SARASOTA - Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded more than $537,000 in scholarships for the upcoming school year.

The 461 scholarships will include more than $215,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation Scholarship Fund, an endowment established to help local students pursue meaningful higher education.

The rest of the scholarship funding comes from more than 50 different scholarship funds established by donors and administered by the foundation on their behalf. Many of these scholarships support students pursuing specific fields of study, such as health care, vocational training, business, or the arts, while others focus on students from particular communities or schools.

Through its scholarship program, Gulf Coast Community Foundation provides financial assistance to area students pursuing technical education, two– or four–year degrees, or graduate studies. Recipients of the foundation's scholarships may be from Sarasota County, Charlotte County or Boca Grande. Since 1997, the foundation and its donors have invested more than $8 million in deserving students through scholarships.