FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General

Where do I apply?

The Feb 1 application is closed. All applicants have been notified if they are moving on to the interview round.
The May 1 application is now open and will close at 11:59pm on 5/1. All applicants may apply via this link.

Students will need to sign up for an account on our scholarship system “SmarterSelect” and it will automatically send email updates regarding  applications. If access to the internet or computer technology is a difficulty, please contact shayna@rscholars.org.

How does the committee select finalists?
Each eligible application is thoroughly reviewed and scored by multiple members of the Renaissance volunteer committee. Some items we pay particular attention to are:

  • Finances (EFC, annual household income, statement of need, number of people in household, etc.)
  • Academics (unweighted cumulative HS and college GPA, consistent/improved grades, class choices, etc.)
  • Essays (proofread, compelling content)
  • Letters of Recommendation (written by people who know the student well, not a family member or friend, positive sentiments, etc.)

Transcripts tell us a bit about the student, but we find out more from essays and recommendation letters. It is important for students to pick an essay topic that reflects who they are. We love when applicants are personable and honest. Successful candidates are able to clearly communicate their strengths and goals, both in their written application and in an interview setting.

How can the scholarship funds be used?
The Renaissance Scholarship is a renewable award of up to $4,000 per year, based on the scholar’s unmet need that school year. Awarded funds will not exceed $16,000 over four years. Should scholars go on to receive a full-ride scholarship or have less than $4,000 per year of unmet need, the Renaissance award could be reduced or waived. Funds will be divided equally over each term (excluding summer term) and will be disbursed at the beginning of the term.

The scholarship funds will be disbursed directly to the college from The Renaissance Foundation for direct costs. Use of scholarship funds for books or other indirect educational expenses will occur at the discretion of The Renaissance Foundation and is dependent on each individual university’s policies regarding outside/external scholarships.

How does Renaissance determine "unmet need?"
The Renaissance Scholar Program determines unmet need by adding up all direct and indirect costs associated with school to find the scholar’s cost of attendance (COA). Each university provides an estimated COA to students every year. We then look at all scholarships and grants awarded to the scholar. The total sum of all scholarships/grants are then subtracted from the COA to find the unmet need. We do not consider scholars’ EFC, work study, or loans in this formula.

  • Example:
    • Direct costs (tuition and fees) = $15,000
    • Indirect costs (housing, books, etc. = $12,000
    • = $27,000 total cost of attendance
    • – $16,000 total scholarships and grants(Pell, SEOG, ILMAP, Oregon Opportunity, etc.)
    • =$11,000 unmet need as determined by the Renaissance Scholars Program

Scholars who have $4,000 or more in unmet need will receive the full $4,000 award for the academic year. Students with less than $4,000 will receive partial awards or have funds held if they have zero need.

Are there requirements to keep my scholarship once I'm in college?
Yes. All scholars in college must:

  • Be enrolled full-time at a 4-year university
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Have financial need
  • Be in regular communication with Renaissance, sending financial information and transcripts each term as requested

If scholars do not meet any of these renewal requirements at any point in their college career, they are responsible for reaching out to Renaissance staff immediately to make a plan to get back on track.

Eligibility

Are undocumented/DACA students eligible?
Yes. Undocumented students and students with DACA status are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Oregon-based students will need to fill out and submit a copy of the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) to qualify.

Chicago and Baltimore-based students will need to submit their family’s tax forms or a statement of financial need.

Are non-traditional students (students returning to school) eligible?
Yes. Students who take time off between graduating high school and starting at 4-year institution may still apply for the Renaissance Scholars Program, as long as they meet all the other eligibility criteria.
Are international students eligible?
Yes. International students living in the U.S. who plan on continuing their education at a 4-year, U.S. institution are welcome to apply for the Renaissance Scholars program.
How does Renaissance define "first-generation"?

*This eligibility requirement has recently changed*

For the 2021-22 scholarship year, first-generation college students who are the first or second child in their family to attend a 4-year college are eligible to apply. If you are the third sibling (or later) in your family to attend a 4-year college, you are *not* eligible. Additionally, students who have a parent/guardian that obtained a bachelor’s degree do not qualify for the Renaissance Scholars Program.

If there any specific circumstances where the applicant is unsure about whether their application will be considered or not, please email shayna@rscholars.org before applying.

Am I eligible if my parent(s) obtained a bachelor's degree outside of the US from a foreign university/college?

Students who have a parent that obtained a foreign degree are still eigible to apply. On the application, under the “Highest education received by parent” select the option “Obtained a bachelor’s degree outside of the US from a foreign university/college.”

How does Renaissance determine financial need?
We typically consider financial need as determined by the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) listed on their FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR). Students with an EFC of $6,000 or higher are typically not considered eligible unless there are other circumstances to consider. Students can find their SAR by following these steps.

If a student is ineligible to file the FAFSA, they may submit their family’s most recent tax forms to show their financial status. Oregon-based students who cannot file the FAFSA should submit a copy of their ORSAA.

If students have a higher EFC but something does not accurately represent their financial situation, they can submit a document explaining the circumstances attached with the other financial documents.

