The mission of the Renaissance Scholars Program (RSP) is to provide scholarships and offer support to high-achieving, low-income students who will be the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree. The scholarship provides a maximum $4,000 a year towards tuition and fees, housing, books and supplies, depending on each student’s individual financial need. It is renewable for up to four years. Scholars are eligible for renewal if they maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, have financial need, and are enrolled fulltime.
RSP works closely with several mentoring organizations and colleges to ensure that scholars are supported beyond the scholarship funds they receive from the program. RSP provides opportunities for scholars to connect with the Trustees, Foundation staff, and one another during Foundation-hosted events throughout the year.
Students may apply if they meet ALL the following requirements:
1. Be a student in Oregon or Illinois OR be planning to attend a 4-year college in Oregon or Illinois.
2. Plan to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited US 4-year college and have one of the following academic statuses:
- High school senior graduating spring 2022
- Current freshman or sophomore student at a 4-year college
- Community college student planning to transfer to a 4-year college in the fall of 2022 (NOTE: Scholarships may not be applied at community college. If students decide to enroll or continue at community college, they will need to reapply when they are ready to transfer.)
3. Be the very first person in your family to attend a 4-year college. Students who have a parent with a bachelor’s degree, or a sibling graduated from, or currently enrolled in, a 4-year college are not eligible. (see FAQ section for more info)
4. Have significant demonstrated financial need. Renaissance typically defines this as an EFC of 6500 or less, or equivalent for those who do not file the FAFSA. If Renaissance scholarship winners go on to win a “full ride” scholarship through their college or an organization, the Renaissance award will be rescinded. (see FAQ section for more info)
5. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have shown academic achievement.
In addition to meeting the requirements above, RSP is looking for students who demonstrate strength of character and a strong work ethic. These qualities can be demonstrated through participation in volunteering, membership in clubs/community organizations, paid/unpaid work, or family responsibilities. Successful candidates are able to clearly communicate their strengths and goals, both in their written application and in an interview setting.
US citizenship is not a requirement to be eligible for this scholarship. (see FAQ section for more)
February 1, 2022 Deadline
February 1 Application due
February Committee review
Late February Finalists notified
All applicants notified of final decision by April 1.
May 1, 2022 Deadline
March 1 Application opens
May 1 Application due
May Committee review
Late May Finalists notified
All applicants notified of final decision by July 1.
- All required application boxes filled out and proofread
- Most recent unofficial high school transcripts, and college transcripts if applicable
- One of the following financial documents:
- FAFSA Student Aid Report
- Completed ORSAA/Alternative Application copy
- Parent’s most recent tax paperwork (Form 1040 or similar) only if neither FAFSA/ORSAA apply
- Letter of Recommendation #1- from an educational source (teacher, professor, counselor, non-family member)
- Letter of Recommendation #2- from another source (coach, boss, mentor, non-family member)
- Essay #1 (1,000 words or less)
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Describe a significant personal challenge or problem you’ve faced, how it affected you, how you overcame or tried to overcome the problem, and what you learned about yourself in the process.
- Essay #2 (pick one of the provided prompts, 500 words or less)
- Introduce yourself to us so that we may get to know you better—your personality, best and worst traits, future goals, and passion around your field of study.
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Describe your life in 10 years. Tell us about your career, your accomplishments, hobbies, home, anything you see. How did college contribute?
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you?
- SAT/ACT scores
- Activities summary or resume including jobs, extracurriculars, volunteer experiences, etc.
- Statement on financial situation to add context if necessary (ex: if your paperwork does not accurately reflect your current financial situation)