SCHOLARSHIP FAQs

Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements?

In short, all applicants must be the child of a Marine or a Navy Corpsmen, Chaplain or Religious Programs specialist attached to a Marine unit, have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 on an unweighted 4.00 scale, and have an adjusted gross income of less than $106,000 for 2021-22. Additionally, applicants must submit a completed application with all required documents by the application deadline.

For a full list of eligibility requirements and more details, visit www.mcsf.org/eligibility.

Do all eligible applicants receive an award?

Yes! That said, applicants must meet ALL eligibility requirements AND submit a completed application with all required and requested documents by the deadline. If applicants submit their application with missing or incorrect documents, they will be considered ineligible for the academic year in which they applied. Applicants may reapply in future years.

My family's income is higher than your limit. Should I still apply?

You can apply if your family’s income is over $106,000, but there is no guarantee you’ll be awarded a scholarship. You will need to provide a thorough explanation of your family’s financial need, and you may be required to provide additional documents to substantiate your explanation. Only applicants with extreme extenuating financial circumstances will be considered. Examples of extenuating circumstances that cannot be considered include: “I am paying for college on my own” or “I am attending an expensive college.”

My family's income has been affected by COVID-19. Will you take that into consideration in the application?

If COVID-19 has been the cause of a job loss, salary reduction, or other financial hardship for your family, we suggest you provide your family’s 2020 tax documents to accurately demonstrate your financial need. Your family’s income must be less than $106,000 to be eligible for this scholarship.

Are step-children of Marines/Sailors eligible to apply?

Yes! The military stepparent must remain married to the biological parent for continued eligibility. Step-children may be required to provide additional documentation to show proof of their relationship to the qualifying military parent (typically a tax document and/or a marriage certificate).

I'm a part-time student. Am I still eligible to receive a scholarship?

Yes! Awards are available for part-time students.

I’d like to attend career training or trade school for a non-degree certificate program. Am I eligible?

Yes! Scholarships are available to students attending any school listed at http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator.

If your program is 12 months or less, you can apply for our Career & Technical Education Scholarship.

Students pursuing certificate programs longer than 12 months need to apply for our Undergraduate and Associate Degree Scholarships.

I’ve already completed my undergraduate courses/earned my bachelor’s degree. Am I eligible?

No. If you’ve already earned an undergraduate degree or completed all of your undergraduate courses, then you’re not eligible for a scholarship. Check out our Resources page at www.mcsf.org/resources for other organizations that might help.

I’m receiving VA and/or GI Bill benefits. Can I still apply?

Yes! Our scholarship can be used in addition to any other benefits you may be receiving.

Application

How do I apply?

Our online application is open from January 1 through March 2, 2021. Learn more at www.mcsf.org/apply. We do not provide or accept paper applications, and all required documents must be provided electronically.

When does the application open and what is the award timeline?

UNDERGRADUATE/ASSOCIATE SCHOLARSHIP TIMELINE

  • January 1: Application open for new and renewal applicants
  • March 2: Application closes
  • March – May: Applications reviewed
  • May 31: Award decisions e-mailed to students
  • August 1: First payments sent to schools
  • November 1: Deadline to complete Award Acceptance
  • December/January: Transfer paperwork due (if applicable)

CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP TIMELINE

  • Application available all year
  • Applications processed monthly
  • Week 1: Complete and submit an application
  • Week 2-6: Application reviewed and processed
  • Week 7: Award decision e-mail sent
  • Week 8: Recipient completes Award Acceptance for scholarship payment

I’m a new applicant. What documents are required for the application?

  1. TRANSCRIPTYour transcript must be dated after January 1, 2021 and show your full name, school’s name, most recent grades, and a cumulative, unweighted GPA on a 4.00 scale.
  2. 2020 FEDERAL TAX RETURN: The first two pages of the 2020 Federal Tax Return you are claimed on OR the Statement of Non-filing of a Federal Tax Return AY 2021-22 form.
  3. QUALIFYING MILITARY PARENT SERVICE DOCUMENTATION: Click here to learn more about the document you’ll need to provide.
  4. PHOTO: A clear photo of yourself suitable for reproduction in our publications and donor relations, and is at least 500KB and preferably 300 dpi. See photo guidelines here.

Additional information about these documents can be found in Application Documents.

