program, established by the Penn-Del Chapter of the ISA, provides financial support for female university and college students to promote the science and practice of professional arboriculture by women. This $5,000 scholarship is one of six different scholarship programs administered by the TREE Fund. You may apply for more than one TREE Fund scholarship on a single application form. Take a few minutes to learn more about the requirements of each of the scholarships that the TREE Fund has to offer. 

TREE Fund Scholarships

Application Process

The TREE Fund will only accept applications between January 15th and March 15th each year. To apply, send an email containing a brief (no more than 100 words) introduction of yourself (e.g., name, school, year, expected graduation date, and applicable work information) to [email protected]. The TREE Fund staff will confirm eligibility for consideration and, if you qualify, will email you a numbered application form. The completed form and requested supporting documentation must be received by the TREE Fund staff no later than midnight on March 15th.