Imagine your child walking onstage to receive a Harrison County Community Foundation (HCCF) scholarship. You would likely feel pride and be thankful that the work your child did during high school and the application process paid off.
Many graduating high school students begin the HCCF scholarship process in November when the Universal Scholarship Application becomes available online. Students and their parents or guardians may not know what happens from application submission until our scholarships are awarded.
On Jan. 21, when the Universal Scholarship Application deadline has passed, the automated scoring process begins. Community Force, the scholarship platform HCCF uses, assigns each applicant a random ID number. Throughout the entire process, names, addresses or other identifying information is concealed, making HCCF’s scholarship selection a blind process.
Community Force’s program scores the applications on criteria identified by HCCF, such as GPA, SAT/ACT score, attendance, work experience, dual credits and diploma type. Once these scores are calculated, a committee comprised of former HCCF board members scores the applications on what students have entered in the Honors/Awards, Extracurricular, and Community Service categories. The scores combine to generate a Total Application Score.
In March and April, a Universal Selection committee meets. This committee typically consists of two representatives from each of the four county high schools, along with a former HCCF board member and two current HCCF board members. The committee meets for two days to review the qualified candidates for each of the endowed scholarships.
HCCF’s endowed scholarships are all unique. Many have unique qualifying criteria – such as college major, GPA, and number of work hours – which were determined when the scholarship was established.
Community Force reports which students are eligible for specific endowed scholarships based on the information provided in their applications, which HCCF staff verifies for accuracy. Based on the qualifying criteria and eligible applicants, the Universal Selection committee selects a recipient and alternate for each of the endowment scholarships.
Once all selections are complete, awards packets are created. If your student receives a scholarship from HCCF, they will be presented with an official award packet. Award packets contain a letter explaining how your child can access the award, a certificate, a scholarship agreement and, when appropriate, an information sheet about the donor.
HCCF scholarship recipients are required to return their scholarship agreements to our office. The agreements in the packet must be signed by the student and their parent and/or legal guardian and returned by June 30.
In July, once agreements have been turned in, students can start requesting to have their funds sent to the college or university they are enrolled in by submitting itemized bills to our office. HCCF will typically mail funds to the college or universities within 10 business days of receiving the itemized bills.
With the Jan. 20 Universal Scholarship Application deadline approaching, we encourage graduating high school students to apply. The application can be accessed through our website, hccfindiana.org. Good luck!