You may also have to provide additional documentation:

  • Not claimed on your military parent’s taxes: submit proof of relationship to the qualifying military parent (such as a birth certificate or adoption paperwork).
  • Applying as a stepchild: submit proof of relationship to the qualifying military parent  (such as birth and marriage certificates).
  • Applying as a grandchild: submit an Association Document (roster list, membership card, or copy of newsletter with their name and address) showing your grandparent is/was a member of the association for which you are applying.
  • Parent was medically retired from the military: submit the documentation assigning your qualifying military parent to the Permanent Disability Retired List (PDRL).  DON’T provide documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) such as a disability rating.
  • If YOU served in the US Armed Forces: you’ll have to submit your own military document (DD214 Member-4 version) or Statement of Service in addition to your parent’s military document.

I’m a renewal applicant who was awarded in the 2020-21 academic year. What documents are required for the application?

TRANSCRIPT: Your transcript must be dated after January 1, 2021 and show your full name, your school’s name, most recent grades, and a cumulative, unweighted GPA on a 4.00 scale.

2020 FEDERAL TAX RETURN: The first two pages of the 2020 Federal Tax Return you’re claimed on OR the Statement of Non-filing of a Federal Tax Return AY 2021-22 form.

Additional questions about these documents can be found in the Application Documents.

Can I email, postal mail or fax my documents?

No. All documents must uploaded into the online application. Any documents sent by e-mail, postal mail, or fax cannot be accepted. All documents must be uploaded as one merged file. For example, the first two pages of your tax document must be uploaded as one PDF.

Don’t have a scanner? These are free apps that convert photos to PDFs and merge multiple pages together:

  • Genius Scan
  • Tiny Scanner
  • CamScanner
  • iScanner

www.ilovepdf.com is a free online tool that merges and splits PDFs and converts photo files to PDF. No installation required.

I was previously awarded a scholarship. Do I need to apply again?

Yes. You’re eligible for up to four paid awards but are required to re-apply and meet eligibility each year. The renewal application is simple and doesn’t take long to complete.

You’re not required to be awarded in consecutive years, but if you weren’t awarded in the 2020-21 academic year, then you’ll need to complete the application process as a new applicant.

What is the dollar amount of the scholarship awards?

Scholarship awards are $1,500, $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000 per academic year. Award amounts are based on factors including financial need, GPA, and available funding for the year. Amounts are not guaranteed from year to year, and renewal applicants may be awarded different amounts in subsequent years.

Application Documents

Transcript

I won’t be able to get my official transcript by the application deadline. What can I do?

You can provide an unofficial transcript; it must be dated after January 1, 2021 and include:

  • Your completed fall 2020 grades
  • Your first and last name
  • Name of your school
  • Cumulative, unweighted GPA on a 4.00 scale

Screenshots are acceptable, IF the items listed above can be seen in one screenshot. Microsoft Word, text, or editable documents aren’t acceptable.

If your school only provides cumulative GPAs that are weighted or on a 100-point scale, you’ll need to provide a signed letter from a school administrator verifying your cumulative, unweighted GPA on a 4.0 scale IN ADDITION to the transcript document.

GED recipients: provide a copy of your GED if you haven’t attended college or career training since earning your GED.

For more information regarding transcript requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

My school will only postal mail my transcript, but you don’t accept documents by mail. What should I do?

Request your transcript be mailed to you. When you receive your transcript, open it, scan it, and upload it to your application. We’ll accept your transcript as “official” even though the sealed envelope has been opened.

If your school mails your transcript to our office, it cannot be accepted and will be destroyed. No application documents are accepted by e-mail, postal mail, or fax.

For more information regarding transcript requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

Tax Document

What tax forms are accepted?

The first two pages of the 2020 federal tax return (IRS-1040) you are claimed on. You can provide 2019 taxes if your family hasn’t filed their 2020 taxes, but may be asked to provide 2020 taxes later. Award decisions will be made based on the taxes provided in your application.

Even if you file your own taxes, you may have to provide your parent’s taxes. Check out the next question to determine which document we’ll need.

You’re not required to provide the taxes for your qualifying military parent unless that’s the parent that claims you; see “Other Documents Needed” on our Required Application Documents page if your military parent doesn’t claim you.

