Frequently Asked Questions

We know that paying for college can be challenging. You may have questions about the process of applying for scholarships and about financial aid in general.

COVID-19 Scholarship Questions

The COVID-19 outbreak has created turbulent circumstances for students across the state and nation. Below, you will find answers to some frequently asked questions specific to COVID-19, so you can continue to plan for next year and reach out for support when you need it.

I need to defer my ACF scholarship award due to changes related to COVID-19. Is this allowed?

My full-time enrollment status has changed due to COVID-19. Will this affect my current or future scholarship awards?

Enrollment status changes due to course cancellations will not affect scholarships and financial aid for the current Spring 2020 term.

For scholarships that require full-time enrollment for the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 terms, students who are unable to enroll full-time due to limited course offerings, challenges with online learning, or other changes to employment, health or family circumstances related to COVID-19 may still receive their scholarship with part-time enrollment per donor approval.

If your full-time enrollment status has changed, please let us know by calling 602.381.1400 or emailing

My school is now grading by pass or fail. Will this affect the GPA requirement for my scholarship award?

Some colleges have shifted from letter grades to pass or fail grades for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 terms. We will be flexible with renewal students’ GPA requirements if they are affected by this change.

I'm committing to a college later than planned due to changes related to COVID-19. Will that affect my scholarship award?

Additional questions? Contact the ACF scholarship team.

ACF scholarship team members are currently working from home. However, the ACF scholarship staff are available to answer questions and provide any technical assistance you need to access materials online with minimal difficulty.

Call 602.381.1400, email, or contact a scholarship team member.

General Questions

Who can apply for scholarships through ACF?

Our scholarships are available to any individual who will be attending a postsecondary institution in the upcoming school year. This includes two-year and four-year colleges, or trade and vocational schools. 

Am I eligible for your scholarship?

The Arizona Community Foundation manages more than 120 scholarship funds. Each scholarship has individual eligibility criteria. Your eligibility for awards will be determined based on your answers to the questions on the General Application. For this reason, students should read and answer each question carefully and completely. Visit our online scholarship application portal to read about the available scholarship opportunities and their criteria.

Where can I go to apply for scholarships?

Begin the process. Students will need to sign up for an account with an active email address.

I’m an international student, am I eligible for an award?

Yes. While many of our awards are designated for Arizona residents, several are open to eligible international students. See 'Am I eligible for your scholarship?' for more information.

I am a concurrent enrollment student. Do I qualify?

We currently do not award for students who are concurrently enrolled in high school and college courses.

I don’t live in Arizona. Can I still apply for scholarships?

Yes. While many of our awards are designated for Arizona residents, several are open to students from any state who are attending any school across the country. See 'Am I eligible for your scholarship?' for more information.

Can I use a scholarship to pay for previous education expenses or loan?

No. Our scholarships can only be applied to expenses billed for future school years.

I’m a parent. Can I submit the application on behalf of my student/child?

No. While we encourage parental participation in the process, the application questions need to be answered by the student.

Can my parent call to ask about my application on my behalf?

Our scholarship applicants' personal information and scholarship records are confidential. Students will need to call ACF directly to receive any information on their application or scholarship award.

I’m a junior in high school. When should I start applying for scholarships?

Current high school students should begin applying at the start of the spring semester of their senior year. The General Application opens online every January, and students are encouraged to begin their application early, as the deadlines range from February to May.

Are scholarships renewable?

Yes, some scholarships are renewable. If a student is offered a renewable scholarship they will be contacted in the spring regarding the renewal process.

When is your deadline?

Deadlines vary by scholarship, with most between February and May. Specific award deadlines can be found on our online scholarship application.

I don't see where to save or submit my responses.

If you can't locate the save or submit button, it's likely that you are using Internet Explorer as your browser. Internet Explorer is incompatible with our online system. Try using Chrome, Firefox, or any other browser to complete the reference.

What happens after I complete my General Application?

Your complete and submitted General Application enters you into the applicant pool for any scholarships for which you may be eligible. The software will use the scholarship criteria to search for eligible students. It is important that you answer all questions so that the software can successfully match you. 

