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.

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions: 

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 can include 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 several of our awards are designated for Arizona residents, many scholarships are open to eligible international students.

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 several of our awards are designated for Arizona residents, many are open to students from any state who are attending any college or trade school. 

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.

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.

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 Web site.

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 good 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. As a rule, the following are frowned upon:

  • Not capitalizing names and sentences.
  • Poor grammar and spelling.
  • An essay response of fewer than two paragraphs or 300 words.
  • Letters of recommendation that demonstrate minimal effort.

Is my application complete?

To be considered complete, all required questions must be answered. These questions are identified with an asterisk (*) in the application. Each application must also have a transcript and at least two Letters of Recommendation submitted by the deadline. A FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) is required for many, but not all, of our scholarships. We encourage students to submit it if they have can. 95% of the awards we make 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. References can alternatively submit letters directly to ACF via fax, mail or email. Contact us for details.

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 “Home” tab of the application.

How will I be notified if I win an award?

You will be notified by email if you are selected for an award. Please check the email that you used to create your login. You will not be contacted if you are not selected to receive an award. 

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. You may also email them to us at

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 check go?

The award check will be sent to the educational institution and applied to the student’s account. It is important that scholars notify ACF of their school’s name and address, and student ID number to ensure the check is received and applied in a timely fashion.

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 “Trouble Signing In” 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. Please email us to receive additional instructions on how to be considered.
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