BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Regions Bank on Thursday announced applications are being accepted in the 2016 Regions Riding Forward® Scholarship Essay Contest. Now in its fifth year, the scholarship contest celebrates Black History Month and provides educational opportunities by recognizing the contributions of African-Americans both in local communities as well as on regional, national and global levels. Eligible high school seniors and college students may apply by submitting a competitive essay about how an African-American has inspired and motivated the student. “Since the contest started in 2012, Regions has awarded more than $500,000 to help students further their education,” said Michele Elrod, head of Corporate Marketing for Regions. “We are proud of the impact the Regions Riding Forward program is having, and we are inspired by the students’ essays that beautifully illustrate how key figures have had a unique, individual impact on others while bringing about positive change in our world.” Essays should address how an African-American individual has served as an inspiration to the applicant and should discuss the contributions of that individual. The focus can be a well-known current or historic figure or an individual who may only be known in his or her community – but has had a positive impact on the student’s life and the lives of others. Essays should be 500 words or less. “This scholarship contest is a key component of Regions’ ongoing commitment to education, diversity and inclusion,” said Lajuana Bradford, head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Regions. “As they write their essays, we want students to think about someone who has made a distinct impression on their lives. We invite them to share with us how that person’s actions, their words or their legacy are inspiring them today.” High school seniors are eligible to apply for a $5,000 scholarship, while college freshmen, sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply for a $3,500 scholarship. Entries will be accepted through Feb. 25. Official rules and complete entry details and eligibility requirements are available on the campaign’s website, www.regions.com/ridingforward. Regions will select one high school senior winner and one college student winner from each of the 16 states served by Regions branches, for a total of 32 winners. Winners will be announced in May or June, and scholarships are scheduled to be awarded in July. The Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest is part of the bank’s larger Black History Month celebration. In addition to the scholarship program, Regions is continuing to offer a unique online learning module about African-American history, “306: African-American History™,” to select high schools in markets served by the company. The online module was developed by EverFi. For specific questions about the Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest submission process, or for technical questions, please contact the contest administrator, ISTS, at ISTS Customer Care at 855-670-ISTS (4787) or via email at [email protected]. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. All phone calls and emails will receive a response within one business day.