FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where do I apply?
The Feb 1 application is open and will close at 11:59pm on 2/1. All applicants may apply via this link.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does the committee select finalists?
- 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 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?"
- Direct costs (tuition and fees)
- 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?
- 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.
Are undocumented/DACA students eligible?
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?
Are international students eligible?
How does Renaissance define "first-generation"?
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 email@example.com 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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Does Renaissance accept printed/mailed applications?
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?
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 email@example.com 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?
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:
- 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.
- 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)?
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?
How can I tell if a document has been uploaded to my application correctly?
What happens after I submit my application?
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.
The Renaissance Foundation
P O Box 80516 Portland, OR 97280