Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for scholarship assistance through the Foundation?

Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents who are graduating seniors attending public or private high schools, and current college students who plan to attend accredited post-high school institutions including two- and four-year colleges, and business, technical, and vocational schools are invited to apply.

How do I apply for a scholarship?

Applications will be available in December 2021. Only one application needs to be completed for all scholarships administered by the Foundation, with the exception of The Class of 1960 scholarship.

If you are applying for The Class of 1960 scholarship, that requires its own application and supporting documents. That information can be found by clicking here.

In addition to your completed application, please submit the following supporting documents by the deadline noted in the application:

  1. A signed personal essay.
    • Please include an essay that answers the following question: How have your activities, experiences and/or relationships influenced your character and/or aspirations?
    • The essay should include information about the following as they pertain to you: reasons for requesting scholarship assistance; goals and plans for the future; interests and activities that you feel are significant in your life; employment experience, including the use of earnings (if employment is through a family business, indicate whether compensation is received); and extenuating family circumstances or information including illness, job loss, or any additional circumstances not related to COVID-19 (see below).
    • It is recommended that essays are approximately than 1,000 words. However, some of our best essays have been shorter or longer than that!
    • Essays should be formatted as 12-point Times New Roman font.
  2. Optional essay
    • We would like to give applicants a space to share any pertinent effects COVID-19 has had on them, either academically or personally. We are providing an opportunity to submit an optional, supplemental essay not to exceed 200 words explaining the impacts of COVID-19 on your life. If your work/service circumstances were altered/impacted due to COVID-19, please explain here and let us know how you spent your time.
  3. One letter of reference (all applicants)
    • One letter from a teacher, professor, employer, or other significant adult (excluding relatives) should be mailed directly by the person selected to the address below.
  4. An official high school transcript (high school applicants only)
    • You are responsible for requesting your official high school transcript to be sent directly by your high school to the address below. SPFHS applicants should follow the directions located in the back of the booklet for electronic transcript release.
  5. An official college transcript (college applicants only)
    • You are responsible for requesting your official college transcript be sent directly by your school to the address below. Transcripts must be received by the date indicated on the application. Internet-downloaded transcripts may not be accepted.
  6. Supplemental essays/letters of recommendation
    • Please be aware that certain scholarships require additional essays and/or letters of recommendation. You can find this information in the scholarship description.
    • If you would like to be considered for any of these scholarships, please indicate it in the “Additional Requirements” section of the application and include the required materials.
    • All supplemental materials must include your name and the scholarship name on each page, and should be submitted along with your application. Incomplete or unsigned applications may not be considered.
  7. Submission Instructions
    • All pages of the application must be submitted; please do not staple the pages. Do not include pictures or additional materials in support of your application. Notify the Foundation of any change in your college major, school and volunteer activities or family circumstances as soon as possible.
    • Once your application has been submitted, it is important to check your email regularly for communication from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Scholarship Foundation. Direct all inquiries to spfscholarshipfoundation@gmail.com.
      • Mail completed application and personal letter after January 1st with adequate postage to:
        • Scotch Plains-Fanwood Scholarship Foundation, Inc.
        • Attention: Screening Committee
        • P.O. Box 123
        • Fanwood, NJ 07023
    • In 2021, the Foundation will be offering in-person drop off days for students wishing to hand-deliver their applications. Details will be forthcoming.
    • APPLICATIONS AND ALL SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS (including transcripts) MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE APPLICATION DEADLINE TO BE CONSIDERED. Late applications will be returned.

What defines a “need based” scholarship?

One of our most-asked question is what defines a “need-based” scholarship and why we require evidence of financial need. While we would love to give a definitive “income cutoff” type of answer, it’s really not that simple.

There are many factors taken into consideration when determining “need”. We do not use the same formula as colleges and universities using FAFSA and/or CSS information. Family income is a large part of our consideration, but we realize that income alone may not show the entire picture.

Other factors that may be considered when determining need include, but are not limited to, family medical expenses/illness, loss of income, number of children in family/educational expenses for siblings, and expenses associated with caring for other family members.

