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FAQs


  • Who is eligible?
  • Are part-time students eligible?
  • Are scholarships and loans open to graduate students?
  • Must a student attend a college or university in Massachusetts?
  • What expenses can scholarships cover?
  • How are recipients selected?
  • What is the average amount awarded?
  • Can students send a photocopy of their academic transcripts?
  • What if household income is relatively high?
  • When are decisions made?
  • Can students reapply each year?
  • Who should complete an essay?
  • Who should complete the Personal Comments section of the application?
  • How are awards paid?
  • What if a student withdraws or attends only one semester in an academic year?
  • Will a Community Foundation award affect a student's financial aid package?
  • What is the maximum award that a recipient can receive?
  • How do I obtain my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
  • TIPS for obtaining and processing your SAR
  • Common Application Problems


    .

    Who is eligible?
    Unless otherwise noted in the Scholarship Brochure and Descriptions, awards are limited to residents of western Massachusetts and Hartford County in Connecticut. The interest-free Colgan Loans are awarded to students throughout Massachusetts who have resided in the state for the previous five years. All applicants should complete the Optional Data section of the Common Application.

    Are part-time students eligible?
    Full-time and part-time students pursuing higher education may apply for scholarships and loans.

    Are scholarships and loans open to graduate students?
    Both undergraduate and graduate students may apply for most scholarships and loans.

    Must a student attend a college or university in Massachusetts?
    No. Scholarships and loans are awarded to eligible students enrolled in colleges and universities throughout the United States, unless otherwise stated in the fund criteria.

    What expenses can scholarships cover?
    Schola
    rships are made payable to the school, college, or university on behalf of the student. Scholarships may be used to offset tuition, fees, room and board, or any other line item in the Cost of Attendance determined by the school, college, or university. Please note: Scholarships are payable for tuition only at for-profit schools. For less than half time enrollment, scholarships are payable for tuition and fees only.

    How are recipients selected?
    Most scholarships and loans recipients are selected based on their financial need and academic merit. However, the terms of some funds require that applicants meet other criteria such as ethnicity, religion, certain parental employment, etc. For this reason, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the Optional Data and the Personal Comments sections of the Common Application.

    What is the average amount awarded?
    Awards range from $500 to $10,000. The Community Foundation administers over 105 funds through one Application. The dollar amounts can vary each year.

    Can students send a photocopy of their academic transcripts?
    No. Only the most recent official transcript can be accepted and it must contain one of the following: cumulative grade point average, class rank, or SAT scores. Request that your high school guidance office or college registrar's office send an official academic transcript to the Community Foundation.

    What if household income is relatively high?
    There is no maximum income or financial cut-off. Since several funds consider other criteria besides financial need, all students who meet eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply.

    When are decisions made?
    Generally, decisions are made by the end of May and applicants are notified by the end of June.

    Can students reapply each year?
    Students must reapply each year. Receipt of an award for one academic year does not guarantee that an award will be granted in a subsequent year; conversely, students that are denied an award should not be discouraged from reapplying another year.

    Who should complete an essay?
    An essay is no longer required, but completion of the Personal Comment Section of the Application is highly recommended. Selection committees may use this information to make their selection.

    Who should complete the Personal Comments section of the application?
    The Personal Comments section should be completed by all applicants.

    How are awards paid?
    Scholarship award checks are paid directly to the institution that the student is attending once enrollment at that institution is verified. For awards that are less than $1,000 and for the $1,000 James Z. Naurison Scholarship, payment is made in the fall. For awards of $1,000 or more payment is made in equal installments for the fall and spring semesters. Loan recipients receive a note outlining terms and a repayment schedule. Once the note is returned to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, a check is processed and sent directly to the student.

    What if a student withdraws or attends only one semester in an academic year?
    Scholarships are paid to each college upon enrollment verification; except as noted in an award letter.

    Will a Community Foundation award affect a student's financial aid package?
    Institutions/Colleges/Universities may adjust financial aid packages to reflect scholarships other than those granted by the college. Usually a college or university will first use an outside scholarship to replace unmet need, or reduce the amount of loans or work study before adjusting grants or scholarships. However, policies vary and students should check with their institutions’ financial aid office.

    What is the maximum award that a recipient can receive?
    The goal of the Community Foundation’s awarding process is to provide awards to the greatest number of students possible and prevent students from receiving awards that would put them in an over award situation. Beginning for the 2006 award year, recipients who attend a community college shall not receive more that $4,000 in cumulative scholarship awards in any given year. For attendance at schools other than community colleges, the cumulative award maximum shall be $8,000.

    How do I obtain my Student Aid Report (SAR) after completing the FAFSA process?

    1. Popup Blocker in your browser needs to be turned off
    2. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov (this is a free service)
    3. Select the Login button
    4. Enter the student's name, social security number, and date of birth
    5. In the 2014-2015 Tab, select the View Processed Information button
    6. Enter the student's PIN and select Next
    7. A PDF document entitled Federal Student Aid FAFSA will open on the screen.  
    8. Save it to your hard drive and email it to scholar@communityfoundation.org noting the student's name in the subject line; OR, print, fax, or mail it to:

      Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts:
      Mail: 1500 Main Street, P.O. Box 15769, Springfield, MA 01115

      Email: scholar@communityfoundation.org
      Fax: (413) 733-8565

  • TIPS for obtaining and processing your SAR:
    • Make sure you follow the instructions regarding obtaining your parents signature as instructed on the website.
    • If you provide an e-mail address on the FAFSA, you should receive a confirmation in about a week that your SAR is available. Follow the link provided to receive your SAR.
    • If you don’t provide an e-mail address, the SAR will be mailed to you in about four weeks.
    • If you have trouble obtaining an SAR, contact your college financial aid office or call the Federal Department of Education at 1.800.433.3243 for assistance.
    • File as early as possible and keep copies of all forms submitted.
    Application Problems:
    1. Incomplete application packages
    2. Application and supporting material received after the March 31st deadline..