Blue Grass Community Foundation Scholarships

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Questions about Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply for a scholarship?

Blue Grass Community Foundation offers more than 25 scholarships and each has its own eligibility requirements.  The majority of scholarships offered are for graduating high school seniors, however, there are a few scholarships available to current undergraduate students and graduate students.  Most scholarships are offered to students who reside across Central and Eastern Kentucky.  While some scholarships are strictly academic/merit-based, most are based on financial need and will consider both merit and need.  Click here to access the list of scholarships offered at BGCF.   After submitting the Scholarship Eligibility Form through the online scholarship portal, students will automatically be matched with scholarship for which they are eligible.

Do I have to attend a college in Kentucky?

No. For most scholarships, you may attend any academically accredited college or university in the U.S.  However, there are a few scholarships for which attending college in Kentucky is specified in the eligibility criteria.

Can I apply for a scholarship if I don’t know where I’ll be going to school?

Yes.  If undecided about where you will be attending, you are asked to list your top three choices in the Common Application. 

I don’t have the best grades.  Can I still be considered for a scholarship?

Yes. While some scholarships are strictly academic/merit-based, most are based on financial need and emphasize the students’ answers to open-ended questions and financial situation more heavily in the review process. 

Are scholarships only for high school seniors?

No.  While the vast majority of the scholarships are offered to graduating high school seniors, there are some scholarships for current undergraduates and graduate students.

I’m planning to go to a two-year community college.  Can I still apply for a scholarship?

Yes.  Many scholarships offered are for students who plan to attend a two- or four-year college.

I don’t live in Kentucky.  Am I eligible to apply for a scholarship?

In most cases, Blue Grass Community Foundation scholarships are open to Kentucky residents only.  The few exceptions are:  1) Murry Foundation Scholarship for students in Lancaster County, PA; 2) Jennifer Leigh Soper Scholarship for students with Cystic Fibrosis who reside anywhere in the U.S., 3) MacLellan Education Scholarship for children of MacLellan employees in the U.S., and 4) Thomas B. Bright, Jr. Scholarship for children of employees of companies that are members of the Kentucky Propane Gas Association who reside in any state.

2. Questions about the Application Process

How do I apply for a scholarship?

Applicants must apply online by using the Blue Grass Community Foundation’s Scholarship Portal

  • Step 1: Register with the BGCF Scholarship Portal 
  • Step 2: Complete the Blue Grass Community Foundation Eligibility Form
  • Step 3: Get automatically matched with scholarship you qualify for
  • Step 4: Complete all scholarship-specific applications for each of your matched scholarships

When will the scholarship application be available?

The online application opens December 4, 2023.

When is the deadline to apply for a scholarship?

Unless otherwise noted, the application deadline is March 4, 2024 by 11:59 pm (EST).

What documents do I need to complete the application?

In general, most scholarships will require the below documentation:

  • Most recent academic transcript
  • Résumé that includes your extracurriculars, work experience, volunteer activity, and/or community involvement
  • If you have submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will be asked to upload a copy of your FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS)
  • A letter of recommendation from a friend is required only for one scholarship, the Monica Combs Memorial Scholarship

Will I be required to write an essay?

While a few applications require a written response to one or more specific essay prompts, others provide you the opportunity to tell the committee more about yourself by answering short-answer questions.  These opportunities are ways for the review committee to get to know you better and you are encouraged to share your personality and unique perspective.

What happens after I complete the online Blue Grass Community Foundation Common Scholarship Application?

The Eligibility Form is the initial stage of the application process.  After you have completed the online Eligibility Form, you will automatically be directed to a Confirmation page that lists the scholarships for which you are eligible.  As noted on the Confirmation page, there will be a required application for each scholarship you are eligible for.   After you continue through as prompted, you will see the additional application for the individual scholarship(s) that you have qualified for.  In most cases, you will need to submit financial information, upload your transcript, upload your FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS), upload your résumé, and respond to any required questions.  Your scholarship application will not be complete until all of the required information has been submitted.   If you are not eligible for any scholarship, you will be notified on the Confirmation page that you did not qualify for any available scholarships.

