How do I prepare to work on the Common Scholarship Application?
Our Common Scholarship Application is open to graduating high school students with an overall GPA of a 2.0 or higher, looking to pursue a degree at an accredited 2 or 4-year College or University. You are able to preview the application prior to entering any information.
Please note that our online application system, designed by Foundant Technologies, works best using the Google Chrome browser, but will work on any up-to-date web browser.
What types of scholarships are offered by Kern Community Foundation?
Scholarships are available for graduating high school seniors through our Common Scholarship Application for Graduating High School Students. Many scholarships are renewable (as applicable through the renewal application) for Continuing College Students who are pursuing a two-year or four-year degree through accredited community colleges, four-year universities, and career/technical schools in the United States.
Do I need to pick which scholarships at Kern Community Foundation I’m applying for?
No, our Online Common Scholarship Application will enter you into the running for all of the scholarships held at Kern Community Foundation. You spend your time submitting the best application you can, we will fit you into every opportunity you qualify for. One application, multiple opportunities.
Can I apply for and receive more than one scholarship?
Our Common Scholarship Application consists of one application that will best match you to the scholarship(s) that you are eligible to receive. In some cases, there have been students that receive multiple scholarships through our one-application process. If you are awarded multiple scholarships, you may accept them.
How many scholarships and how much money do you award each year?
The number of scholarships that we award and the amount of each award varies by scholarship from year to year. In 2018, we awarded close to $600,000 in scholarships to nearly 315 Kern County students.
How much does it cost to apply for a scholarship?
It does not cost anything to apply for our scholarships, though we do estimate it may take up to 30 minutes to complete the application in full.
Unfortunately, scholarship scams which cost money and do not provide any useful scholarship information do exist. Beware of organizations and websites that charge a fee, guarantee that you will receive a scholarship, or are sent to you through direct mail or email spam.
Do I have to be a resident of Kern County to apply for your scholarships?
Most of our awards require Kern County residency. None of our scholarships are available to foreign students studying outside the United States, or for students attending an institution outside of the United States. Undocumented/CA Dream Act students are able to apply for scholarships.
We have a scholarship for students planning to pursue a career in Agriculture that is available to graduates of Kern, Merced, Kings, Fresno, and Tulare counties. To apply, use the general apply link and complete the application for students outside of Kern.
I do not qualify for financial aid through my school. Am I still eligible?
Not all of our scholarships are based on financial need. As well, we may determine your financial need differently than your school’s financial aid office. Because of this, we encourage all high school seniors to submit an online scholarship application.
I am not a straight-A student or athlete. Am I still eligible?
Our scholarships are not solely based on academic merit, athletic ability or leadership experience. Some are based on these criteria but most are geared to applicants with some financial need, participation in community service, extra-curricular activities and/or work experience, a minimum GPA, attendance at particular high schools or colleges or specific majors or career goals. We encourage you to fill out an application and we will do the rest!
In the application, you ask for my financial information but my parents have not yet completed their taxes. How should I gather my financial information?
Our Common Scholarship Application asks for your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) which is obtained from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2019-2020 FAFSA became available beginning Oct. 1, 2018. Students are required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2019-2020 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2017 income information, rather than their 2018 income information.
How will my application be evaluated?
All scholarships have different criteria and different priorities. Staff will check your application for basic eligibility, and depending on the scholarship, there may be a committee that reviews your application for a specific scholarship fund, or we have community members who volunteer to review and evaluate specific information that you provide in your application, such as your volunteer work/extracurricular activities, personal statements, and letters of recommendation.
What are my chances of receiving a scholarship?
The possibility of you receiving a scholarship depends on several factors, including how many applicants are eligible for the scholarship, how many scholarships will be awarded and how competitive the other applicants are. Because of this, we encourage you to be thorough and thoughtful in completing your application.
Will I be interviewed during the application process?
We do not conduct interviews for our scholarships.
When will I be notified about the outcome of my application?
You will be notified whether you are awarded or declined a scholarship at the end of the scholarship term. Notifications typically go out in May. If you are declined a scholarship, we encourage you to continue to check our website for funding opportunities in the future. If you are awarded a scholarship, we will notify you by end of May and provide more details on your next steps. Please note that we communicate primarily through email, so if you have ANY email address changes, you MUST update your contact information within your account that you created to apply for the application.
If I am selected as a recipient, how much will I receive?
Awards for each scholarship vary but they range from $500 to $5,000.
What will my scholarship pay for?
Depending on the scholarship, it may pay for tuition, room and board, books, fees and/or other related educational expenses. This will be outlined in your award notification.
If I already have all the funding I need for this school year, can I defer my scholarship to next year?
Depending on the scholarship, you may be able to defer your award. Our staff works with each scholarship recipient to help them develop a financial plan and protect their best interests.
Will my scholarship check be sent directly to me?
Scholarship checks are only paid once we have received your required award agreement and any additional necessary verification documents. Scholarship checks are designated for the student and are mailed directly to your school’s financial aid or scholarships office, which will deposit the check and post it to your student account. There are no exceptions to where we send the check. Scholarships are divided into equal payments – once per quarter or once per semester.
If I receive a scholarship one year, will I automatically receive it the next year?
Some of our scholarships are renewable for up to four years but others are one-year awards or require that students submit renewal applications the following year. If your scholarship is renewable, you will need to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, be enrolled as a full time student (12 units minimum), demonstrate financial need, or meet any other required criteria and submit required renewal materials for additional payments.
If your scholarship is NOT renewable (i.e. is only for one year), depending on future funding, we intend to continue to offer scholarships for continuing college students and encourage our students to check our website for funding opportunities in the future.
If I change schools, will my scholarship be transferred to my new school?
If you transfer schools, please notify us immediately so we can determine whether you are still eligible for your scholarship. If you are eligible, we will transfer your award to your new school.
Is my scholarship taxable?
Your scholarship may be tax-free if you are a student pursuing a degree at an educational institution and the scholarship pays for tuition, fees, books and supplies that are required of all students in your classes. For more information, consult a tax expert or your school’s financial aid office.
Do I need to pay back my scholarship?
No, you do not need to pay back your scholarship unless you use it for purposes other than those allowed by your scholarship agreement.
Should I still complete the FAFSA/Dream Act Application?
Yes! We require all students seeking aid, regardless of their financial circumstances, to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Dream Act Application to secure the maximum support for their education. Please visit http://fafsa.ed.gov or https://dream.csac.ca.gov/ for more information.