FAQs about Seattle Foundation Scholarships

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is a grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded based on academic or other achievement.

Why did Seattle Foundation reduce its scholarship program?

Seattle Foundation is evolving its scholarship program to increase operational efficiency and mission alignment. Our decision to reduce the scholarship program came after thorough and difficult assessment. There are several factors that went into this decision:

  • Staffing and implementation: Seattle Foundation strives to provide excellent service to our partners, donors, and community members. Unfortunately, the scholarships program has been difficult to staff and execute; this has led to decreased donor satisfaction and an inconsistent experience for scholarship recipients.
  • Budget: We seek to be a responsible steward of donor dollars. However, most scholarship funds do not cover the cost of administration. Furthermore, the scholarship funds administered by Seattle Foundation are not generating enough revenue for us to sustain the program.
  • Mission alignment: We aim to align funds with Seattle Foundation’s Blueprint for Impact. This guiding framework is our “North Star” for advancing racial equity, shared prosperity, and belonging in our region.

What scholarships does Seattle Foundation now offer?

There are seven scholarship funds currently hosted by Seattle Foundation. Read more about these current scholarship opportunities.

Current opportunities

I am a donor who would like to set up a scholarship fund with Seattle Foundation. Is that possible?

Yes. It is possible to establish new scholarship funds, but all future scholarships must align with our mission and support the Blueprint for Impact framework. New scholarships must also meet specific operational requirements (e.g. minimum size of awards, web-based application, etc). Please contact the Philanthropic Services team at [email protected] or 206.515.2111 for more information.

How can I find a scholarship that is no longer available through Seattle Foundation?

The following scholarships are in the process of being launched with Scholarship America. We will link to each application here when the application launches. Please check back on this page for updates.

  • Bob and Maggie Bergman Scholarship
  • Dominic and Jessie Vitulli Scholarship
  • Patricia Fisher Scholarship
  • Reita Cruze Scholarship Program
  • Teresa Earenfight Liberation History Scholarship
  • Yuri and Tatsui Nakata Scholarship

If you are looking for another scholarship that is not listed above or on this page, please contact: [email protected]

What is Scholarship America?

Scholarship America works directly with students, parents, colleges, businesses and communities to help students fulfill their college dreams. Seattle Foundation partners with Scholarship America to host scholarship applications, manage the selection process and administer awards.

When can I apply for scholarships?

Most of our scholarships launch in late November and close by March 1 the following year. The earlier you submit your application, the better. Please note that each scholarship has a specific deadline and eligibility requirements. We encourage you to carefully read the requirements of each scholarship.

How can I apply for a scholarship?

Most of our scholarships can be applied online through SurveyMonkey Apply or Scholarship America. Please check our scholarship pages for links to the online applications.

When will I know if I’ve received a scholarship?

Review committees typically take about 6-8 weeks after a scholarship deadline to announce scholarship winners. You will be notified via email about award decisions.

If I cannot find any scholarships that I’m eligible for, where else can I look?

If you cannot find a scholarship offered at Seattle Foundation, here are other resources we recommend:

  • TheWashBoard (Washington-based students only): Create a profile, and the site will match you with potential scholarship opportunities. It is legitimate and not a scam. Also, check back often for new matches.
  • Dollars for Scholars: This is a local chapter of Scholarship America. Seattle has several chapters. If you are not from Seattle, we recommend trying an online search for “dollars for scholars” + the region you are interested in.

Finally, remember to talk to your high school and prospective college, they may be able to help you find some funding. More places to look include the following:

  • Businesses, big and small
  • Civic and community organizations
  • Employers
  • Ethnic and cultural organizations
  • High school counseling offices
  • Local governments
  • Military associations
  • Political parties and politicians
  • Professional or trade organizations
  • Religious organizations

I was notified I won a scholarship. What are the next steps?

Congratulations! Seattle Foundation will send you award paperwork to complete from our platform, DocuSign, via email. Please check your spam/junk folder if you have not received it. The deadline to accept a scholarship award is July 15. Notice for award deferral is September 1.

I am being asked to provide an “unofficial transcript.” Which transcript am I required to provide?

If you are a graduating high school senior, the transcript in question is the final copy of your complete high school transcript. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student, the transcript in question is the most recently completed academic semester or quarter in your current course of studies.

What information should I include in my thank you or academic progress letter?

Students who receive a scholarship through the Seattle Foundation are required to provide a thank you letter for the donor. In past examples, students have shared information about themselves (interests, talents, hobbies etc.,) along with what they are most looking forward to in the coming academic year. For awards that are renewable, a thank you letter is required each year in the form of an academic progress letter. This letter is structured as an ongoing dialogue between the student and the scholarship committee, sharing any personal or academic successes that the student wishes to highlight and/or challenges that they have overcome during the school year. The length for all letters is typically between 1 to 2 pages.

What is a deferral?

A deferral is a request to postpone claiming scholarship funds. Deferral paperwork must be completed by September 1. Deferral is on a case-by-case basis and will need to be approved by the scholarship committee. The maximum time allotted to defer is one school year.

What is expected family income?

Expected family income (EFC) is an index number used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal aid eligibility and financial aid award. Payment of the scholarship award for mandatory fees up to and not exceeding your EFC such as tuition and housing/dining costs will be made directly to your college or university by Seattle Foundation and deposited to your student account. The scholarship does not pay for non-mandatory fees such as travel expenses, study abroad, school games, etc.

Can my scholarship funds be sent directly to me?

Seattle Foundation cannot send checks directly to scholarship recipients. All scholarship funds must be sent to the student’s institution where financial aid can release funds into student accounts. Here are other options:

  • Deferral of the award for a term or year (if a student has other awards that year, this allows them to use their scholarship in the future).
  • Breaking the award into 2 smaller distributions during the year rather than paying as a lump sum.


If you have additional questions about scholarships, please email [email protected]