Scholarships are generally awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so the earlier you complete your application, the better chance you will have of receiving a scholarship. Some partner programs have specific deadlines, so please check with the partner program in your area. No matter the partner program, all families are required to demonstrate financial need as measured by standards similar to the National School Lunch Program. In addition, please note that to be eligible for a scholarship, children must be entering grades K-8 (certain partner programs require that children be entering K-5 or K-6), and in most cases, new scholarships are only awarded to children coming from public school or entering Kindergarten. Children must also be 5 years old by the beginning of the school year for which they have been awarded a scholarship. Exceptions can be made for children who are at least four and a half years old if the school confirms that they have been accepted into the regular Kindergarten class and are expected to enter first grade the following academic year. No exceptions will be made for students in ungraded schools. Scholarships are awarded to all eligible children in a family, provided they are entering eligible grades the year the family was awarded the scholarship.
CSF does not award high school scholarships, although some partner programs extend scholarships for current recipients after they graduate from eighth grade. CSF focuses on elementary school education because evidence shows that the earlier a child is placed in a productive educational environment, the better the long-term outcome will be. Scholarships typically cover between 75 percent to 25 percent of tuition, depending on each family’s income and household size. If a family earns $100 or less over the limit for a percentage category one year, they are allowed to remain in the higher percentage category. If a family is more than $100 over the income listed in CSF’s guidelines, the program director may determine that the family has extenuating circumstances and allow them to remain in the higher percentage category. The maximum scholarship cap varies from city to city, and the average award is around $1,700. Families must always contribute at least 25 percent of their tuition each year, which is per family and not per child. It is CSF and our partner programs’ goal to extend all scholarships through the eighth grade. However, this depends on the availability of funding and on the family’s continuing eligibility.