Attention high school senior! Class of 2012!? Yeah, we are talking to you. There's a new incentive to stay local when you start college next fall all thanks to the OceanFirst Foundation based in Toms River.

Building on its long-standing tradition of supporting higher education, they've awarded $200,000 in grants to Brookdale Community College, Georgian Court University, Monmouth University and Ocean County College for scholarships that will help high school graduates from the Jersey Shore area pursue their education. Each school will use their $50,000 grant to provide scholarships for tuition, fees and books to incoming full-time freshmen for the fall semester of 2012.

OceanFirst Foundation Scholarship recipients at Brookdale Community College and Ocean County College will each receive $1,000 awards and at Georgian Court University and Monmouth University scholarship recipients will each receive $2,500 awards. Each College/University will evaluate all scholarship applications and select recipients based on the College/University's existing policies and procedures for awarding scholarships. Selection decisions are made completely independent of OceanFirst Foundation.

Executive Director of the OceanFirst Foundation Kathy Durante says "the deadline for submitting an application to Georgian Court University and Monmouth University is March 1, 2012 and the deadline for submitting an application to Brookdale Community College and Ocean County College is May 15, 2012."

To learn more about the scholarship program, eligibility requirements, how to apply and to obtain an application, visit oceanfirstfdn.org