After submitting the Eligibility Form, what if I am ineligible for a scholarship when I think that I am?

If you think that there has been an error and you meet the eligibility criteria for a particular scholarship that you are attempting to apply for, please reach out to Kristen Tidwell, Director of Grants + Scholarships, or (859) 721-2347.

3. Questions about the Application Review Process

How is financial need determined?

Blue Grass Community Foundation takes into consideration the applicant’s cost of attendance, Student Aid Index (SAI) from the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS), federal and state grants awarded, scholarships the applicant has been awarded from their college, as well as the applicant’s own description of their financial and/or family circumstance.

What do the reviewers look for in winning scholarship applications?

Reviewers score each application according to a rubric based on the eligibility criteria of the scholarship.  When specifically reviewing the open-ended questions, reviewers are looking for a clear, thoughtful, and honest response that effectively answers the prompt and conveys the applicant’s unique voice, experiences, and perspective.   While the reviewers consider the student’s use of grammar, spelling, and organization, an essay need not be technically perfect to receive a top score.   For need-based scholarships, the committee reviews the student’s financial data, with special consideration of the student’s own description of financial need.       

4. Questions about Notifications and Awards

When will I be notified if I’ve been awarded a scholarship?

Applicants will be notified in May regarding the status of their application.

How much is a scholarship award?

Scholarship award amounts are different for each scholarship.  They range from a one-time award of $1,000 to a renewable award of $10,000 per year for up to four years of undergraduate study.

Are scholarship awards renewable?

Each scholarship is different.  While many scholarships offer an award that is renewable for multiple years, some are offered only as a one-time award. 

What can my scholarship be used for?

In general, scholarship awards can be used toward the payment of tuition, fees, books, and campus-based room and board.

Where will my scholarship payment be sent?

All scholarship payments will be sent directly to the school’s financial aid office and then applied to your account.

What happens if I move or change schools after I’ve been awarded a scholarship?

You must notify the Community Foundation if you transfer schools, withdraw from school, or decide to defer your education.   If you transfer schools, the Community Foundation can transfer your award to your new institution.  This applies only if the school and your plans of study still fit the original criteria.  If you decide to defer your education, contact as soon as possible.  It is sometimes allowable to defer your award for one year.

5. Understanding Scholarship Terms

What is the FAFSA?

To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. 

In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid. Apply online

What is the SAR?

The FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) is a summary that include basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid and lists your answers to the questions on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Once your FAFSA has been processed, you will be able to log into and access your FAFSA Submission Summary.  You will have the ability to View or Print your FSS from the “My FAFSA” page.  

What is the Student Aid Index?

Your FAFSA Submission Summary will include your Student Aid Index (SAI).  Your SAI is a needs-analysis calculation according to a formula established by law.  The SAI is used by colleges, states, and other scholarship providers to determine financial aid packages.  

What is the difference between a one-time scholarship and a renewable scholarship?

Scholarships are either one-time or renewable.  A one-time scholarship is awarded for only one academic year and cannot be renewed.  A renewable scholarship is awarded over multiple years of study, as long as the recipient maintains specific criteria, such as a minimum GPA, etc. 

6. Additional Scholarship Resources

Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) provides many resources for planning for college, including selecting a school and paying for college.   The site also provides answers to frequently asked financial aid questions for students attending college in Kentucky.  Information regarding the KEES scholarship can be found here.

FAFSA website

This is the website used to file the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid.


This is a comprehensive financial aid information website with links to many useful sites.  It provides information about loans, special interest scholarships, and fraud prevention.

College Board’s Scholarship Search

This is a college scholarship search databased.  This organization also sponsors the SAT and AP exams.


This website is the largest and most complete source of private sector scholarships available.  It provides useful information about to apply for these specialized scholarships.


This is another website that provides a comprehensive scholarship search.  There is also an online community for students.

Other Questions?


Kristen Tidwell, Director of Grants + Scholarships

859.721.2347 |