Frequently Asked Questions

View frequently asked questions for each of these categories:

About SVCF scholarships Eligibility How to apply
Using our online application system ("Apply SVCF") to apply for select scholarships Application documents Updating your contact information
Scholarship award payments Renewable scholarships Thank you notes
Other resources    

About SVCF scholarships

What is a scholarship fund?
Scholarship funds are charitable accounts established at SVCF by generous individuals, corporations or organizations for the purpose of assisting students in paying for their education. Scholarships do not need to be repaid.

What is the difference between SVCF Managed Scholarships and Donor Involved Scholarships?
SVCF staff administers the application, selection and award process of SVCF Managed Scholarships. Applications are accepted through our online application portal, Apply SVCF, starting Jan. 9, 2018. 

While SVCF provides oversight and administers the payment process for Donor Involved Scholarships, the application and selection processes are managed by an external selection committee appointed by SVCF. The description for each Donor Involved Scholarship lists a contact person or organization who you should contact for an application or additional information. Applications for Donor Involved Scholarships are not accepted through Apply SVCF.

Can I receive more than one scholarship?
Yes; however, if you’ve been previously awarded and have scholarships on hold, you will be disqualified from being a finalist. Students may receive more than one scholarship, if they have no scholarships on hold. However, recipients of the Crain Educational Grant or the Hazel Reed Baumeister Scholarship Program can receive either scholarship, but not both.

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Eligibility

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. 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. Find the scholarships that are right for you!

What if I’m attending a vocational school?
Please find all scholarships for students in vocational school here.

  • 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 provides 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.

Do you have scholarships for graduate or professional programs?  
Yes. Please see all programs for graduate students here.

What if I am not a "straight A" student?
SVCF 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.

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, SVCF’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. Find the scholarships that are right for you!

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How to apply

How do I apply to SVCF Managed Scholarships?
All applications for SVCF Managed Scholarships must be submitted through Apply SVCF, our online application system. 

  1. First, applicants (both new and returning) will need to register or login to Apply SVCF.
  2. Next, you'll need to complete or update your profile, which will allow our system to identify scholarships for which you may be eligible.
  3. Then, return to the Apply SVCF main page, and see which scholarships are a match for you, and start completing each scholarship's online application. Please note: Some scholarships require a few additional questions to determine your eligibility - this will be indicated in the system when required. 
  4. In addition to completing the scholarship application form, applicants are required to upload supporting application documents (personal statement, letters of reference, academic transcripts, etc.), as outlined in the application instructions for each SVCF Managed Scholarship. View each scholarship's webpage for details.
  5. Save, review and finalize your application before submitting. Once you hit submit, you will not be able to make edits. 

How do I apply to Donor Involved Scholarships?
Each Donor Involved Scholarship varies. For scholarship details and application information, please contact the appropriate organization or individual listed in the description of each Donor Involved Scholarship. Applications for Donor Involved Scholarships are not accepted through Apply SVCF.

Can I apply for more than one scholarship?
Yes. You will be able to complete an application for each scholarship for which you are eligible after you update your profile.

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Using our online application system (“Apply SVCF”) to apply for select scholarships

How do I get started?
Go to our online application system, Apply SVCF, to apply for SVCF Managed Scholarships.To apply through the online system:

  1. First, applicants (both new and returning) will need to register and login to Apply SVCF.
  2. Next, you'll need to complete your profile, which will allow our system to identify scholarships for which you may be eligible.
  3. Then, return to the Apply SVCF main page, and see which scholarships are a match for you, and start completing each scholarship's online application. Please note: Some scholarships require a few additional questions to determine your eligibility - this will be indicated in the system when required. If you don’t see a scholarship that you believe you are eligible for, review the eligibility criteria and the answers in your profile and make necessary updates.
  4. In addition to the scholarship application form, applicants are required to upload supporting application documents (personal statement, letters of reference, academic transcripts, etc.), as outlined in the application instructions for each SVCF Managed Scholarship. View each scholarship's webpage for details.
  5. Save, review and finalize your application before submitting. Once you hit submit, you will not be able to make edits. 

I have logged into Apply SVCF – why can’t I apply to any scholarships?
To access available scholarship applications for which you are eligible, you must complete or update your profile first. Your profile will match you to scholarships for which you may be eligible.

