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How to Apply


What you need, when you need it

Interested in applying for a Ford Family scholarship? The following information and resources will be helpful as you start the application process. We are here to lend a hand, and we welcome your questions.

Steps to apply

Step 1

Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or equivalent.*

Step 2

Find your Ford Family scholarship program and apply starting December 1.


Complete your application by March 1.

When the application period is open, you may start an application, save it and access it anytime.

*Equivalent for undocumented students includes the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA).

Application checklist

Here are some materials you can prepare before starting a Ford Family scholarship application:

  • Financial information – a completed financial aid application (FAFSA, ORSAA or CADAA) is required to apply for our scholarships
  • Most current transcripts – unofficial are accepted
    • High school students – provide the most recent transcript with coursework at least through junior year
    • Transfer students, adults and/or parents – provide most recent transcript through at least December if currently enrolled; provide all transcripts for colleges attended in the last 10 years
  • College plans – let us know which college you will attend if awarded a Ford Family scholarship
  • Activities – focus on school activities, volunteer/family engagement, and/or paid work over the past four years
  • Personal statements – provide responses to the first two questions and choose one of the remaining questions for three total responses:
    • What have you done for your family or community that you care about the most and why? Provide specific examples. (150 words)
    • 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? (150 words)
    • 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? (150 words)
    • 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? (150 words)
  • Family/household information – help us understand your living situation
Apply for Ford Scholar Help Guide

Application help guide

Use this guide to find the help you need while working on the Ford Family scholarship application.

View the applicant help guide

Apply Scholarship Undocumented Student

Information for undocumented students

Undocumented students in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California who meet certain qualifications are eligible to apply for our scholarships.

View information for undocumented students

Application tips

  • Let your experience and potential shine in your application. Like a resume, this is an opportunity to share your accomplishments and describe how you’re making a difference in the world.
  • Proofread your materials carefully. Complete all parts of the application and review your application before submitting, checking for typos and avoiding abbreviations or slang.
  • Celebrate what makes you unique. Use the Activities and Personal Statements to showcase who you are and what you care about.
  • Double check that you’ve submitted the correct transcript(s). If your transcripts are incorrect, your application will be invalid.
  • Submit your FAFSA (or equivalent) as soon as possible after it becomes available and before March 1.
  • Apply early. This allows us to help you — and relieves your stress — if there are problems with your application.

Advisor resources

Advisors, teachers and mentors — we’ve gathered a selection of materials and resources that can be helpful when advising students on pursuing a
Ford Family scholarship.

Please email us to request printed materials.

Scholarship FAQs


When does the application open?

Applications open annually on December 1 and close on March 1.

Can I apply to more than one program?

We only accept and review one application per student. Use our Scholarship guide to determine the right program for you and contact us with any questions.

When is the scholarship application deadline?

Submit your application by March 1 at 5:00 pm PST. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. If the scholarship application deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be automatically extended to 5:00 pm PST of the following business day.

What happens if an application is incomplete by the deadline?
Applications that have missing parts will not be considered.
Will I need to upload or attach any documents to my application?

Yes, you will be required to upload a PDF of your academic transcripts (high school or college) and the FAFSA Submission Summary, which is a summary of the data provided on the FAFSA form from your FAFSA (or equivalent).

Are SAT/ACT scores required?

No, SAT/ACT scores are not required. We do not consider them in the selection process.

Are advanced courses (such as AP or college-credit courses) considered in the application process?

Yes, however students without access to these types of courses are not penalized. We recognize that not all students have access to these types of courses based on where they live and go to school. Student transcripts are used to identify any AP, college courses and/or other accelerated learning credits.

Will I need a reference or letter of recommendation to apply for a Ford Family scholarship?
No, you will not need a reference or letter of recommendation for our scholarship application.
Is an interview required to receive this scholarship?
Yes. A trained team of interviewers meet with every finalist. If you are selected as a finalist, your interview will be held using Zoom.
Does The Ford Family Foundation accept scholarship applications from students who live in urban areas?

