The students were evaluated based on written statements and roundtable discussions by a judging panel composed of local civic and business leaders. Areas of competition included applied arts, fine arts, liberal arts and science and mathematics. In each of the four areas a first-place winner was selected to receive a $2,000 scholarship. Second- and third-place winners were awarded $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, with the remaining finalists receiving scholarships of $500 each.
The San Diego County competition was one of 10 achievement awards regional final events throughout the state during April and May. The program began in February when more than 3,000 students from about 1,200 public and private schools were selected by faculty members as outstanding seniors in one of the four general academic fields. Each of these winners received a plaque from the bank.
After preliminary judging, the academic and extracurricular records of these seniors were submitted to an independent judging organization for further evaluation. From this group, 320 students were selected to compete as finalists in the state's 10 regional events.
Bank of America launched its annual achievement awards program in 1948 to acknowledge and reward well-rounded students who demonstrated outstanding performance in specific fields of study. Since the program's inception, the bank has awarded millions of dollars to more than 1 million high school seniors throughout California. This year, awards will total $280,000 statewide.
In addition to the Achievement Awards, Bank of America supports education through the Bank of America Foundation. The bank also provides tuition reimbursement to help its associates pay for accredited college tuition and tuition-related expenses, up to $2,000 (non-taxable) per calendar year for undergraduate courses and $4,000 (taxable) for graduate courses. Courses do not need to be job-related.