Scholarship FAQ

The Application Process:

Who is eligible to apply for a scholarship?

Any student who attends a public school in Hillsborough County and is currently in the 6th-9th or 12th grade can apply for a scholarship. There are also 2 scholarships for Hillsborough County Public School Employees wishing to further their education.

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 tab APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP tab or the application links on the type of scholarships page.   You will be instructed to enter your email address and create a password to start the application. Please regiser using the student name, not the parent name.  You will be able to save the application and come back later to complete it until the deadline.  Once you have finished your application, a list of eligible scholarships will appear. Some may have additional questions that you must answer to apply. You will be automatically applied to others with no further questions.

Who will review the applications?

Our reviewer pool is made up of volunteers from the Tampa Bay community, scholarship donors, Foundation board & staff, Foundation committee members and additional volunteers throughout the country. The review process is done completely online so we are able to include nationwide volunteers reviewers also. All basic identifying factors are blinded out to the reviewer to make it a fair process,

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 (1-100) based on a variety of factors such as financial need, GPA, your essay,  extracurricular  & community service activities and the overall perception of the application (spelling and grammar). Scholarship recipients are selected based on the highest ranked application. Each recipient will always receive the largest possible scholarship they rank highest in or a combination of multiple scholarships up to $2500.

 

The Award:

How much money is a Hillsborough Education Foundation Scholarship?

If you are in the 6th-9th grade, you may recieve a 2 year community college scholarship all the way up to a 4 year university Florida Prepaid Scholarship.  If you are a senior, the range is $1,000-$10,000. Please note that some scholarships of $4,000 and above are considered ‘multi-year’ scholarships and may be paid out over a 4-year period. 

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 by the end of April. This packet will give you all of the instructions you need to follow in order to have the funds sent to your school. You will also be able to log back into your online application at the APPLICATION WEBSITE to see the status of your application.

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.

Who will receive the funds after I am awarded?

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

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

The Foundation’s scholarship fund distribution will start after July 1st of the award year, until June 30th of the following first year of college. Once all of the required paperwork has been turned in, it usually takes from 2-3 weeks for the college to post the funds on your student account. 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 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 research to find out if 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. If you are awarded a multi-year scholarship, you will be sent an Enrollment Verification form each summer to complete for additional payments. 

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. Contact your Financial Aid Office for their disbursement schedule and policy. Some schools divide the total amount between 2 to 4 semesters. If you also received a scholarship from your college for a specific amount, the amount should not be reduced because we awarded you this scholarship.  If you notice that your college has been reduced after we send your scholarship, please call us to let us know. 

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 awarded that way and are automatically renewed for the student pending all requirements are completed on an annual basis.  Once you have graduated high school, you are will not be eligible for more student scholarships through the Foundation.

If I was awarded a Take Stock in Children (TSIC) Scholarship in the 6th-9th grade, will I be eligible to apply for a senior scholarship with the Foundation?     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 share or 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 Public Schools further their education and it is very important to thank them in any way we can. The thank you letter 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.

Should I complete a FAFSA too?

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. College can be very expensive, we do not want you to depend solely on the possibility of a scholarship from the Foundation. 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 college or university, we have to confirm that you are enrolled as a student. You should fill out the top portion and sign the form. Then the EVF should be given to either the Registrar or Financial Aid Office to complete the bottom of the form.   Some schools will not fill out this form; instead they will have you request a verification form from a clearinghouse. You must still complete the top portion of the EVR form and attach the college form to it;  then turn in both forms together.  The enrollment verification verifies by semester so if you want to receive the funds for the fall semester, the EVF must be returned in 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 mail, fax or email the form to the Foundation. If you are depending on the school to mail in the form on your behalf, you should follow-up with them to confirm they’ve sent us the form.

Please note: many colleges will not verify your enrollment until after the drop/add period.

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 .
  • 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,  secure fax at 813-280-0595 or mail to Hillsborough Education Foundation 2306 N. Howard Ave. Tampa, FL 33618

 

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