Frequently Asked Questions

Traditional Students - Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and Desoto County graduating high school seniors and recent graduates of Sarasota County schools who are currently attending college or technical school.

Can I apply for graduate school?

No. The only graduate school scholarship the Community Foundation of Sarasota County offers is for a second year law school student

Do I have to be planning to attend a Florida state college or university?

No. Scholarship recipients can attend any accredited college or university in the USA or abroad, as well as any accredited technical school or vocational school including, but not limited to, cosmetology, car or equipment repair, and all health care and safety professions.

Are these scholarships based on merit?

Community Foundation scholarships are awarded through a competitive process. Caring volunteers on the Scholarship Committee make their selections based on financial need, leadership potential, academic performance, work experience, and commitment to school and community through volunteerism.

What does the ideal scholarship recipient look like?

The ideal applicant has financial need, has earned a 2.8 GPA or better, has volunteered in a school or community activity or sport, has worked to earn money for school, and has well defined goals and objectives toward school.

Are my answers and financial information kept confidential?

All information is kept confidential by the Community Foundation Scholarship Committee members. Information is never shared with the public. Applications are disposed of by a confidential shredding company, so there is no risk of identity theft.

When will I find out if I was awarded a scholarship?

All students will be notified whether or not they were awarded a scholarship around May 15th.

Is the scholarship award sent to me?

Scholarship awards are sent directly to the school of the student’s choice, on the student’s behalf. Scholarship funds are never directly released to the student.

Do I need an interview?

Scholarship applicants may be asked to attend an interview, but this is not typically the case. Students may be invited to our donor appreciation reception and are expected to attend if invited.

Do I have to write an essay?

Yes. All students are required to write a general essay explaining their educational goals. The Murphy, Kessler, and S.A.F. Scholarship Funds require an additional essay. If you qualify for any of these scholarships, you must write this additional essay.

What happens if I can’t get my required documents in time for the deadline?

All documents, in their entirety, must be in by the deadline. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Is the scholarship renewable for more than one year?

Some scholarships are renewable and some are awarded for one year only. Please read your notification letter carefully as it will detail all the terms of your scholarship award

If I am already enrolled in school, am I still eligible to apply for a Community Foundation scholarship?

Yes, if you are a recent graduate of a Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, or Desoto County high schools.

Can I apply for a scholarship even if I am not sure which school I will be attending?

Yes, although it is in your favor to know what school and career path you want to take.

Do I have to be attending a four-year college or university to be eligible for a scholarship?

No, scholarship funds may also be used at vocational or technical schools and community colleges.

What is the FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and is used to apply for different types of federal, state, and privatefinancial aid for education. According to the FAFSA website, it “is the first step in the financial aid process.”

How do I complete a FAFSA?

FAFSA may be completed on the web, at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, or possibly at your school if they participate in Electronic Data Exchange (contact your school for this info). FAFSA can also be completed by paper. It might be possible to obtain a hard copy at your school. According to the FAFSA website, filing online “is the fastest and most accurate way to apply for student aid”. FAFSA can be reached by phone at 1-800-433-3243.

When should I complete a FAFSA, and how long will it be until I get a response?

As soon as possible! The earlier in the year that you apply, the quicker you will get a response, the later in the year you apply, the longer it will take to get a response. It is recommended that you have filed your tax return prior to completing your FAFSA, but it is not required. It will take longer if you have not filed your family’s taxes with it. Please visit the FAFSA website at, http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, for more information.

What is a SAR?

SAR stands for Student Aid Report. It summarizes the information provided on the FAFSA and will provide information regarding the applicant’s financial need, including the EFC, or estimated family contribution.

What is a college aid award letter?

A college aid award letter is provided to the student by the college they will be attending. It lists the cost of attending the college and aid that is available to the student for the upcoming school year, including grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. You will receive the college aid award letter only after you have completed the FAFSA and requested that the results be sent to the college.

For Further Questions: Informational workshops are conducted on numerous days up to the scholarship deadline.  [Please click here] for a copy of our workshop schedule.

Adult Learner - Frequently Asked Questions

What is an adult learner?

