FREQUENTLY ASKED SCHOLARSHIP QUESTIONS

Review frequently asked scholarship questions below. If you cannot find an answer to your question, contact Chamika Ford, program officer at Saginaw Community Foundation, at (989) 755-0545 or email chamika@saginawfoundation.org.

 

 

The Application

 

What types of awards and honors should I include in the applicant profile?

Include all of the awards and honors you have received in the past four years. An award is something given to you in recognition of merit or achievement. Don’t sell yourself short by leaving out an accomplishment because you do not think it is important. If you are uncertain on whether you should list a particular accomplishment, contact the Foundation to discuss. 

Examples: A recognition of merit, perfect school attendance, science fair awards, athletic awards, scholar awards, employee recognition, leadership program participation, band involvement, nominations, etc.

 

What if I have more awards and honors than the space allowed on the application?

A separate list of awards and honors – including volunteer, school and community activities – can be uploaded with your application. It is important to include all awards and honors to maximize your chances of matching specific scholarship requirements.

 

What should I list under school activities?

Include any extracurricular activity or school-sponsored group or event (i.e., debate club, sports teams, National Honor Society, intramural sports, SADD, etc.) that you have participated in during the last four years. 

 

What should I list under community service/volunteer activities?

Include any activity you have taken part in to make the community a better place (i.e., soup kitchen, tutoring, community clean-ups, community boards, etc.) List where and how you volunteered.

 

What should I list under other activities?

Include any activity not related to school (i.e., Girl Scouts, traveling sports team, church youth group, professional trade association, etc.)

 

I have nothing to list under school activities. What should I do?

Applicants who have been out of school for several years sometimes struggle to fill the activities section. Consider other strengths you can list, such as involvement in the community, PTA, church, organizations, etc. Also consider listing other life experience activities, such as raising a family or caring for a sick relative. Call the Foundation for additional guidance if you would like help. 

 

I don’t have a computer to complete the online application. What can I do?

Most local libraries have computers and scanners available for library patrons to use. Check with your local library branch about computer resources available.

Two scholarship help days will be scheduled before the deadline to allow you to have one-on-one assistance with your application at the Foundation, usually in January and February each year (follow us on social media for exact dates and times). Contact the Foundation in advance if you would like to use a computer to ensure availability. For additional information, contact your guidance counselor.

 

I need help answering some of the application questions and cannot find the answer here. What can I do?

Contact Chamika Ford, program officer at Saginaw Community Foundation, at chamika@saginawfoundation.org or call (989) 755-0545.

 

I can’t get my application submitted on time. Can I have a deadline extension?

Unfortunately, we cannot extend our application deadline for any reason.

 

 

Transcripts

 

Can I submit a report card instead of a transcript?

No, report cards are not accepted for this scholarship application. 

 

I am a high school senior, but the only transcripts that are currently available to me are from the end of my 11th grade. Are these acceptable?

7th semester transcripts should be available before the application deadline of Feb. 10.

 

What if  it will take too long to receive or cost money to get my official college transcript?

A student copy of a current college transcript is acceptable. If you submit a transcript printed from the Internet, you may be asked to supply an official transcript if awarded a scholarship. Be certain that your full name is included on the transcript you submit with your application.

 

 

Financial Need

 

My income or my parents’ income is high. Will I still qualify for scholarships?

Not all of the scholarships consider financial need when evaluating the applicants. Additionally, scholarships give a varying degree of weight to financial need. For example, financial need is 50% of the total score for some scholarships, but only 5% of the total score for others.

Even if you score low on financial need through your application, it sometimes is only a small percentage of the evaluation criteria and can affect your overall score.

Other factors help determine financial need, including the number of people living in your home and the number of full-time college students in your home. The foundation also considers other financial hardships when determining your financial score. If your parent has taken a cut in pay or a cut in hours, or they are struggling with medical bills, you can include that information for consideration.

 

I am only applying for scholarships that are not based on financial need. Do I still have to complete the Financial Information Tab?