I have updated my profile on Apply SVCF – now what?
Based on the information in your profile, our system will identify SVCF Managed Scholarships for which you may be eligible. If the system matches you to available scholarships, you will see the available application(s) on your homepage. You will need to review the detailed criteria of the scholarship to confirm that you meet all eligibility criteria. Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you will submit an application for each scholarship for which you are eligible.

I updated my profile on Apply SVCF and was not matched to any scholarships, but I meet all the eligibility criteria. What should I do?
If you think that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for one or more scholarships, but you were not matched to any programs, please contact our scholarships support team at scholarships@siliconvalleycf.org

I started my online application for a scholarship  how do I return to that saved application?
To access your existing application, login to Apply SVCF and go to the "My Scholarships" section on the lower left side of the homepage. All applications you've started will be saved in the "My Scholarships" section and can be opened there.

Please note: You cannot access your existing application in the "Scholarship Opportunities" section. Clicking “Apply” again will create a duplicate application!

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Application documents

What information or materials are needed to apply? 
For SVCF Managed Scholarships, applicants are required to provide:

  • Applicant Information – General information about you;
  • Education – Academic related information (current/future enrollment and goals);
  • Extracurricular Activities – Information on activities (school, community or work related) that you have been involved in, and any awards or honors you have received;
  • Financial Information – Information regarding finances for you and/or your family.

In addition, applicants will need to upload a personal statement, financial need documents (FAFSA, Student Aid Report or other), two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and (for certain scholarships) other documents, like employer verifcation. Each scholarship's application requirements are outlined on the scholarship's webpage

For Donor Involved Scholarships, application requirements vary. Please contact the organization or individual listed on each scholarship's webpage for details.

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 or essay do I need to write?
Your personal statement should address the prompts 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. Statements should be double spaced, and adhere to the required title directions and word count (see each scholarship's webpage for details). 

Can I use a copy of a letter of reference that was written for another scholarship or for my college application?
Yes. However, the letter must be for the current academic year.

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?
There are two ways to submit your letters of recommendation. 

  • Option 1: Obtain the two letters of recommendation from your recommenders as PDFs and upload them yourself to your Apply SVCF application.
     
  • Option 2: Have your recommenders submit the letters themselves. First, you'll need to include the names and email addresses of your two recommenders in your Apply SVCF application (be sure to ask recommenders before providing their information). Then, we will email your recommenders and request that they submit their letters to us directly. 

Note: Regardless of your submission method, it is your responsibility to ensure letters are submitted by the deadline! 

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Updating your contact information

I moved. How do I update my contact information?
To update your contact information, login to the online application portal and update your profile. Be sure that your mailing address, home address, phone numbers and preferred email are up to date. 

Please also notify our scholarships support team at scholarships@siliconvalleycf.org. 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.

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Scholarship award payments

When will I be notified if I receive a scholarship?
Most notifications will be emailed between May and June. We highly recommend you refer to the specific program’s timeline. You can also track the status of your application by logging into the application portal.

If I am awarded a scholarship, do I get the check?
No, it is against SVCF’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 or enrollment, and the Scholarship Acceptance and Agreement form through the online portal.

Can I postpone the payment of my scholarship?
Yes, but only for one-time scholarships. Renewable scholarships cannot be postponed. Also, if you defer payments, 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.

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.

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Renewable scholarships

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 receiving a renewable scholarship, do I submit renewal paperwork online?
Renewal students will receive an email notification in May with instructions on completing the Renewal Scholarship Form through the online application system.

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Thank you notes

If I want to send a thank you note, where do I send it?
We encourage all recipients to send thank you notes. Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to submit a thank you note electronically when the scholarship award is claimed through the online Scholarship Acceptance and Agreement Form. The thank you notes are shared with scholarship committee members and the donors who established the scholarship funds.

  • All other thank you notes can be addressed to Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Attn: Scholarships, 2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300, Mountain View, California 94040.

What should I include in my thank you note?
To write an informative and thoughtful scholarship thank you, be sure to include: Your first and last name, the name of the scholarship program you wish to thank, where you will enroll this upcoming term, how this scholarship will impact your educational goals, and anything about yourself or family that you would like to share.

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Other resources

Where can I find other resources about financial aid or scholarships?
Check out our list of resources for scholarship seekers and college students.

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