Acceptable federal tax forms are:

  • Federal (US) 1040 – submit first two pages*
  • Federal (US) 1040-SR – submit first two pages*

*You’ll need to submit the first two pages of IRS form 1040 itself (not necessarily the first two pages of the document that you have if you use a tax preparer). The tax document must have your full name listed as a dependent, the tax filer’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), and the tax filer’s signature so we can verify that the document is authentic.

Unacceptable tax forms include:

  • Summary pages
  • Form 1040-ES
  • Form 1040-X

The general IRS site for all forms is: http://www.irs.gov

For more information regarding tax requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

How do I know if I should submit my parent’s tax return, or my tax return?

Determine the type of student you are here: https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/filling-out/dependency.

  • Dependent applicants must provide their parent’s taxes on which they’re claimed (this means your name will appear in the Dependents box – or on the supplemental List of Dependents form). Even if you file your own taxes, you must provide your parent’s taxes.
  • Independent applicants must provide their own taxes.

Not living with your parents, being responsible for your own educational expenses, or not being claimed by your parents on your tax forms doesn’t change our requirements.

If you’re a dependent student and aren’t claimed on your parent’s taxes, then you’ll need to provide your parent’s taxes AND your own taxes.

For more information regarding tax requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

I’m considered a dependent student, but I'm paying for my own education. Do I still have to submit my parent’s tax return?

Yes. For our scholarship, dependent students must submit their parent’s taxes. Your name should appear on the tax 1040 form in the Dependents box – or on the supplemental List of Dependents form.

Not living with your parents, being responsible for your own educational expenses, or not being claimed by your parents on your tax forms doesn’t change our requirements.

If you’re a dependent student and aren’t claimed on your parent’s taxes, you’ll need to provide your parent’s taxes AND your own taxes.

For more information regarding tax requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

My parents are divorced or separated. Whose tax document should I use?

Submit the taxes for the parent that claims you (your name will appear on the 1040 tax form in the Dependents box – or on the supplemental List of Dependents form). You’re not required to provide the taxes for your qualifying military parent unless that’s the parent that claims you.

For more information regarding tax requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

What if my parent’s 2020 federal taxes won't be finalized until after the application deadline?

Provide the 2019 taxes. You may be asked to provide 2020 taxes later.

If your family’s financial situation has recently changed, you’re encouraged to provide your family’s 2020 taxes so we have a more accurate picture of your current financial situation. Should you choose to provide your family’s 2019 taxes, we’ll base our award decision on your 2019 income.

For more information regarding tax requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

What if I, or my parents, don’t file a tax return?

Provide a Statement of Non-filing of a Federal Tax Return form in lieu of taxes. The form can be found within the application and must be signed by you and your parents.

If awarded, you’ll be required to provide an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter.

Awardees that fail to provide the official confirmation, or provide false statements, risk forfeiting their scholarship award.

Military Service Documentation

What military document do I need from my parent for the application?

Military parent no longer serving in the Marine Corps or Navy:  DD214 (Member-4) form.

Military parent is currently on active duty OR is a drilling reservist:  Statement of Service (dated within 90 days of March 1, 2021).

Military parent was killed in action, killed in service, or killed in training: Report of Casualty DD Form 1300

For more information regarding military parent document requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

What is a DD214 (Member-4 version) form?

This document was provided to your military parent upon discharge from the military and should be used if your parent is no longer serving in the Marine Corps or Navy.

The Character of Service on the DD214 must read: HONORABLE. Read the next question to find where this is located on the DD214.

The following CANNOT be accepted in place of a DD214 Member-4: Honorable Discharge Certificate, DD214 Member-1 forms (or short forms), DD214s that don’t indicate “Character of Service,” letters from Veterans’ Affairs, disability documents, duty orders, or military IDs.

For more information regarding military parent document requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

Where can I find the “Character of Service” on the DD214 (Member-4 version)?

Character of service can be found using the table below.  The form number/date appears in the bottom left corner of the DD214.

DD Form 214, Aug 2009: Box 24
DD Form 214, Feb 2000: Box 24
DD Form 214, Nov 88: Box 24
DD Form 214, 1 Jul 79: Box 24
DD Form 214, 1 Nov 72: Box 9e
DD Form 214 MC (1900), 1 Jul 66: Box 13a
DD Form 214, 1 Nov 55: Box 13a

Some DD214s don’t show the character of service. That means the document is not the final version and your military parent will need to obtain a final version at: www.archives.gov/veterans.

