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Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions


Can I apply for more than one Pierce College scholarship at a time?

A student is considered for all available scholarships by completing a single application.

How do I prove financial need?

Financial need is based on your Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). If you feel the FAFSA does not accurately reflect your situation, you should address this in your essay.

What if I didn’t complete a FAFSA?

You may address your financial situation in your essay. However, if you do not apply for financial aid, please explain in your essay. Not applying can be seen as not having done all you can do for yourself.

Should I apply if I have a low financial need?

Although financial need is an important factor, it is not the only factor considered. A strong GPA, well-written essay and quality letter of recommendation can balance out a low need. Also, not all scholarships are need based.

What if I am already receiving a partial scholarship or tuition waiver?

This does not eliminate you from consideration, but it will be taken into account when the committee considers your application.

How is academic merit determined?

Academic merit is based on your Pierce College cumulative GPA if you are a current student or your transfer GPA (high school or other institution) if you are a new student.

What if my GPA is just below the requirement?

The minimum GPA requirement is different for different scholarships. Applications are awarded points based on their GPA. Applicants with a GPA below the minimum will not be considered.

What should I say in my essay?

Your essay should tell the committee something about yourself, why you are pursuing the educational path you have chosen, and any financial or personal challenges that you have overcome or are currently dealing with. You want to make a solid case for why you should be selected to receive a scholarship. Keep in mind that we receive anywhere from 75 to 200 applications each round. The essay is your opportunity to stand out.

How long should I make my essay?

Your essay should not exceed one typewritten page, 400 word limit, single-spaced with no less than 10-point font. Essays are evaluated on quality, not word count, but the committee will not read more than one page. Since committee members must thoroughly review every application submitted, applicants who can make their case in a clear and concise manner make the best impression. 

How will I know if I’ve been awarded a scholarship?

Everyone who applies will be notified in writing of the result of their application, whether they were awarded a scholarship or not.

Who selects the scholarship recipients?

The Pierce College District Scholarship Committee consists of faculty, staff, students and administrators from various academic programs and departments, as well as several community volunteers.

Are there any scholarships targeted specifically to women or people of color?

As a state institution, Pierce College is prohibited by law from considering gender or ethnicity in awarding scholarships. However, various organizations provide information on their scholarships, which are designated for various constituency groups. Outside funders may notify the college about awards. They will be posted on the Scholarship web page when received. 

What is the dollar value of the scholarship?

The exact amount of the scholarship will be noted on the cover sheet of the application materials. Pierce College Foundation scholarships are generally $750 per quarter.

Can I use the scholarship funds for books or other expenses besides tuition?

A limited number of Pierce College scholarships may be used for books or other course related expenses, but most may not.

Can I use the scholarship funds at another institution?

Scholarship funds awarded by the Pierce College Foundation are for students attending Pierce College, unless otherwise noted in the application materials. There are a few transfer scholarships for students transferring to four-year institutions from Pierce College.

Can scholarship funds be carried over to another term?

Pierce College Foundation Scholarship funds are awarded for a specific time period and cannot be carried over. A recipient may request an exception in extenuating circumstances. Any unused scholarship funds remain with the Pierce College Foundation and will be awarded to another recipient.

Are there other obligations attached to receiving scholarships from Pierce College?

All scholarship recipients are required to write thank you letters to the donors. All scholarship recipients are required to maintain the minimum GPA outlined in the scholarship application criteria. All scholarship recipients are required to attend the Annual Scholarship Luncheon, which is held in May or June. Scholarship recipients may be asked to participate in other events to thank donors who have funded the scholarships.

If for any reason these conditions are not met, recipients may be required to repay scholarship funds they have been awarded.

Where can I find scholarship applications?

The application process is completely online. Apply online now.

Where can I find additional scholarships? is a clearing house, matching applicants with funders. After registering and completing the profile, the site will provide a list of scholarships that you most likely fit the criteria. You will complete their applications on site.