Paying for college is no picnic! But, thanks to our generous donors, it’s easier. They make it possible for students at every age, income level, academic ability, and athletic aim to receive Community Foundation scholarships. They understand that the gift of education is priceless. Because of their generous donations, we can say, “yes” to Grant County’s most deserving students. All Grant County U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens pursuing higher education at an accredited nonprofit university, college, or trade school, part-time or full-time, who are from Grant County are eligible to apply for scholarships. Of course, funding is limited and highly competitive, not every applicant will receive a scholarship. To improve your chances, however, check out this recipe for baking up a perfect application! Check out the step-by-step process below of how a scholarship becomes a reality.
1. IRS Regulations
A scholarship is defined as a grant for qualified education expenses; tuition, fees, and books only.
The Pension Protection Act (PPA) requires us to:
(a) Approve the scholarship application questions
(b) Oversee the selection process
(c) Appoint a majority of scholarship reviewers to any family scholarship fund committees
2. Donor Criteria
Each donor establishes their own scholarship criteria at the time the fund is opened. It is the job of the Community Foundation to ensure that the pre-established criteria is met by each applicant.
Reviewers are asked to score applications based on the scholarship criteria. Each reviewer signs a recusal form verifying they are not related to applicants and they will score in a fair and unbiased manner.
A group of community volunteers review each scholarship application in a “blind” review process. Reviewers are asked to score applications based on the scholarship criteria. Each reviewer signs a recusal form verifying they are not related to applicants and they will score in a fair and unbiased manner.
4. Board of Directors
The Community Foundation’s Board of Directors examines and approves the reviewers’ top-ranked candidates based on how much funding the student needs in order to afford average tuition, fees, and books at the state college rate.
Once an application is reviewed by volunteers, the top-ranked candidates receive scholarship offers. Students must verify their qualifications before an award is approved.
6. Scholarship Acceptance Agreement Follow-up Form
By signing the Acceptance Agreement, the student is allowing the Community Foundation to verify their college enrollment and major for the offer to become an official award. We will also request that you submit a headshot and thank you letter for the donors that made this scholarship opportunity possible.
When the student is verified, the offer then becomes an award. If the student isn’t verified, an offer will be made to the runner-up. Awards are mailed directly to the college bursar’s office in June. Funds are used immediately for ‘qualified education expenses’ as defined by the IRS.
Scholarships are not automatically renewable. But, there are some in which the donor wishes to support a student over multiple years. However, students must apply each year and continue to meet the original criteria of the scholarship in order to be considered for an additional year. Bottom line: Complete the Community Foundation application each year you plan to attend college.
Our goal is to help as many Grant County students as possible go to college with our scholarship awards. Each year we calculate the average cost of public school tuition/fees/books as a benchmark for award maximums (around $11,000). Additionally, students who have a 100% tuition waiver for college can still apply with us to potentially receive a maximum $1,000 scholarship to cover textbook expenses. Hundreds of students apply for scholarships with the Community Foundation of Grant County each year. We try to help as many deserving students as possible with funding for tuition/fees/books; however, room and board costs cannot be covered with our scholarship funding.
In order to make a scholarship as beneficial as possible, the minimum scholarship amount the Community Foundation provides is set at $500. This could mean smaller scholarships are paired together to equal or exceed that minimum. With average textbook costs at approximately $1,000 annually, this minimum helps to fund a semester of books.
By the Numbers
~$500,000 Scholarship dollars available annually
$32,731 Average loan debt for college grads*
$7,833 Average tuition/fees at a state university
$4,000 Average awarded scholarship amount
120 Total number of scholarship funds held at the Community Foundation
*U.S. News and World Report