Scholarship Applicant Help Guide

Get the Help you Need DURING the Application PROCESS

Citizen status

I am NOT a U.S. citizen. Can I still qualify for scholarships?

Yes, if you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and intend to become a permanent resident of the United States. Get more details about undocumented student eligibility to apply for The Ford Family Foundation Scholarships.

Still have questions? Here’s additional qualification information:

  • Help and information about the FAFSA/ORSAA
  • Help and information about CADAA (for California students)


How do I know if I’m an Oregon resident?

To qualify as an Oregon resident (for tuition purposes), you must live in Oregon for 12 consecutive months while taking eight credits or fewer per term and while demonstrating you are in the state for a primary purpose other than education (such as working, volunteering, etc.).

How do I know if I’m a California resident?

To meet California college student residency requirements, you must be continuously physically present in California for more than one year (366 days) immediately prior to the residence determination date (PDF), generally the first day of classes, and intend to make California your home permanently. You must demonstrate your intention to stay in California by relinquishing legal ties to your former state and establishing legal ties to California.

Financial information

Typically, a completed financial aid application, FAFSA, ORSAA or CADAA (California), is required to apply for the The Ford Family Foundation scholarship programs.* However, in 2024, this requirement has been waived due to delays in FAFSA processing times. Applicants will be asked for financial aid documentation later in the process when it is available.

*Ford Sons and Daughters Program: You are not required to complete a FAFSA, but you may wish to do so for other financial aid opportunities. Visit the FAFSA site.


FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required to receive any federal financial aid (e.g., the Pell Grant, State Grant, Stafford Loan, etc.) and to qualify for many scholarships. The FAFSA determines the financial aid you are eligible to receive. Colleges and universities use the information to determine eligibility for institutional scholarships, federal grants, work-study and loans. See link for deadlines.

ORSAA: The Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) is an alternative to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for Oregon residents who are undocumented, including students who have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status.  See link for deadlines.

CADAA: The California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is required to determine financial aid for California AB540 eligible students. Your application will be processed by the California Student Aid Commission. See link for deadlines.

How soon should I start the application for financial aid (FAFSA, ORSAA or CADAA)?

We recommend you begin the appropriate application as soon as it is available and submit it soon afterward. Once completed, you will receive information about your available student aid. It is important to also meet the application deadlines for your college or university.

You will be asked to list the schools where you have applied. Be sure to indicate, if applicable, that you would accept any type of aid (e.g., grants, loans, work study).

Undocumented students should contact the financial aid department of their institution(s) to ensure they have provided the appropriate financial information/documents to receive a financial aid offer.

If you are a non-citizen and are not sure whether you can file a FAFSA, there are some good resources available to help you. Go to understanding aid eligibility requirements, non-citizens at

Filing these forms early on will get you a head start as student aid funding may be more limited later in the application season.

Tell us about your high school education

What is an Unweighted Cumulative GPA?

Your unweighted cumulative GPA is your overall grade point average based on all of the courses taken and credits earned and is based on a 4.0 scale. You can find your unweighted cumulative GPA on your transcripts.

My school did not assign letter grades. What should I put for GPA?

If your high school does not assign grades, select the “My school does not assign grades” option under Unweighted Cumulative GPA in the “Tell us about your high school education” section of the application. Also, in addition to your high school transcript (showing all work completed through fall term), upload documentation from your high school regarding how students are evaluated.

Tell us about your college history

Note: This step is not applicable to the Ford Scholars Program application.

Let us know the name of the college or university you are currently attending or have most recently attended, the start month and year and your cumulative GPA. If you are unsure of your cumulative GPA, you may find it on your most recent transcript.

If you are not currently attending college, but have previously attended other colleges within the past 10 years, you will need to let us know the name of the college or university, when you started attending and when you finished attending.


Do I need an official copy of my transcript?

Official transcripts are not a requirement for this scholarship application. An unofficial copy of your transcript(s) is acceptable. Your transcripts will need to be in PDF form to upload to your application.

Quick tips!
  • Confirm that your name and your school’s name are listed on each transcript.
  • Double check that image quality is clear.


Which transcripts are required?

Current High School Senior

High school transcripts (unofficial copy) are required and must show coursework and grades through the end of your junior year.

For gap year students, high school transcripts (unofficial copy) are required and must show coursework and grades through the end of your senior year.

GED Student

Transcript of GED record.

If you have not completed your GED requirements by the time you submit your application, submit your most recent score report and a letter explaining when you plan to complete your requirements.

If you don’t have the required GED transcript:

  • To obtain any GED information, visit the Oregon GED Program Website and choose “Request Records” from the top banner. Follow the record request that best matches your need.
  • Contact the Department of Education in the state where you received your GED, if not in Oregon.

Note: The State of Oregon no longer holds GED information in their offices.

Home-schooled student from Oregon

Note: If you are a home-schooled student from another state, please contact us at

  1. A copy of the Confirmation of Enrollment letter on file at your local Education Service District (ESD). Also called “Letter of Intent to Home-School.” A DMV receipt or record will not suffice.
  2. A copy of the results of a 10th-grade standardized achievement test, required for all home-schooled students who have registered with their ESD.
  3. A transcript from your home-school teacher describing your coursework and letter grades assigned.

