Scholarship FAQ

Part 1: Eligibility Requirements
Part 2: Application Process
Part 3: Application Review
Part 4: Notification and Awards

Eligibility Requirements

Do all scholarships have the same eligibility requirements?
No. Each scholarship fund has specific eligibility requirements that were defined by the donor when the fund was established. These requirements are noted in the information provided for each community foundation scholarship. You will use the Eligibility Quiz for those scholarships using our online applications to determine the scholarships for which you meet the criteria.

Do I have to attend a Maine college?
Some of our scholarships are for attendance at specific Maine colleges, but for the most part, no. Community foundation scholarship recipients attend accredited colleges, universities, and technical/trade schools across the United States and abroad.

Can I apply for a scholarship if I don’t know where I’ll be going to school?
Yes. If you don’t know which school you’re going to attend, you can still apply for most community foundation scholarships. Be sure to indicate the colleges to which you are applying on the application. List your first-choice school as your first entry, your second choice as the second, and so on.

I don’t have the best grades. Can I still be considered for a scholarship?
Yes. Most of our scholarships take grades into consideration, but some emphasize other areas of performance as well. Good grades help, but they’re not the only requirement for community foundation scholarship support.

I’m planning to go to trade school, not college. Can I still apply for a scholarship?
Yes. Some Maine Community Foundation scholarships are just for students planning to attend a technical school, trade school, or participate in an apprenticeship. To find them, check the Aspirational/Non-Traditional Scholarships and Camp and Statewide Scholarships pages as well as the scholarship listing for your county of residence.

I don’t live in Maine. Can I apply for a Maine Community Foundation scholarship?
Almost all of scholarships are for Maine residents. The Daniel Cardillo Charitable Fund (listed under Aspirational and Non-traditional scholarships) and Malaga 1912 and Keepers Historic Preservation funds (on their own special pages) are the exceptions

Application Process

When can I find out what scholarships are available through the Maine Community Foundation?
Scholarship listings for the current year are available on our website in early January.

How do I apply for a scholarship?
Review the scholarship listings on the website to identify scholarships for which you’re eligible. Download the scholarship application or take note of where you need to go (e.g., your high school guidance office) to pick up an application. If we don’t have the application, we have provided contact information for applying. A number of our scholarship funds use an online application system. The list and link can be found here.

How much does it cost to apply?
There is never any charge to apply for Maine Community Foundation scholarships.

Is there just one application to fill out?
No. Each scholarship has its own application, although the online system uses a Common Application format with varying essay questions depending on student’s eligibility.

How long does it take to complete a scholarship application?
It varies depending on the scholarship. It will probably take several hours to complete the application, write any required essays, and gather other required materials such as letters of recommendation, your Student Aid Report (SAR), and an official transcript from your school, and your college's financial aid offer.

Can I give you a printout of my transcript from my school’s website?
We prefer your official transcript, but realize that with our online system, it may be necessary for you to provide an unofficial grade report.  This is okay as long as your full name and all prior classes and grades and your GPA are on it.  For paper applications, you must submit an official transcript from your school. It is not necessary for it to be in a signed and sealed envelope, but it must be official with a stamp or signature. If you’re in high school, ask your guidance counselor about sending copies of your transcript. If you’re a college student, contact the registrar’s office. Since it can take several weeks to process your transcript, be sure to make that request well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

Can I fax or e-mail my application?
We can accept paper applications as email attachments. Please do not fax any application material. If you are using the online application system, all documents must be uploaded. Please do not email or send materials through the mail, we cannot link them to your online application.

Can I send a part of my packet after I send my application?
Whenever possible, requested materials should be submitted together. If you do have to send your packet in separate parts, all materials must be postmarked by the scholarship’s application deadline. Our online application requires that everything be uploaded and complete in order to submit.

Can I apply for more than one scholarship?
Yes. You can apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for.

I’m applying for several scholarships, and all the applications are supposed to be sent to the Maine Community Foundation office. Can I just send one student aid report and transcript?
For paper applications, the answer is no. Different volunteer committees review applications for each scholarship, and each committee needs its own set of supporting materials. The online system will ask for your uploads just one time for the common application. For paper applications, each one is treated separately and must have its own accompanying documents.