We encourage anyone in doubt as to whether or not they may qualify to apply for need-based scholarships by including financial documentation with their application. If you do not qualify for need-based scholarships, you will still be considered for any non-need scholarships for which you meet the criteria. However, if you do not apply for need-based scholarships and/or do not supply the required supporting financial documentation, you cannot be considered for them.

Why do you need my financial information?

A number of our scholarships require evidence of financial need as part of their criteria. As such, we do require financial documentation to verify that applicants are qualified for these awards. It is our responsibility to our scholarship donors to ensure that we are selecting applicants that best meet their criteria, and verification is a part of that process. If applicants do not wish to be considered for financial need-based scholarship, inclusion of financial documentation is not necessary.

Please be assured that your financial information is viewed only by the screening committee chairperson and the president of the Foundation for the purposes of verifying financial need. No other screening committee members or board members will have access to this portion of your application. Your information is kept strictly confidential.

All applicants (those applying for need and non-need scholarships) are asked to complete the Educational Financing Information section of the application. This helps the committee understand how applicants and their families plan to finance their education.

How can I ensure that my information is private?

We appreciate the trust that you place in our organization and take your privacy very seriously. Your application is seen only by our screening committee members. Your financial information is seen only by the screening committee chairperson and the president of the Foundation for the purpose of verifying financial need. We require all screening committee and Foundation board members to sign a confidentiality agreement.

What are the requirements for the personal essay?

Our screening committee wants to get to know you, and your personal essay is a great way for us to do so! Your essay should answer the following question:

How have your activities, experiences and/or relationships influenced your character and/or aspirations?

The essay should also include information about the following as they pertain to you: reasons for requesting scholarship assistance; goals and plans for the future; interests and activities that you feel are significant in your life; employment experience, including the use of earnings (if employment is through a family business, indicate whether compensation is received); and extenuating family circumstances or information (illness, job loss, etc., not related to COVID-19. See below.). Essays should be approximately 1,000 words, however, some of our best essays have been shorter or longer than that! Essays should be formatted as 12-point Times New Roman font.

Optional essay
We would like to give applicants a space to share any pertinent effects Covid-19 has had on them, either academically or personally. We are providing an opportunity to submit an optional, supplemental essay not to exceed 200 words explaining the impacts of COVID-19 on your life. If your work/service circumstances were altered/impacted due to Covid-19, please explain here and let us know how you spent your time.

Supplemental Essays
Some of our scholarships require submission of a supplemental essay and/or letters of recommendation in order to be considered. These requirements can be found in the individual scholarship descriptions. If you would like to be considered for one of these scholarships, please indicate which one(s) in the “Additional Requirements” section of the application and include the supplemental materials along with your application.

Additional Essay Information
The font for all essays should be 12-point Times New Roman font. The applicant’s name should appear on each page of the essay. Supplemental essays should also include the name of the scholarship on each page.

Who should I ask to write my letter of recommendation?

We encourage you to select a non-relative adult who knows you well and with whom you interact often, preferably from an academic, working or service environment.

We are often asked who the best person is to ask to write your letter of recommendation, and to be honest, that is an impossible question to answer.

The best advice that we can give is for you to choose someone who truly knows you and what you are about. That could be a favorite teacher, a club or service advisor, your guidance counselor, a coach, an employer, or a close family friend.

Our main goal in asking for a letter of recommendation is to get to know you better by hearing from those who know you best. Only you can determine who that might be.

The best letters of recommendation are those where there is a strong connection between the applicant and the writer of the letter which tends to make the letter more personal, so keep that in mind when making your decision.

How do I start my own scholarship through the Foundation?

We would love to help you! Setting up a scholarship through the Foundation is easy. We are happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions that you might have. Please email our president, Michelle Wyrwa, at spfscholarshipfoundation@gmail.com.

I don’t see my question listed.

We’re here to help! Please reach out to us at spfscholarshipfoundation@gmail.com and we will be happy to connect.

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