No. If the scholarships you are applying for do not consider financial need in any way, you do not need to complete the Financial Information Tab. However, if you are applying for any need-based scholarships and you have not uploaded your FAFSA information or a document explaining why you are unable to complete FAFSA, your application will not be considered for financial need-based scholarships. To determine if a particular scholarship evaluates financial need, refer to the evaluation criteria of the scholarships listed in the directory.

 

Who will see my financial information?

Your financial information will never be shared with anyone other than the foundation staff member who enters the information into the database. This information is always kept confidential and will not be seen by scholarship reviewers or donors. 

 

Why do I have to include my FAFSA information?

Please note: For the 2023-2024 scholarship application, FAFSA information is not required.

However, FAFSA information may be requested on future scholarship applications. The FAFSA Information Page you are submitting to Saginaw Community Foundation includes your “Student Aid Index”. Your financial need is based on this figure.

 

Where do I find my Student Aid Index (SAI) on my FAFSA Report?

Please note: For the 2023-2024 scholarship application, FAFSA information is not required.

After completing your FAFSA, you will be provided with documentation that will contain your Student Aid Index (SAI). You will need to upload this documentation with your application.

 

Other

 

How many credit hours are required for part-time and full-time enrollment?

A minimum of 6 credit hours are required for part-time enrollment for undergraduate students or 3 credit hours for graduate students. To be considered a full-time student, you must enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours as an undergraduate student or 9 credit hours as a graduate student.

 

What is the difference between a traditional student and a nontraditional student?

A traditional student immediately enrolls in college after graduating from high school. Nontraditional students have been out of school for at least two school semesters and are returning to school to earn a degree.

 

How will my application be evaluated and who picks the scholarship recipients?

A general review committee of approximately 200 people from the community evaluate the scholarship applications. The reviewers are from all walks of life, races, religions and ages. To assure fairness, every application is reviewed by five different volunteer reviewers and the scores are averaged.

Scholarship reviewers individually score the applications in nine areas: extracurricular school activities, work experience, community activities/community service, overall involvement in community, school and work, leadership, awards and honors, essay/commitment to career, letters of recommendation and citizenship/character. A reviewer will give each applicant a score between 1 and 10 in each of these areas. The scores are returned to the Foundation and the score for each area is averaged. Each scholarship has a weight for each area scored, which is determined by the donor who set up the award. These weights are used to evaluate the students for scholarships because each scholarship has different qualifying criteria and evaluating criteria.

Example: A donor may choose to use only the scores for the essay, leadership and awards and honors. Additionally, the score for the essay could be weighted as 50%, and the leadership, awards and honors scores could each be weighted equally at 16.5%.

Scholarship criteria is noted on each scholarship in the directory.

 

If I know someone on the General Review Committee, can they evaluate my application?

No. All committee members sign a Conflict of Interest statement revealing any relationship with an applicant they will be reviewing. Relationships include relatives, close personal friends, business partners or clients with any direct or indirect financial or proprietary interest in the result of a decision made by the scholarship committee. If that reviewer has a relationship with any applicant in their packet, they are asked to refrain from reviewing that student.

 

If my parent is a board or staff member of the community foundation, can I apply for scholarships?

Immediate family members of the Board of Directors of Saginaw Community Foundation are permitted to apply for and potentially receive scholarships from Saginaw Community Foundation. Immediate family members of Foundation staff are not permitted to apply for scholarships.

Immediate family members are defined as spouses, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and parents. This includes step-relationships.

 

One of my relatives has a scholarship at the Saginaw Community Foundation. Can I apply for that scholarship?

While you cannot apply for that particular scholarship, there are 235+ other scholarships in which you may qualify.

If your immediate family member is a fund representative or donor to a specific scholarship fund, you are not eligible for that particular scholarship. You may still apply for any other scholarships.

 

When will the Foundation announce scholarship recipients?

All scholarship applicants will be notified in writing about the outcome of their application in mid-May each year.