What’s the deadline for applying?
Each scholarship has its own application deadline. This deadline is noted on the website and on the application. Please note that for paper applications our deadlines are postmark deadlines -- your application and all required documents must be postmarked by the given date. In the online system, you may submit your application right up to 11:59 PM the day of the deadline

Can I get an extension if I need one?
No. Because we receive so many applications, we are unable to extend the deadline for any reason. Applications sent after the deadline are considered late and will not be reviewed. Our online system does not permit submissions past the deadline.

Where do I send my paper application?
Submit it to the address listed on the application.

Application Review

Who makes the award decisions?
Each scholarship has its own committee of volunteers who read and evaluate each application. They make their decisions based on the fund’s guidelines.

Are scholarships awarded on the basis of merit or financial need?
A combination of both. Scholarship reviewers make their selections based on leadership potential, academic performance, work experience, and commitment to school and community, as well as financial need and any other fund-specific requirements.

How does the Maine Community Foundation define financial need?
Your financial need is determined by your Student Aid Report and the budget information you include in your application.

For example, a committee may receive applications from two students who are planning to attend a college with a total cost of attendance of $15,000 and whose annual family adjusted gross income for the previous year is $65,000. One student’s financial information indicates that he comes from a family of four with two working parents who own their home, but owe very little on their mortgage, and the student is the only family member in college. The other student comes from a family of the same size, but one of her parents lost their job after she filed her FAFSA and her brother is also in college or trade school. The second student clearly has more need than the first, despite the fact that the two SARs may look the same.

The financial information you provide in your application could make the difference in whether or not you receive a scholarship. Please be sure to complete the budget section thoroughly and accurately. Your answers will be kept strictly confidential.

Notification and Awards

When will I find out if I’ve won a scholarship, and will you let me know if I have not?
All applicants are notified in writing as to whether or not they received an award. You should hear from the community foundation by the end of June.

What happens if I am selected as a scholarship recipient?
You will receive a Terms of Award (TOA) letter notifying you of your award and the amount of the scholarship. You will receive two copies of the letter; one is for you to keep in your files and share with your school’s financial aid office; the other you will need to fill out, sign, and return to us. If you do not return a signed TOA letter to us by the deadline indicated in the letter, your award will be rescinded in early October.

Can I receive more than one scholarship?
Yes. You can receive multiple scholarships.

What expenses can the scholarship pay?
Scholarship funds can cover direct educational expenses charged to the student by the college or university, including tuition and fees, room and board, books, and other mandatory equipment. Colleges determine a total Cost of Attendance, including travel, health insurance, and fees that scholarships can also cover. Please note that IRS regulations state that scholarship awards not used to cover tuition, fees, books, supplies, or equipment are considered taxable income. If you have any questions about how your scholarship might affect your income taxes, please consult your family's tax advisor.

How large are scholarship awards?
Award amounts vary based on the funds available, the number of recipients selected, and individual financial need.

Will a Maine Community Foundation scholarship give me enough money to pay the whole cost of my college education?
Typically, no. Our scholarships are intended to provide partial support; therefore we encourage you to look into other financial aid resources such as federal grants, loans, and work-study awards. Your school will put together a complete financial aid package for you, which may include one or more of these types of support.

Will I receive a check for my scholarship?
No. College scholarship payments are mailed directly to the school's financial aid office. Your scholarship check will be made payable to the college and to you, and you will have to sign the check in order for the award to be applied to your account.

It’s October and I still haven’t gotten my scholarship. What’s going on?
The Maine Community Foundation sends scholarship checks to your school in early December, and your award will be applied to your second-semester tuition.

What happens if I move or change schools after I’ve been awarded a scholarship?
You must notify the community foundation if you move or transfer to a new school. Contact Liz Fickett by e-mail or by phone, toll-free, at (877) 700-6800, ext. 2015, as soon as you have made your decision to transfer, and we will send your check to your new school in December for your second semester expenses.

I received a scholarship and I’d like to send a thank-you note. Where should I send my letter?
Please address your thank-you letter to _____________ Scholarship Committee, Maine Community Foundation, 245 Main Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605, and we will forward it to the committee and/or donor(s).

I have a question you didn’t answer here. What should I do?
Contact Liz Fickett by e-mail or by phone at (207) 412-2015 for assistance.