Current or past college/university student

Note: If you are a current high school student and are taking college courses while in high school, you are not required to upload your college transcripts.

You are required to submit a transcript (unofficial copy is okay) for each institution (two-year and/or four-year) you have attended within the last 10 years.

What if I attended multiple colleges and have multiple transcripts?

Please upload individual transcripts as PDFs for any colleges attended in the last 10 years.

How do I get a copy of my transcript(s)? 

High School

Contact your high school office to obtain a copy of your transcript. If you are not a recent high school graduate, still contact your high school office. If you are unsuccessful and you attended a public high school, then you may need to contact the school district administration office. If you are still having difficulty tracking down your transcript, please contact our office directly.


If you attended an Oregon college that has closed, try to get the transcript from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). The State of Oregon only maintains transcripts for colleges up to 25 years after the closure.

If the closed college was outside of Oregon, then contact the state agency overseeing the institution in the state the college was located. If you have difficulty doing this, please email for assistance.

Where do I attach my transcript(s)?

You will need to upload your transcript(s) to the Transcripts page of the application.

If your transcript is not already in digital format, scan the transcript. Save as a PDF file.

Quick Tip!

Download a scanning app to your phone (such as Adobe Scan). With this app, you can take a photo of your transcripts and turn the photo into a PDF. Get the app for the iPhone (App Store) or get the app for Android (Google Play).

Let’s talk about your college plans

We know that you may have more than one college (or plan) you are considering. Please complete this page with your best idea of which college you will attend if you receive this scholarship.

Degree types

Note: Students who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree (or higher) are not eligible for any of The Ford Family Foundation scholarships.

Associate degree: This two-year undergraduate degree is typically awarded by a community college. Some students who earn this degree transfer to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s degree: This degree typically requires completing a four-year program. Most bachelor’s degrees are either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

If I plan to attend a community college, am I still eligible for the Ford Scholars Program?

A recipient in the Ford Scholars Program may attend a community college, but only with the intention of transferring to a four-year institution and obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

What is an “eligible college” for a Ford Family scholarship?

For our need-based scholarship programs, an eligible college is defined as a federal financial aid-eligible public or private (nonprofit) college or university. The college or university must be based in your state of residence (Oregon or California).


We know that your lives are very busy! We’d like to know how you spend your time. Examples may include paid or unpaid work, volunteer, school-related, community and family responsibilities. Sharing your activities helps us understand your life outside of the classroom.

We want to hear about how you spend your time. 

Here are some examples of activities to include. Remember to include the approximate hours you spend in these activities.

There are three activity categories, each on a separate step of the application. Each activity category is limited to four entries. 

Examples of activities:


  • Clubs: language, culture, academic, creative, design, theater, high tech, music, choir, band, debate, yearbook, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), student government
  • Sports: school athletic team, intramural team, town or city team, private league, cheerleading, dance team, coaching

Community/Family/Unpaid Work

  • Organizations: Scouts, social and/or religious organizations, Junior ROTC, Civil Air Patrol, animal shelter, food bank, library, local nonprofit
  • Activities: fundraising events, mentoring, tutoring, church outreach, community events/festivals, support at child’s school, youth group
  • Child care for your own children, your siblings or other family members’ children
  • Feeding and caring for animals on family property
  • Examples of unpaid work: internships, unpaid worker in family business, campaign worker, etc.

Work (paid)

  • Examples of paid: recent job(s) and/or longer-term career
Quick Tips!
  • Be brief and select activities that are meaningful where you showed leadership, decision-making, organizational skills or received special recognition.
  • If you’re not sure how many hours per week you are engaged in an activity, especially if that activity time varies from week to week, then figure out an average.
  • If you do not have an activity in each of the categories, certify that you have no activities for that category and a brief explanation to share why. This helps us understand how you spend your time.

Personal statements

Use the personal statements to help tell your story and what is unique about you.

Here are the questions you will be asked on the application:

Personal statement #1

What have you done for your family or community that you care about the most and why?

Personal statement #2

Describe a skill, ability or knowledge you have developed that you are proud of. How did you develop it and why is it important to you?

Personal statement #3

(Answer one of the following two questions)

Question 1) What are you known for among people who know you well? What would you like to be known for and how will college help you achieve that?


Question 2) Think of the place(s) you grew up or consider home. What lessons have you learned living there and how have they shaped who you are today?

Quick tips!
  • Be concise. Responses are limited to 150 words each essay.
  • Proofread. Use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. Try copying and pasting in a text document so that you can spellcheck first.
  • Use plain text only. No formatting such as different fonts, bold, italic, etc.
  • Be authentic. Read about the attributes of a Scholar here.

My family/household

This step of the application helps us understand who makes up your household and your living situation. Don’t forget to include yourself in your household!

Deadline to submit completed applications: March 1

Questions? Email us at