Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a scholarship fund?
- How are eligibility requirements determined?
- How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
- Are only graduating high school seniors eligible?
- What if I am not a "straight A" student?
- What if I’m attending a vocational school?
- Do you have scholarships for graduate or professional programs?
- How do I apply?
- What is a common application?
- Can I fill out more than one common application?
- I filled out the common application, now what?
- I was not matched to any scholarships, but I meet all the eligibility criteria. What should I do?
- Can I apply for more than one scholarship?
- If I am applying for multiple scholarships do I have to submit separate required attachments for each program?
- What kind of Personal Statement/essay do I need to write?
- Can I use a copy of a letter of reference that was written for another scholarship or for my college application?
- Can I receive more than one scholarship?
- When will I be notified?
- I moved. How do I update my contact information?
- If I am awarded a scholarship, do I get the check?
- Can I postpone the payment of my scholarship?
- If I receive a scholarship one year, will I automatically receive an award the following year?
- I am received a renewable scholarship, do I submit renewal paperwork online?
- Are scholarships taxable?
- If I want to send a thank you note, where do I send it?
What is a scholarship fund?
Scholarship funds are charitable accounts established at Silicon Valley Community Foundation by generous individuals, corporations or organizations for the purpose of assisting students in continuing their education. Scholarships do not need to be repaid.
How are eligibility requirements determined?
Each individual, corporation or organization determines the eligibility criteria when the scholarship fund is established. However, before launching any scholarship program the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s board of directors reviews and approves the eligibility criteria to ensure that it is fair and non-discriminatory. Some scholarship funds support residents of a city or county; others are directed to students interested in a specific field of study. Although each scholarship takes financial need into consideration, some scholarships also focus on academic achievement, academic potential or community services.
How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
Eligibility criteria are listed under each scholarship program and in the Scholarship Description(s) and Application Instructions booklets. Thoroughly read each scholarship program’s eligibility requirements to identify the scholarships for which you may be eligible.
Are only graduating high school seniors eligible?
No. While many of our scholarships are for graduating high school seniors, others are open to students already enrolled in college or adults who want to go back to school.
What if I am not a "straight A" student?
Silicon Valley Community Foundation offers scholarships for a variety of students, including part-time students and students who are likely not to receive other scholarships because of their grades. The Ruppert Educational Grant Program awards students who show academic promise and improvement during the last high school or early college years, but who have a cumulative GPA of no more than 3.3. The Curry Award for Girls and Young Women and Sand Hill Scholars scholarships do not have GPA requirements; however, both look for applicants that are highly likely to succeed in college. Read all scholarship descriptions carefully to determine which eligibility criteria you meet and what program(s) you can apply for.
What if I’m attending a vocational school?
Our donors understand that not all students take the traditional path in their pursuit of higher education, and some program, such as The Ruppert Educational Grant Program and the Eustace-Kwan Family Foundation Scholarship, provide scholarship support to students who attend vocational schools. Again, thoroughly review the program descriptions to identify all the scholarships for which you may be eligible.
How do I apply?
Beginning December 2012, all applications for community foundation managed scholarship programs will be submitted using our applySVCF online application system. Student applicants (both new and former) will need to create a user name, password and profile to be able to apply for scholarships. Once your username and password have been created, you will be directed to a web page where you will select the common application(s) you think will best match you to scholarships for which you may be eligible. You will also be required to attach supporting documents (personal statement, letters of reference, academic transcripts, etc.) to your online application. Refer to the appropriate Scholarship Description and Application Instructions booklets for more complete and detailed instructions on how to apply. These are available below each scholarship description.
What is a common application?
A common application is a more efficient way for students to apply for scholarships. Rather than filling out individual applications for each program, students fill out one or two applications that can match them to multiple scholarship opportunities. Silicon Valley Community Foundation uses three common applications: Graduating High School Senior and Undergraduate Student Scholarship Application, Graduate Student Scholarship Application, and Re-entry and Non-traditional Student Scholarship Application. Read through the programs that fall within each common application to determine which common application(s) you should fill out.
Can I fill out more than one common application?
Yes. We encourage students to complete the common applications that will match them to programs for which they may be eligible. To determine which common application(s) you should complete, refer to the specific eligibility criteria of each scholarship program and fill out the common application(s) associated with every program you are eligible for.
I filled out the common application, now what?
If you are matched to scholarships, you will need to submit required attachments. Each scholarship will have a checklist of all the necessary documents you need to provide. All documents should be submitted as PDFs. If you have questions about the requirements please contact the scholarships support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 650.450.5487.
I was not matched to any scholarships, but I meet all the eligibility criteria. What should I do?
If you feel that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for one or more scholarships, but you were not matched to any programs, please immediately contact our scholarships support team at the email and phone number listed at the bottom of your applySVCF application.
If I am applying for multiple scholarships do I have to submit separate required attachments for each program?
Yes. In most cases you will be able to use the same documents, but you will need to re-attach them to each program that you are matched to. Nevertheless, you should pay close attention to each program’s specific instructions because in some cases the required attachments and the nature of the personal statement required may be different.
What kind of Personal Statement/essay do I need to write?
Your personal statement should address the topics noted in the application instructions for each scholarship, and should make a strong case for why you are the best candidate for the scholarship(s) for which you are applying.
Can I receive more than one scholarship?
Yes. Some students may receive more than one scholarship. However, recipients of the Crain Educational Grant or the Hazel Reed Baumeister Scholarship Program can receive either scholarship, but not both.
I moved. How do I update my contact information?
To update your contact information, you will need to login to your applySVCF account and go to the “update my profile” link. Be sure that your mailing address, home address, phone numbers and preferred email are up to date. This is very important because regular notifications will be sent out via email; we may also need to contact you directly by phone if we have any questions about your application or required attachments. Finally, should you be awarded, the official award and payment letters will be mailed to the address you provide on your online application.
If I am awarded a scholarship, do I get the check?
No, it is against the community foundation’s policies to pay scholarships directly to students. Should you be awarded, scholarship payments will be sent to your college financial aid office after you submit verification of admission and enrollment.
Can I postpone the payment of my scholarship?
Yes. However, all future payments are contingent upon satisfactory financial market performance and available assets in the particular scholarship fund, and scholarships can only be held for the duration of your undergraduate studies.
If I receive a scholarship one year, will I automatically receive an award the following year?
No. However, some scholarships allow prior recipients to reapply in competition with other applicants, and some scholarships are renewable, provided that recipients meet renewal eligibility requirements. Should you be awarded, your award letter will inform you if your scholarship is renewable.
I am received a renewable scholarship, do I submit renewal paperwork online?
Yes, all students receiving a renewable scholarship will need to fill out and submit a Scholarship Renewal Application through their applySVCF account.
Are scholarships taxable?
For degree-seeking students who use scholarships for tuition, fees, books and required supplies, the scholarships are usually not taxable. However, any portions of scholarships used for room and board, travel, or miscellaneous expenses are usually taxable. Silicon Valley Community Foundation recommends that you and your parents consult a tax expert for advice.
If I want to send a thank you note, where do I send it?
We encourage all recipients to send thank you notes. Address your thank you note to Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Attn: Lisa Alvarez, Scholarships Officer. The thank you notes are shared with Scholarship Committee members and the donors who established the scholarship funds.