Some scholarships require follow-up questions after submitting your general application. If you believe you are qualified for an opportunity that has not appeared on your Student Dashboard, please contact us to troubleshoot. 

Where else can I look for help paying for college?

Federal Resources

State Resources

Other Resources

Application Questions

Do I need to submit an official transcript?

No. An unofficial transcript or Internet printout of your transcript is acceptable. To be considered, the transcripts must clearly state the student’s name, current academic year, GPA, grades for courses completed, and name of the educational institution. High school transcripts must include the grades from the first semester of senior year along with a GPA based on a 4.0 unweighted scale.

I can’t find the award that I’m looking for on the website.

If you are unable to find a specific award, it may be because the deadline for that award has already passed. When a deadline passes, the opportunity is removed from view on the application.

What do the reviewers look for in winning scholarship applications?

Reviewers all have a different point of view. In general, we ask them to use the eligibility criteria and award preferences to score the applications. Typically, reviewers look for the following: 

  • Well written, thorough, thoughtful, and concise essay responses that show your personality
  • Proper grammar and spelling
  • If required, references from credible sources that clearly state why an applicant should receive a scholarship
  • An accurate description of financial need (if applicable)
  • Truthful and honest answers to all questions

Is my application complete?

To be considered complete, all required questions must be answered. These questions are identified with an asterisk (*) in the application. 

A FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) is required for many, but not all, of our scholarships. We encourage students to submit the report if they can. Many scholarship awards are based on financial need.

Why aren’t my references receiving the request?

The online system will generate an email based on the submitted email address. It is possible that the address was not entered correctly into the system. Another possibility is that the email was diverted into a spam or junk mailbox.

How will I know the status of my application(s)?

You can log in and see the status of your application(s) by clicking on the “My Applications” tab of the application.

How will I be notified if I win an award?

You will not be contacted if you are not selected to receive an award, but your account will be updated on your home page.

Where can I submit my documents?

Supporting documents for applications such as transcripts or Student Aid Reports (SAR) should be uploaded directly onto the application. If you have challenges with uploading, please contact us so that we can help you.

Awards Questions

If I receive an award, what can it be used for?

Most ACF scholarships can be used for tuition, fees, books, and on-campus room and board.

Can I use a scholarship to pay for off-campus housing?

No. Most ACF scholarships cannot be used for off-campus housing. However, if you have fully paid your fees at the school, and you have a surplus of scholarship awards from ACF, we will allow that award to be distributed to you as a cash refund from the school to pay for living expenses.

Where does the scholarship payment go?

The scholarship payment will be sent to the school and applied to your account. It is important that you notify us of the school's name and address, and your student ID number through your post-acceptance form to ensure the payment is sent to the correct address and applied to your account in a timely fashion. If your school information changes after you submit your post acceptance, you must notify us as soon as possible as this could cause a serious delay in the arrival of your scholarship.

Questions for References

How can I submit a letter on behalf of an applicant?

In order to maintain confidentiality and credibility, we ask that all references be completed online. You will receive an email from our online system with a link to complete the short reference questionnaire. If you are a first-time user, you will be asked to sign up for an account and create a password. If you already have an account because you’ve served as a reference before, click the link and sign in using your previously set password. Click “Forgot your password” if you can’t recall your password.

What kind of information are you looking for about your applicants?

We are looking for qualities that indicate a student is a worthy investment of scholarship funding. This may include being academically motivated, having work and/or community service experience, demonstrating leadership and individuality, being goal-oriented, and demonstrating the ability to overcome challenges.

FAFSA & Financial Need

What Expected Family Contribution (EFC) score is considered for
awards that require financial need?

Each award is different, but in some cases we will review all submitted applications. If there are sufficient funds, we may award students who do not have a low EFC. We understand that the FAFSA does not take into consideration all of a family's circumstances; therefore, all interested students should apply.

I can’t submit a FAFSA. What should I do?

We understand that not all students are able to complete a FAFSA. You may still be eligible for our financial need-based awards. On the General Application, you should still answer "yes" to the question "Are you seeking need-based aid?" After submitting your General Application, the Financial Need Information application will appear. Here you can indicate "I am INELIGIBLE to complete the FAFSA, but I am seeking scholarships based on financial need."

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