The Community Foundation considers adult learners to be students who are 24 years of age or older by December 31, 2017. Scholarships are not restricted to four-year universities; we consider higher education to be college, vocational or technical school, accredited courses of study for cosmetology, health care, etc.  You are eligible for the foundation’s adult learner scholarship program if you are currently attending or enrolling in an accredited college or vocational school, are a current resident of Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, or DeSoto County, and will be 24 years of age or older by December 31, 2017.

Can I apply for graduate school?

No. The only graduate school scholarship the Community Foundation of Sarasota County offers is for a second year law school student.

Do I have to be planning to attend a Florida state college or university?

No. Scholarship recipients can attend any accredited college or university in the USA or abroad, as well as any accredited technical school or vocational school including, but not limited to, cosmetology, car or equipment repair, and all health care and safety professions.

Are these scholarships based on merit?

Community Foundation scholarships are awarded through a competitive process. Caring volunteers on the Scholarship Committee make their selections based on financial need, leadership potential, academic performance, work experience, and commitment to school and community through volunteerism.

What does the ideal scholarship recipient look like?

The ideal applicant has financial need, has earned a 2.8 GPA or better, has worked to earn money for school, and has well defined goals and objectives toward school.

Are my answers and financial information kept confidential?

All information is kept confidential by the Community Foundation Scholarship Committee members. Information is never shared with the public. Applications are disposed of by a confidential shredding company, so there is no risk of identity theft.

When will I find out if I was awarded a scholarship?

All students will be notified whether or not they were awarded a scholarship around July 15.

Is the scholarship award sent to me?

Scholarship awards are sent directly to the school of the student’s choice, on the student’s behalf. Scholarship funds are never directly released to the student.

Do I need an interview?

Scholarship applicants may be asked to attend an interview, but this is not typically the case. Students may be invited to our donor appreciation reception and are expected to attend if invited.

Do I have to write an essay?

Yes. All students are required to write a general essay explaining their educational goals.

What happens if I can’t get my required documents in time for the deadline?

All documents, in their entirety, must be in by the deadline. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Is the scholarship renewable for more than one year?

Some scholarships are renewable and some are awarded for one year only. Please read your notification letter carefully as it will detail all the terms of your scholarship award.

If I am already enrolled in school, am I still eligible to apply for a Community Foundation scholarship?

Yes, if you are a current resident of Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, or DeSoto County.

Can I apply for a scholarship even if I am not sure which school I will be attending?

Yes, although it is in your favor to know what school and career path you want to take.

Do I have to be attending a four-year college or university to be eligible for a scholarship?

No, scholarship funds may also be used at vocational or technical schools and community colleges.

What is the FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and is used to apply for different types of federal, state, and private financial aid for education. According to the FAFSA website, it "is the first step in the financial aid process."

How do I complete a FAFSA?

 FAFSA may be completed on the web, at https://www.fafsa.ed.gov, or possibly at your school if they participate in Electronic Data Exchange (contact your school for this info). FAFSA can also be completed by paper. It might be possible to obtain a hard copy at your school. According to the FAFSA website, filing online "is the fastest and most accurate way to apply for student aid". FAFSA can be reached by phone at 1-800-433-3243.

When should I complete a FAFSA, and how long will it be until I get a response?

As soon as possible! The earlier in the year that you apply, the quicker you will get a response, the later in the year you apply, the longer it will take to get a response. It is recommended that you have filed your tax return prior to completing your FAFSA, but it is not required. It will take longer if you have not filed your family’s taxes with it. Please visit the FAFSA website at, https://www.fafsa.ed.gov, for more information.

What is a SAR?

SAR stands for Student Aid Report. It summarizes the information provided on the FAFSA and will provide information regarding the applicant’s financial need, including the EFC, or estimated family contribution.

What is a college aid award letter?

A college aid award letter is provided to the student by the college they will be attending. It lists the cost of attending the college and aid that is available to the student for the upcoming school year, including grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. You will receive the college aid award letter only after you have completed the FAFSA and requested that the results be sent to the college.
For Further Questions: Informational workshops are conducted on numerous days up to the scholarship deadline.  [Please click here] for a copy of our workshop schedule.

Scholarship Resources

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Community Foundation of Sarasota County

2635 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota FL 34237
P: (941) 955.3000   F: (941) 952.1951   Email Us
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