SCHOLARSHIP FAQs

Eligibility

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

Yes! Be sure to provide an explanation of your family’s financial circumstances in the indicated section of the application so we have a better idea of your family’s financial need.

Are step-children eligible to apply?

Yes! Step-children may be required to provide additional documentation to show proof of relationship to their qualifying military parent (typically a tax document 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 less 12 months or less, you can apply for our Career & Technical Education Scholarship.

Students pursuing non-degree 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 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

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 1: Application closes
  • March – May: Applications reviewed
  • May 31: Award decisions e-mailed to students
  • August 1: First payments sent to schools
  • November 30: 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 & 2: Complete and submit an application
  • Week 3: Application reviewed and processed
  • Week 4: Award notification sent
  • Week 5: Award Acceptance processed and scholarship sent to school

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

  1. TRANSCRIPTYour transcript must be dated after January 1, 2017 and show your full name, school’s name, and a cumulative, unweighted GPA on a 4.00 scale.
  2. 2016 FEDERAL TAX RETURN: The first two pages of the 2016 Federal Tax Return (or 2015 if 2016 hasn’t been filed) you are claimed on OR the Statement of Non-filing of a Federal Tax Return AY 2017-18 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 preferable 300 dpi.

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

You may also have to provide an additional document:

  • If 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 a member of the association for which you are applying for.
  • If your 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).
  • 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. Your character of service must also be “honorable.” No other character of service is accepted.

I’m a renewal applicant who was awarded in the 2016-17 academic year. What documents are required for the application?

TRANSCRIPT: Your transcript must be dated after January 1, 2017 and show your full name, your school’s name, and a cumulative, unweighted GPA on a 4.00 scale.

2016 FEDERAL TAX RETURN: The first two pages of the 2016 Federal Tax Return (or 2015 if 2016 hasn’t been filed) you’re claimed on OR the Statement of Non-filing of a Federal Tax Return AY 2017-18 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 supporting documents sent by e-mail, postal mail, or fax cannot be accepted and will be destroyed.

Don’t have a scanner? These are free apps that convert photos to PDFs:

  • Genius Scan (Apple/Android)
  • Tiny Scanner (Apple/Android)
  • CamScanner (Android)
  • iScanner (Apple)

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 too long to complete.

You’re not required to be awarded in consecutive years, but if you weren’t awarded in the 2016-17 academic year, then you’ll need to complete the application process as a first-time student.

What is the dollar amount of the scholarship awards?

Scholarship awards are $1,500, $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000 per academic year.

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 include:

  • Dated after January 1, 2017 and show fall grades
  • Your full name (first & last)
  • Name of your school
  • Cumulative, unweighted GPA on a 4.0 scale

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

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

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.

Tax Document

What tax forms are accepted?

The first two pages of the 2016 federal tax return (or 2015 if 2016 hasn’t been filed) you are claimed on.

Even if you file your own taxes, you may still 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.

Acceptable federal tax forms are:

  • Federal (US) 1040 – submit first two pages*
  • Federal (US) 1040A – submit first two pages*
  • Federal (US) 1040EZ – acceptable for independent students only

*You’ll need to submit the first two pages of the IRS form itself (not necessarily the first two pages of the document that you have if you use a tax preparer). Page 1 should have your full name listed as a dependent and the tax filer’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and page 2 should have the tax filer’s signature so that 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

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

Determine the type of student you are here: www.studentaid.gov/dependency.

  • Dependent applicants must provide their parent’s taxes on which they’re claimed (this means your name will appear in box 6c of the 1040!). If you file your own taxes, you still have to provide your parent’s tax document.
  • 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.

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 the purposes of our scholarship, if you’re considered a dependent student, then you have to submit your parent’s taxes (your name will appear on the tax form in box 6c of the 1040).

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.

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 tax form in box 6c of the 1040). You’re not required to provide the taxes for your qualifying military parent unless that’s the parent that claims you.

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

Provide the prior year’s taxes. You may be required to provide an updated tax return later.

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 a 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?

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

If your parent is currently on active duty or is a drilling reservist:  Statement of Service (dated within 90 days of March 1, 2017).

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

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

This document was provided to your 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.

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 doesn’t mean your parent didn’t serve honorably—it just means the document is not the final version. Your 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 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.

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 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, 2017.

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.

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.

There is no need to provide us with documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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/our-scholars.

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.
  • Your photo should represent you in a positive way and have an appropriate setting.

Don’t submit:

  • Selfies
  • Photos with other people in them
  • 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! Your next step is to login to your MyMCSF account accept your scholarship by completing your Award Acceptance items.

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

After completing your Award Acceptance, log in to your MyMCSF page to track the progress of your scholarship, including the date your scholarship was/will be sent.

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

No need to update us on your change of plans—just be sure to indicate the correct school on your Expenses and Aid form. Changing schools won’t result in a change in your scholarship amount.

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 page under the Award Status section.

Can my scholarship be applied to summer classes?

Yes. Communicate this with your school early in the academic year, so your award can be distributed to include the summer semester. Should you school have questions, provide them with a copy of your Conditions and Details agreement.

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

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