Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Scholarship Questions

When is the best time to start looking for scholarships?
The sooner the better. Searching for scholarships does take time so it is a good idea to start early and search often. Our scholarships require that you be at least a graduating high school senior before applying, and most deadlines are in early spring so decisions can be made and applicants notified before school starts in the fall. Eligibility requirements and deadline dates vary from year to year, so be sure review the details carefully.

Do I need to wait until I am accepted for admission before I apply for scholarships?
No, you can apply for scholarships while making final decisions about your education. However, you will have to be admitted and enrolled to an accredited college or university before the Community Foundation can pay an award.

Do I need to submit a FAFSA to be eligible to apply for scholarships?
Not unless specifically requested. However, some scholarships are awarded based on financial need. A FAFSA is required to apply for any scholarships based on financial need. Therefore, it is helpful to have a FAFSA on file.

What scholarships do you offer?
The Community Foundation manages 11 different scholarships with varied eligibility requirements. Visit Scholarship Funds to review the details of each scholarship, including eligibility requirements and application deadlines.

Am I eligible for this scholarship?
If you have a question about your eligibility, you can contact your school counselor or the Foundation office. Also, our online scholarship application system helps guide you through the application process.

May I apply for more than one scholarship at a time?
Yes. You are encouraged to apply for all scholarships for which you meet eligibility requirements.

How do I apply for a scholarship?
RCACF uses STARS Online as our online scholarship application system.  Create an account, enter your personal information, and the scholarship wizard will guide you through the application process.

May I fax or e-mail my application?
No. The Community Foundation utilizes an online application system.  All applications must be submitted through the online process.

May I receive awards from more than one scholarship?
Yes. It is possible, and acceptable, for you to receive multiple awards.

If I am awarded a scholarship, how much will I get?
Only a few of the scholarship funds have set award amounts. Most funds offer varying award amounts, which range from $250 to several thousand dollars. Awards depend on the size of the particular fund and the number of qualified applicants. Award amounts may vary from year to year.

What happens after my application is received?
Once a deadline has passed and all applications are processed, a committee will review the applications and make award recommendations. Award recommendations are based on scholarship criteria, the availability of funds and the competitiveness of the applicant pool. The review process may take several weeks and you will be notified of the committee’s decision.

When and how will I be notified if I receive a scholarship? May I call to follow up?
Scholarship selection committees meet and select recipients during April. All applicants are notified about the decisions. If you are selected as a scholarship recipient, your notification will include details of your award and the process for payment. Because of the number of applications we receive, we ask that you not contact us to follow up, unless you have a change of address to be noted. Be assured that we will notify everyone as soon as possible after final decisions are made.

If I receive a scholarship, how do I claim it?
The scholarship award letter will include an Acceptance Agreement form that must be signed and returned to our host Foundation, the Greater Salina Community Foundation by May 1. Scholarship checks will be issued in early August. The checks are made out jointly to you and your chosen school. They are mailed to your school, and you will receive a copy for your records. Once you get to school, you will have to endorse the check for it to be applied to your account.

What are my chances for receiving a scholarship?
Scholarship awards are based on scholarship criteria, the availability of funds and the competitiveness of the applicant pool. These factors change with every funding cycle and some years are more competitive than others. Please note that meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding and the reason for not receiving an award may be as simple as lack of funding.

Are the scholarships renewable?
Some are, but each scholarship is different. Please refer to any scholarship’s profile page for renewal requirements.

May I contact the donors who provided the funds for my scholarship?
Yes! We absolutely want you to send a thank you note that we can share with the founder of the fund. This is the best way for the donor to understand how important the scholarship is to the recipients. Unless otherwise instructed, please send your thank you note(s) to the Russell County Area Community Foundation, and we will send them along to the donor(s).

Do you have any tips for applying for scholarships?

  • Pay close attention to scholarship application deadlines. Applications submitted past the deadline are usually not considered.
  • Gather application materials early – give yourself plenty of time to complete each step. Applications that have been rushed look sloppy, and incomplete applications probably won’t be accepted.
  • Prepare your resume and keep it updated – this is a good way to outline your thoughts and show your activities and achievements.
  • In your essays, let your personality shine through. Present your ideas in a focused, thoughtful and meaningful manner. Write in a natural style and support your ideas with specific examples.
  • Proofread your essays and applications. Ask friends, teachers or parents for feedback. Errors or poor writing skills will have a negative effect.
  • Think carefully about who should write your letters of recommendation. Choose people who can be specific about your strengths as well as your ability to overcome your weaknesses.
  • Double check the list of required attachments and be sure you have included everything.
  • Keep a copy of everything you submit!
  • Don’t ignore small awards. Even these can add up!
  • If you are notified that you have received a scholarship made possible by a specific donor, send a thank you note to the donor.

Still have questions?
Please contact the Community Foundation or email Jenny Stack, Scholarship Coordinator at jennystack@gscf.org.