Regions Bank is offering its annual Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest in celebration of February as Black History Month.

The contest recognizes the influence and contributions of African-Americans while providing financial assistance to students facing growing higher education costs, a news release said.

High school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors who live in or attend college in states with Regions branches are eligible to participate. Students must submit a 500-word essay about how an African-American person has been an inspiration in their life.

One high school winner and one college winner will be chosen from each state served by Regions branches. High school winners receive $5,000 scholarships, and college winners receive $3,500. Winners will be announced in June and scholarships awarded in July.

Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 28. Official rules, entry details and eligibility requirements are available at Students need not make a purchase or have a banking relationship to participate.

For questions about the submission process or technical questions, call ISTS Customer Care at (855) 670-4787 or email between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The scholarship program has provided $764,000 to students since its launch in 2012.