Scholarship FAQ

The Application Process:

Who is eligible to apply for a scholarship?

Any student who attends a traditional public school in Hillsborough County and is currently in the 6th through 12th grade can apply for a scholarship. There may also be some scholarships for Hillsborough County Public School Employees.

How do I apply for a scholarship with the Hillsborough Education Foundation?

In order to apply for any of the Foundation scholarships, you only need to complete one online scholarship application. To start an application,  go to the  ‘Types of Scholarships’ tab, click on the scholarship category you qualify for, then click on the application link.   You will be instructed to create a user name and password to start the application. You will be able to save the application and come back later to complete it.  Once you have finished your application, a list of eligible scholarships will appear.

How are the applications scored?

Your application will be reviewed by a minimum of three different community volunteers. Each reviewer will give the application a score based on three factors: your GPA, your essay, and the overall perception of the application (this includes, extracurricular activities, community service, etc.). The scholarship recipients are selected based on the highest ranked application. Each student chosen will receive the largest possible scholarship they qualify for or multiple scholarships not to exceed $2500.

Who will be chosen to be a reviewer?

Our reviewer pool is made up of volunteers in the community, Foundation staff and committee members, and volunteers throughout the country. The review process is done completely on-line so we are able to include a wider selection of volunteers.

The Award Itself:

How much money is awarded with a Hillsborough Education Foundation Scholarship?

This depends on which scholarship you’ve been accepted for. The range is $1,000-$10,000. Please note that some scholarships of $4,000 and above are considered ‘multi-year’ scholarships and will be paid out over a 4-year period.

Who will receive the funds?

The scholarship funds will be sent directly to your school. The check will include your name and social security number and the funds will be placed in your student account. This is why it’s important to include your social security number on the Foundation Enrollment Verification Form  that is sent out in your scholarship notification packet.

What can the funds be used for?

The scholarship funds will go to tuition first, then books, fees, room/board, and if funds are still left over, the school will give you the remaining funds.

How will I know if I’ve been selected to receive a scholarship?

If you are selected to receive a scholarship, a ‘scholarship notification’ packet will be sent to you in the mail in May. This packet will give you all of the instructions you need to follow in order to have the funds sent to your school.

If I am awarded a scholarship, when will my school receive the funds?

It is the Foundation’s scholarship fund distribution will take place after July 31st of the award year, until June 30th of the following year. Once all of the required paperwork has been turned in, it usually takes from 3-4 weeks for the school to receive the funds. Please note that the longer you wait to send in the required paperwork, the longer it will take for your school to receive the funds.

What happens if I turned in all of the required documents and the school still does not have my scholarship funds?

Please allow 3-4 weeks from the time the Enrollment Verification Form is submitted to the Foundation for your funds to be placed in your school account. After this time, you should contact your Financial Aid Office to confirm whether or not they have received your funds. If they have not, call 813-574-0273 and we will let you know whether or not your school has cashed your check. Once the school deposits your check, it is no longer the Foundation’s responsibility to keep track of your scholarship funds.

How long do I have to use the scholarship funds?

You have until June 30th of the year following the ‘award year’ to turn in all documents. If everything is not turned in by this date, you forfeit the scholarship.

How will my scholarship funds be distributed?

Once your scholarship funds are deposited into your school account, it is up to your college how they want to distribute the funds. Some schools divide the total amount between two –four semesters. Contact your Financial Aid Office for their disbursement schedule and policy.

If I was awarded a scholarship as a junior, will I be eligible to apply again my senior year?

Yes, a junior can apply for a scholarship during their senior year as well, as long as they haven’t been awarded more than the maximum amount of $2,500 their junior year. Also, a junior is not allowed to receive the same ‘named’ scholarship both their junior and senior years.

If I was awarded a scholarship as a senior, will it be renewable?

No. There are some scholarships that are ‘multi-year’ scholarships; however, they are automatically renewed for the students who have been selected. Once you have graduated high school, you are not allowed to apply for any more student scholarships with the Foundation.

If I was awarded a Take Stock in Children (TSIC) Scholarship, will I be eligible to apply for a junior or senior scholarship?
Yes.

The Notification Packet:

Why do I need to fill out an Information Release Form?

The Foundation asks that each scholarship winner sign an Information Release Form  giving us permission to use any photos or testimonies in print or online publications to promote the scholarship program. If you or your parents do not want to give us this permission, you should circle the ‘do not’ option on the Release Form.

Why do I need to write a thank you letter to my scholarship donor?

The companies and individuals who donate to the Foundation’s Scholarship Program are doing so because they believe in education. There are many causes they can give their contributions to; however, they’ve chosen to help the students of Hillsborough County further their education and it is very important to thank them in any way we can. The thank you letters you write may also be posted on our website as a testimony to assist the Foundation in soliciting more donors to become a part of the Scholarship Program.

Why do I need to turn in my Student Aid Report (SAR) from FAFSA?

We ask that every student fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for as many grants or loans as possible to fund their college education. We do not want you to depend solely on the funds received by the Foundation. In order to confirm that you’ve tried to receive other funding, we ask that you turn in the SAR that you receive from FAFSA after you fill out the application on-line. Please visit www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information.

Why do I need to turn in an Enrollment Verification Form (EVF)?

Before we can send the scholarship funds to your school, we have to confirm that you are enrolled as a student. The EVF should be given to either the Registrar or Financial Aid Office to be filled out. Some schools will not fill out this form; instead they will have their own document verifying your enrollment. You can turn in the form, the document, or both. The enrollment verification goes by semester, so if you want to receive the funds for the fall semester, the EVF must be for the fall semester. If you turn in an EVF for the fall and the rest of the required documents do not get turned in until the spring semester, we will need another EVF for the spring semester before we can distribute the scholarship funds


Who turns in the Enrollment Verification Form (EVF)?

Some schools will mail the EVF to the Foundation directly; however, you should also have the option to have the school return the form to you after they sign it. You can then mail it to the Foundation. If you are depending on the school to mail in the form on your behalf, you should follow-up with them after the drop/add period to confirm they’ve mailed us the form. Please note that many of the colleges will wait until after the drop/add period before they agree to fill out the EVF.

General Questions:

How can I help contribute to the Scholarship Program?

  • Donate: You can donate to our General Scholarship Fund or start a named Scholarship of your own.
  • Volunteer: You can volunteer as a scholarship reviewer or at our annual Strides for Education 5K Walk/Run.
  • Advocate: You can tell your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone you meet about the work we do here at the Foundation. This will aid us in getting more students to apply for scholarships. The more students we have apply, the more donors will see the need.

For additional questions contact Cheryl Hedrick by phone at 813-574-0273, email chedrick@educationfoundation.com, or secure fax at 813-280-0595.

 

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