- Why are most Grand Rapids Community Foundation scholarships limited to Kent County residents?
Donors establishing a scholarship fund select criteria that are important to them. Supporting students in the local area remains a priority for many donors. If you reside in another area, you may want to check with your nearest community foundation. Click here to locate a community foundation in your area.
- Are all Foundation scholarships need-based?
The majority of Community Foundation scholarship donors have elected to make need one of the considerations during the selection process; however, the Cayvan String Instrument; Englehardt (Lowell), and the Grand Rapids Combined Theatre Scholarships are not based primarily on need.
- How is financial need determined?
Students/families seeking financial assistance should begin the process by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Through detailed information provided on the application, a Student Aid Report (SAR) is issued. The SAR, in turn, is submitted with college applications.
- Is there a way to estimate my EFC (Expected Family Contribution)?
Yes, a helpful tool for estimating financial aid and calculating your estimated EFC and financial need is found at www.finaid.org/calculators. Once you enter your student income, parent income, and estimated school costs, it will calculate an amount based on US Department of Education EFC formulas.
- If most Foundation scholarships are need based, is it worth applying if my adjusted gross income is above a certain amount or if I know I am receiving a large scholarship from the school?
There are other factors that are considered when we determine need such as the number in the family and the cost of the college. As a general rule, if your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA is more than the cost of attendance at the school, your student will not qualify for any of the Foundation's need based scholarships. Likewise, if the school will be providing a large sum in merit or other aid, your student probably will not qualify for Foundation need based scholarships.
- Are these scholarships taxable?
Awards are for direct expenses at the academic institution, such as tuition, fees and books. Money received for tuition, fees and books may not incur tax liability while amounts applied to room and board may be considered taxable income. Recipients should consult a tax professional for additional reporting responsibilities.
- Will my completed application qualify me to be considered for more than one scholarship?
Yes, the information you provide about yourself will be entered into the Foundation's data base and matched with the specific criteria for more than 40 Foundation scholarship funds. There are a few scholarships that require a separate form. Click here for a complete scholarship fund list and a list of scholarships requiring a separate application form.
- May I receive scholarships from more than one fund?
Yes. Occasionally a student may be selected to receive a scholarship from more than one Foundation scholarship fund.
- Do I have to re-apply if I received a Grand Rapids Community Foundation Scholarship last year?
Yes, the majority of Grand Rapids Community Foundation scholarships are one-time awards. You may submit a new application each year if you continue to fit the scholarship’s criteria. If you received a renewable scholarship, you will be notified by foundation staff and reminded to re-apply.
- Is this application available online?
Yes, it will be available online after January 1.
- Can Grand Rapids Community Foundation scholarships be used for study at any school?
Yes, a large number of Foundation scholarships can be used at any college or university in the US.
- Why do I need to complete a FAFSA?
Since most of the Community Foundation scholarships are need-based, it is necessary to complete the FAFSA by the appropriate deadline. Your college financial aid office will need the information provided by the FAFSA and your Student Aid Report (SAR) to complete the GRCF General Scholarship Financial Information Form. Applications are not considered complete until the Financial Information Form is received.
- Why is my parent's income considered when I am going to be the one paying for my education?
The Foundation supports the Federal Methodology formula created by Congress. It is based on the premise that it is a parent's and student's joint responsibility to provide funds for higher education from their income and assets (to the extent that they are able). As a general rule, a student is considered independent when she or he turns 24 years of age, marries, is primary provider for a dependent child, or is a veteran.
- If I am undecided about which college I am going to attend, where should I send my financial information form?
Send the financial form to a college that you have been accepted to and that has, or will receive, your financial aid (FAFSA) information. If you are still undecided between a public and private institution, have the college with the higher costs complete your financial information form.
- Is an unofficial transcript of my grades okay?
Yes, an unofficial transcript or Internet printout of your transcript is acceptable as long as it is clearly labeled with your name, current academic year, your cumulative grade point average, and the name of the college/university. For high school seniors, your first semester senior-year grades must be recorded, along with your cumulative grade point average. Grade point average must be reported based on a 4.0 unweighted scale. Include your ACT score if available.
- How important is the statement of goals essay?
Each essay is read and reviewed as part of the selection process. It is important that the applicant address each point outlined in the Aspirations and Educational Goals section of the application; neatness is considered in scoring.
- When will I find out if I have been awarded a scholarship?
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation will notify all applicants of scholarship decisions on or after June 20 each year.
- If I am awarded a scholarship, how much will I receive and how is it paid?
Most awards range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the income available in each fund. The average award is $1,000. Checks are made payable to and mailed directly to the college once you have accepted the scholarship award.
- Do I mail a copy of my application to the Foundation?
No, the only paperwork you are required to submit to complete your application is the Financial Information Form. You must download a .PDF and follow the directions on the form to have your first choice college complete and return it to us by April 15. Make sure you do this early enough that your college has ample time to complete and return the form to us on time.
- How will I know if the college has sent you the financial form?
Follow up with the college to ensure they have returned it to the foundation. If you have completed the online application and successfully submitted it electronically and we have not received the form from your college by April 15, we will send an email to you using the email you provided on your application. You must then contact the college to ensure they provide it.