Yes, The Ford Family Foundation accepts applications from students throughout the state of Oregon and Siskiyou County, California, including urban areas, although we do prioritize rural students.

My school is small and doesn’t have as many resources and opportunities. Should I still apply?
Absolutely. The Foundation’s selection committees take a holistic approach to reviewing applications. They are trained to recognize that students from small schools and rural areas may not have the same opportunities as students from larger communities in metropolitan areas. They consider the applicant’s location, what may be available in their school and community, and how they create opportunities for themselves.
I am an undocumented student. Can I apply for a Ford Family scholarship?

Yes, we welcome applications from undocumented students residing in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California who meet certain qualifications.

I'm an international student. Can I apply for a Ford Family scholarship?

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

I have been convicted of a felony. Am I eligible to apply for a Ford Family scholarship?
Yes, you are eligible to apply. Scholarships are awarded to individuals with a felony conviction if they have completed parole, probation, or any type of post-prison supervision and have paid any required restitution and/or court fees by Aug. 1 of the application year. All Ford Family scholarship applicants are subject to a criminal background check. Selection committees may consider the number, type and time elapsed since the conviction(s).
Do I need to apply for financial aid to receive a scholarship?

Yes, you need to apply for federal financial aid (or equivalent for undocumented students) to qualify for the Ford Scholars, Ford Transfer Scholars and Ford Opportunity Scholars Programs. You are not required to complete a financial aid application to apply for the Ford Sons and Daughters Program, but we encourage you to do so for other financial aid opportunities.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required to receive any federal financial aid (such as the Pell Grant, State Grant, Stafford Loan, etc.) and to qualify for many scholarships.

Undocumented students may complete an alternative financial aid application:

Do I need to be Pell-eligible to qualify for a Ford Family scholarship?

No. We assess need based on your FAFSA (or equivalent), not Pell eligibility. Please review the complete scholarship program criteria to find your scholarship.

I am not planning on enrolling in the fall term/semester. Can I defer the scholarship until January of next year?
No, you must enroll in the fall of the year you are awarded the scholarship. If you have any questions about this requirement and your academic plans, please reach out using the contact form below.
Do I have to attend college full time to receive the scholarship?
Yes, you must enroll full time with a minimum of 12 credit hours per term/semester. If you have any questions about this requirement and your academic plans, please reach out using the contact form below.
What is an "eligible college" for a Ford Family scholarship?
For the Ford Scholars, Ford Transfer Scholars and Ford Opportunity Scholarship Programs, an eligible college is defined as a federally 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).
If I plan to attend a community college, am I still eligible for the Ford Scholars Program?
A recipient of the Ford Scholars scholarship may attend a community college with the intention of transferring to a university to earn a bachelor’s degree. Be sure to clearly explain your plan for earning a four-year degree in your application materials.
What if I don’t know where I want to go to college yet?
We understand that your college choice may change. Contact us as soon as you make your decision so we can confirm that you are still eligible for our scholarship programs. Your college choice must align with our scholarship eligibility criteria.
Should I apply for the Ford Scholars Program or the Ford Transfer Scholars Program?
If you are still enrolled in high school and are taking dual credit courses at a community college, you should apply to the Ford Scholars Program.

If you are currently attending a community college and are prepared to transfer to a four-year university in the fall, you should apply for the Ford Transfer Scholars Program.  

Can I attend college online with a scholarship from The Ford Family Foundation?

The Foundation believes in the value of residential and campus-based programs, with some exceptions for our Ford Opportunity Program. If you have questions about requirements for the scholarship program you are applying for, please contact us for more information at fordscholarships@tfff.org.

Connect with us

Want to receive the latest scholarship news and information? Do you have questions about our scholarship programs? We're here for you. Please feel free to get in touch through the form below and our team will get back to you.

Scholarships contact form

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