Scholarship Application Directions
Administered by Polk Education Foundation – 2023
Minimum qualifications to apply:
A. Be a Polk County public or charter high school senior
B. Be on track to graduate having passed both the Algebra I or Geometry EOC and FSA Reading.
For the Algebra 1 or Geometry EOC, seniors could earn a concordant score of:
ACT Math 16
SAT Math 420
PSAT Math 430
For the FSA Reading, seniors could earn a concordant score of:
For students who entered grade 9 in 2010-11 and beyond:
ACT English and Reading subtests 18
SAT Evidence-Based Reading & Writing 480
C. Have completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and received your finalized SAR (Student Aid Report) that notes your EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) to attach to the printed copy of your application.
FAFSA application copies, FAFSA record of receipts, FAFSA emails confirming processing with tentative EFC etc. will not be accepted, only finalized Student Aid Reports. Report must say SAR and have the EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) noted. If no EFC is noted, please pay attention to the directions on the page, corrections may need to be made before they will finalize and note an EFC.
If you meet the criteria above, please proceed using the following directions.
a. Gather all required information before you start. You’ll need to have:
- Your finalized SAR (Student Aid Report) with EFC number noted (NO FAFSA)
- dates of work history (if applicable) and types of community service or work hours (if applicable)
- list of scholarships, grants or financial aid you have already been awarded and
- a prepared essay that has been spellchecked.
b. To BEGIN a NEW application, after you’ve checked all four I have read and understand the scholarship application directions checkboxes, click on the “WORK ON APPLICATION NOW” button at the bottom of the instruction page. Then, use the “Start New Application” section, to enter your student ID and date of birth then click the “Start New Application” button. If your information is good, you’ll be on your way and can follow the instructions from that point on.
c. After you have successfully completed the previous “BEGIN New Application” step information will be pulled from your permanent record and displayed on the initial application page.
- Weighted GPA
- Passage of Alg 1 EOC and FSA Reading
- SAT and or ACT scores
- Volunteer hours and or work hours
The following two items will also be pulled from your permanent records, but you can make changes to update these fields:
- mailing address
- phone number
If any of the “non-changeable” information above is incorrect, please contact your counselor and ensure that the information is updated BEFORE you SUBMIT your application on the final page. The application will pull your records each time you login to it, so a correction will show after it has been made. But, after you have submitted the application, no updates will be accepted. Information like test scores, service hours and GPAs will be used by the computer program to sort what scholarships you can and can’t apply for so they must be accurate when you start the application.
(It is very important your contact information is correct, if you are a scholarship recipient, it is used to communicate with you. Email addresses may be used to communicate with you on questions during the application process, or to set an interview.)
You will be able to set a password to login at a later time to access your saved application. An email address is required for the password recovery feature. The PEF may also use this email address to contact you with questions or interview requests.
d. To RETURN to an application at a later time, after you’ve checked all four checkboxes, click on the “WORK ON APPLICATION NOW” button at the bottom of the instruction page. Then, use the “Login to Saved Application” section, to enter your student ID and password, then click the “Login to Saved Application” button.
If you forget your password it can be emailed to the address you provided when you started your application using the ‘forgotten your password’ link at the bottom of the Login page.
HINT: The website will not allow you to start a second application once a student ID is in use, you must go back and make changes to the first saved application. If you get the message “student ID already in use”, you must enter as a returning applicant.
e. Complete Your Application.
You should have already reviewed the scholarship list to know what you qualify to apply for.
- As you finish each page hit the “save application” button at the bottom of the page to ensure you do not lose data, then hit “continue” to move forward to a new page. (The page will not save unless all on that page is complete.)
- Run out of time to complete it all? Click “save application” then “quit & close session” and you can return at a later time using the directions above.
- Read the criteria for each award carefully. If you do not meet ALL the requirements, do not apply for that award. DO NOT check every award without first seeing if you qualify!
- Once you have completed all sections of the application, then and only then should you hit the “submit” button on the final screen of the application. Once you hit “submit” you cannot go back and
make any changes to your application. You should print your application at time of submission. You however may return to a submitted application to print or view it, but changes cannot be made.
f. Even though the application is submitted electronically, you must additionally print out your completed application, have it signed (Iive signature required) by student only if 18, and, parent/guardian if the student is not 18, Attach your finalized SAR (Student Aid Report) which shows your EFC number (if no number it will not be accepted) and submit the pack to your school’s scholarship contact by a date they set. Applications without the proper signatures or a SAR will not be reviewed. Signatures allow the PEF to share your application with those other than staff, and, to use your name and picture if you are a recipient.
g. Student and parents should not rely on school staff to double check or review an application pack, to point out any errors or missing documents, that is the responsibility of the student.
h. A listing of all classes taken in high school will automatically print as part of your application.
** Please attach all items with a single staple. No paperclips, envelopes or folders.
****Minimum qualifications for East and West Area Adult Students to apply
No minimum, any student can apply. ***If you have graduated the adult school program within the last 6 months, you are eligible to apply and will need to request an override to the system if it says you are ineligible. Please see your counselor if you get that message when you start an application.
****Minimum qualifications for Ridge and Travis Vocational Students to apply
Any student who has missed less than 20 hours of their program can apply.
Turn in all materials to your Guidance Counselor/scholarship contact by the deadline posted in their office.
Reminder: Check with your school’s Guidance Counselor/scholarship contact for your school’s deadline prior to the February 7 closing of this application so you are not late with your hard copy submission to them.
REMINDER: You must print a copy of your application, obtain live signatures as applicable, and attach your finalized SAR. The pack will them be due to your Guidance Counselor/scholarship contact before their specific deadline. Once again, submitting online does not qualify your application; you must submit a signed hard copy application with a finalized SAR attached (not a FAFSA application copy) with an EFC number, by your counselor’s deadline, to be considered.
Award announcements and recipient follow-up:
At the end of the review process, school counselors are notified by the PEF with a list of recipients for their school and they are asked to notify students if they are receiving an award.
Students being awarded a scholarship thru the PEF are expected to attend their senior award ceremony to accept the award in case a donor comes in person to present to them.
All scholarship recipients will be announced at their high school’s senior award ceremonies; no letters of regret will be sent and no early notifications made unless done by a donor (some invite their recipients to club
Recipients will receive letters of congratulations and instruction from the Polk Education Foundation (PEF) after all senior award ceremonies are complete. They will be given the name and address of their scholarship sponsor, and will be required to send the sponsor a thank you letter. A copy of that note along with a completed “College Information Sheet” (this will be enclosed with the award letter) must be submitted to the PEF for funds to be disbursed to the school of the students’ choice. Funds are not disbursed until all requirements are met.
It is the student’s responsibility to follow up each year, IF REQUIRED by the donor, with any information to renew (usually a transcript). That requirement would be noted in the award package. No reminders are given, students must comply to receive further funding.
Scholarship funds are held at the Polk Education Foundation for students use for up to five years, and then if unused, they are returned to the donor fund.
Do not wait to request funds until after you have graduated college, they cannot be used to make student loan payments after college is complete.
***Please note: Scholarships administered by the PEF are paid out only after receipt of funds from a donor. This also stands for multiple year awards with annual renewable payments. We offer scholarships in good faith per donor instructions and they must pay the PEF before the PEF can disburse funds.