What if I don’t have my parent’s DD214 (Member-4 version), or proof of their honorable service?

Your military parent will need to obtain their military record at www.archives.gov/veterans. It can take up to several months to obtain this information, so plan accordingly.

For more information regarding military parent document requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

My parent is currently on active duty or is a drilling reservist. What kind of service proof do you require?

If your parent is still on Active Duty or is a drilling Reservist you’ll need to submit their Statement of Service.  The Statement of Service must be on official US Department of Defense (Marine Corps or Navy) letterhead and signed by the Adjutant, Personnel Officer, Executive Officer, or Commanding Officer of your parent’s current unit and dated within 90 days of March 1, 2021.

The following documents CANNOT be accepted in lieu of the Statement of Service: duty orders, military IDs, Honorable Discharge Certificate, DD214 forms, letters from Veterans Affairs, or disability documents.

For more information regarding military parent document requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

My parent served primarily as a drilling reservist. What kind of military documentation do you require?

We need your parent’s final DD214 as listed in the question above. If your parent doesn’t have a DD214 documenting the full length of their service, then we require the most recent DD214 with character of service AND one of the following documents:

  • Career Retirement Credit Report (CRCR)
  • Transfer to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) Letter on DOD letterhead
  • Official Marine Corps or Navy Retirement Letter

For more information regarding military parent document requirements, visit our Required Application Documents page.

My parent is wounded, ill, or injured. What service document do you require?

Depending on your military parent’s service status (discharged, active duty, or drilling reservist) you’ll need to provide the appropriate service document as indicated above.

If your parent has been placed on the Marine Corps Permanent Disability Retired List (PDRL), then you’ll need to also provide documentation from the Marine Corps assigning your parent to PDRL.

Do not provide us with documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). PDRL is different from a VA disability rating.

Have more questions about this? Contact us!

Photograph

What are the requirements for the photograph I need to include in my application?

Provide a photo that is at least 500KB and the highest resolution possible (300 dpi preferred). Professional photos (senior portraits or otherwise) are preferred. Examples can be viewed at www.mcsf.org/photo-guidelines.

All photos must meet the following requirements:

  • High resolution (300 dpi preferred)
  • A clear face shot
  • Suitable for Scholarship Foundation publications to include: our website, newsletters, donor communications, and/or event materials.
  • Color photo
  • Your photo should represent you in a positive way and have an appropriate setting.

Don’t submit:

  • Selfies
  • Photos with other people in them or cropped photos
  • Photos with distracting elements in the background
  • Photos that are inappropriate or provocative
  • Poor quality, grainy, scanned or highly pixelated photos

I’ve been awarded… now what?

I’ve been awarded a scholarship…now what?

Congratulations! We’re honored to have you as a Marine Scholar!

Your next step is to log in to your MyMCSF account at https://mcsf.scholarshipapps.org and complete your Award Acceptance. We can’t send your scholarship check to your school until these items are completed. The deadline to complete is November 1.

I’ve completed all my Award Acceptance items…now what?

You can track the progress of your scholarship, including the date your scholarship was/will be sent on your MyMCSF account page.

Once your scholarship has been mailed, allow 3–4 weeks for your school to receive and process the check. Reach out to your school’s financial aid office directly to find out when the funds will be applied to your account. Once the check is mailed by our office, the check processing time depends on your school and we cannot control or expedite this process. It is your responsibility to coordinate with your school on deadlines and use of the scholarship funds.

I'm not attending the school I indicated on my application. How can I update it?

You can update the school you’re attending in your Award Acceptance.

I'm transferring schools in the spring semester. How can I make sure the remaining balance of my award is sent to my new school?

Complete and submit the transfer student form found on your MyAward portal under the Award Status section. Your original school must return the unused funds to us before we can reissue the balance to your new school.

Can my scholarship be applied to summer classes?

Yes, as long as your summer classes are in the same academic year. Be sure to communicate this with your school early in the academic year, so your scholarship can be distributed to include the summer semester. Should your school have questions, provide them with a copy of your Conditions and Details agreement which can also be found in your MyAward page.

I have funds leftover from my scholarship. Can I use them the next academic year?

No. Your scholarship is for the academic year in which it was awarded. If your scholarship is paid partially, or in full, it will count as one of your four paid awards. Any unused portion of your scholarship must be returned to us at the end of the academic year.