If students have particular scenarios they wish to inquire about, please email shayna@rscholars.org.

Can I reapply for the May 1 deadline if I wasn't selected for the Feb 1 deadline?

We have two separate deadlines to allow more students to apply. Students can submit an application to either deadline. We use the same grading materials for both deadlines so one deadline is not easier than the other. If a student submits for Feb 1 and is not selected, they could reapply for May 1 but only if there was some change to the application (new term grades, change in income, edited essays, new letters of rec, etc.). Applicants who are denied for Feb 1 should only reapply if there is change(s) to the application.

Students who apply for the Feb 1 deadline will know if they are selected by mid-April. If applicants want to know that information before college decision day on May 1, then we would encourage them to apply by Feb 1. May 1 applicants will know if they have be selected by end of June/mid-July.

Application

Does Renaissance accept printed/mailed applications?
No. As of September 2019, our application is solely available through our online application. If you absolutely cannot submit an online application, please reach out to shayna@rscholars.org to ask about other options.
When does the application open?

First Deadline: February 1, 2021 

Second Deadline: May 1, 2021 (Opens in Jan 30, 2021)

All items including letters of recommendation must be received by the deadline if the applicant wishes to be considered. Applicants should remind their recommenders as the deadline approaches.

What are the application components?
Please see The Renaissance Scholars Program page for application components.
Do I have to submit my high school transcript if I am a college student?

We do request all applicants to submit their high school transcript as it helps us look at your academic history. We know that not all students excel in high school but do better in college, so we will be looking mostly to see if there has been improvement.
If you are unable to obtain your high school transcript or you wish to not submit your high school transcript for some reason, please contact shayna@rscholars.org for more information.

What if I did not take the ACT/SAT? (Due to COVID cancellations, etc.)

We understand that some students were not able to take the ACT/SAT. We would ask those students to submit a word document or attachment that states they did not take the test due to COVID cancellations or whatever reason. There is a place on the application to upload the document.

Where can I find a copy of my transcripts?
Transcripts do not need to be official and should hopefully not cost you money to acquire. You can request an electronic copy if your school provides this option. If your school doesn’t provide an electronic copy, transcripts should be scanned and saved onto your computer to be uploaded to your online application.

A helpful app you can download on your phone for scanning documents is called “Genius Scan.” It allows you to take photos of documents and then automatically turns them into PDF form. Then you can email to yourself or others to have on your computer for the application. We understand computer, scanning, and email access can be a challenge for students, so we are able to make accommodations for applicants who need assistance.

If you don’t have the required high school transcript:

  1. Contact your high school. If you graduated many years ago and they cannot provide a copy to you, ask them where you can obtain one.
  2. If unsuccessful try the School District Administration Office if the high school was a public high school.

If you don’t have the required college transcript(s):

  • Contact the college or school you attended or log into your student portal to access online. If your records are on hold because you owe them money or some other reason, you will need to make arrangements with them to release your records.
  • If you attended an Oregon college that has closed, try to get the transcript from the Oregon Department of Education. The State of Oregon only maintains transcripts for colleges up to 25 years after the closure.

If the closed college was outside of Oregon, then contact the state agency overseeing the institution in the state the college was located.

Where can I find a copy of my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
Students can find a copy of their SAR by logging in to FAFSA.gov and selecting the “View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR)” option near the middle of the “My FAFSA” page. The EFC is listed on the first page of the SAR.
Can I use essays I have written for other scholarship/college applications on this application?

We understand that students write many essays for college admissions and scholarship applications. As long as the essay answers the provided questions on our application, Renaissance applicants can use other essays. We would recommend applicants to make sure the content matches the question. If the question asks about your future career plans, you will want to review the essay to make sure it makes sense in relation to the essay question prompt.

How do I know if my recommenders have completed their letters?
In SmarterSelect, under the recommendation section, it lists the name of a chosen recommender and then a bit lower it says “Request sent: MM/DD/YY” and then below that it says “Request received: ___.” If the recommender has not submitted yet, it will say “pending.” If it has been received, it will list the date and time received. Students will also receive an email to the email they signed up with once the recommenders have submitted their letters.
How can I tell if a document has been uploaded to my application correctly?
On the application, look below the select button. There is text that says “Uploaded file: name_of_your_file.pdf (1 MB)” If you see this then the document is attached. If you do not see your document name, it did not upload. The file could be too big or an invalid file type.
What happens after I submit my application?
Once you have inputted all the information and uploaded all the required documents, you will submit your application. However, our application is not really complete until your recommenders submit their letters online as well. Once your recommender has submitted their letter, you will receive an email to whichever email you used to set up your account. When both recommenders have submitted, you will receive a confirmation email letting you know that your application is officially complete and being considered for review.

Our committee members read the applications and decide who moves on to be interviewed via video conferencing. After interviews take place, students are informed of the final decision via email.

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Please reach out to Scholarship Coordinator, Shayna Beymer at shayna@rscholars.org with any questions!

Reach Us

The Renaissance Foundation

P O Box 80516 Portland, OR 97280

(+1) 503.726.5970

trfscholars@gmail.com

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