Scholarship FAQs

Important Scholarship Dates

  • February 1: Application deadline!
  • April & May: Scholarships are reviewed and students are notified.
  • June 6: Contract accepting the terms of the scholarship award are due!
  • June 13: Berrien Community Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Celebration (required for all scholarship recipients)
  • August: Scholarship awards are sent to colleges.
  • October 1: Deadline to receive or defer scholarship award.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a United States citizen to apply for scholarships? 
No, you do not need to be a United States citizen to apply for or receive any BCF scholarship. 

What type of questions are on the application?

  • General contact/family information 
  • High school/college information
  • List of extra-curricular activities such as volunteering, clubs, sports, etc.
  • Employment information
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • Contact information of those writing your letters of recommendation
  • Copy of unofficial transcripts
  • Essay questions 

What are the essay questions in the application?
All applicants will be asked to write one common essay of 250-500 words describing their educational and career goals, and how a scholarship would help them. Additional shorter essays of 100-250 words may appear as you work on the application depending on your answers. You should answer these! Each additional essay you see is another scholarship that you are eligible for!

Do I need to submit an SAT score? 
No, SAT scores are not required. 

I don’t have a strong GPA, am I still eligible for scholarships? 
Yes! Our scholarship awards are determined by a variety of factors beyond your grade point average. 

How do I provide letters of recommendation?
You will be asked to provide the name and email address for your recommenders, and we will reach out to request them. Make sure you accurately enter their email address. It is a good idea to let them know that you have done this. 

How do I provide my transcripts?
You will be asked to upload an unofficial copy of your transcripts. You can request transcripts from digital credential services such as Parchment, visit your school's website, or contact your counselor/academic adviser. 

When should Early-Middle College students apply?
Early-Middle College students should apply in their 5th year. 

Do I have to submit my FAFSA information?
US citizens and eligible non-citizens are required to upload a copy of their Student Aid Index (SAI). Non-citizens can learn more about their eligibility status at Eligibility for Non-U.S. Citizens | Federal Student Aid

There are 3 ways to satisfy the FAFSA requirement in the application:

  • Students may complete the Federal Student Aid Estimator and submit that number when asked for their 2024-25 FAFSA information. For a step by step on how to complete the estimator, click here. 
  • Students may submit the estimate they receive once they have submitted the FAFSA form.
  • Students may submit their official Student Aid Index information if they receive it by the February 1 deadline.

*Please Note: Students who do not submit their official FAFSA Student Aid Index will be disqualified from receiving a BCF Scholarship. The student will still need to complete FAFSA and submit at a later date to verify eligibility for financial need scholarships. Should the scholarship committee determine that the student's verified Student Aid Index does not qualify the student for financial need scholarships, scholarship awards are at the discretion of Berrien Community Foundation.

Students must submit their official Student Aid Report (SAI) as soon as they have it. SAIs will be accepted at

When must I have my FAFSA filed? 
FAFSA applications open in December of 2023. Please visit Home | Federal Student Aid to apply. It can take up to three weeks to receive an SAI from FAFSA, so start early!

I am a U.S. citizen, but I will not be receiving any Pell Grants or other aid from the government because my household income is too high. Do I still need to apply for FAFSA? 
Yes, BCF requires all applicants who are U.S. citizens and any eligible non-citizen to apply for and submit FASFA information to apply for BCF scholarships. If you have more questions, please contact program director Susan Matheny by emailing

I am not an eligible non-citizen, am I required to apply for and submit FAFSA information?
No, non-eligible non-citizens are not required to provide FAFSA information but can still apply for scholarships! The application will ask for you to write a financial statement, which can include such things as whether you have other family members in college, if a parent is unemployed, if your family has high medical debt, etc. This will help the committee determine your financial need.

What happens after applying? 
After applying, your application will be sorted into all the scholarships for which you are eligible. The review committees review the applications in mid-April. If you are a high schooler and are awarded a scholarship, you will be notified at your high school’s honors night. If you are a current/returning college student that is awarded a scholarship, you will receive a phone call by the end of April. 

Will I be informed if I do not receive a scholarship? 
Students who are awarded will be notified no later than June 1. If you do not hear from BCF by June 1, you were not awarded this year. We encourage you to apply again next year. 

What if I have other questions you didn't answer?

Reach out to us! We're happy to help you along in this process. Email BCF Program Director Susan Matheny at or by call 269-983-3304.


I'm having issues with the scholarship application. Who can help me?

Reach out to BCF Development Officer Noah Hayden at