The Renaissance Scholars Program

First Deadline: February 1, 2021 

Second Deadline: May 1, 2021 

The Renaissance Scholars Program provides renewable scholarships for high achieving, first-generation college students with financial need. The scholarship is up to $4,000 awarded annually (with a maximum cumulative award of up to $16,000) dependent on individual need. In addition to funds, scholars receive support from foundation staff in navigating the higher education system. Scholars are invited to foundation sponsored events throughout the year to encourage open communication and support for success. 

We have made several updates to our scholarship program in 2020. Be sure to read all instructions when applying. Students may apply if they meet ALL the following requirements: 

  1. Plan to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. 4-year college and have one of the following academic statuses: 
    • High school senior graduating spring 2021  
    • 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 2021 (Note: Financial awards will not be given while in community college but will begin with the first term of enrollment at the student’s transfer 4-year college) 
  2. Be a first-generation college student, defined as a student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree (see FAQ section for more). 
  3. Have significant demonstrated financial need, typically meaning an EFC of $6,000 or less (see FAQ section for more). 
  4. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have shown academic achievement.

In addition to meeting the requirements above, The Renaissance Foundation is looking for students who demonstrate: leadership potential, a concern for others, 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. 

If the student meets all the above requirements, then they may submit an online application. Students must upload and submit all parts of the application online by the submission deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.  

Application components consist of: 

  • All required application boxes filled out and proofread 
  • Most recent unofficial high school transcripts, and college transcripts if applicable 
  • SAT/ACT scores (or statement about why you did not take them ex.: COVID-19, transfer student)
  • One of the following financial documents: 1. FAFSA Student Aid Report 2. Completed ORSAA application 3. 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?

Optional Items: 

  • Activities summary or resume including jobs, extracurriculars, pre-college experiences, etc. 
  • Statement on financial situation to add context if necessary (ex: if your paperwork does not accurately reflect your current financial situation) 

To review the application and submit online, please follow this link (available on 9/30/20).  Find more helpful information on ourFAQ page. 

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section for more information about our scholarship programs.

Renaissance Scholars All Over the US!