"Alabama Scholarships for Service, Not Just Grades"

-Even MORE Common Questions on Application


Q:    If I am a home-schooled graduating senior, may I apply?

A:     Yes.  Home schooled, private school and alternative school students are all eligible to apply.


Q:    If I am already a college student may I apply?

A:     If you are attending a community college, you may apply for a scholarship to transfer after completing a two-year program.  Contact SSF by email for instructions.


Q:    Must I be a U.S. Citizen?

A:     No. DACA students are eligible.


Q:    May a recipient use the scholarship to attend summer school?

A:     Not prior to completing their freshman year.


Q:    What grade point average must an applicant have to apply?

A:     C+. A copy of the student’s transcript must be attached to the application.


Q:    What ACT/SAT score must an applicant have to apply?

A:     There is no required test score, but a student must complete one of the college entry test and a copy of those scores must be attached. The student must meet admission requirements for admittance. Necessary scores vary from institution to institution but 17 is typically the lowest ACT that will be accepted at many traditional four-year schools. It is advisable to retake your ACT several times to increase your scores. Ask your high school counselor or local TRIO program coordinator for waiver forms to cover the fees of these tests.  Use study guides and practice test available online and at your local library.


Q:    Do letters of recommendation have to be attached?

A:     Yes.  The applicant must submit three letters of recommendation. Ask people who know you well to complete the LOR form. Make sure the person knows the name of the scholarship for which you are applying, your chosen careers and personal information. The sincere heartfelt letters make the best impression as they help accurately portray the applicant. The level of professional standing of the writer is of little or no importance.  Letters of Recommendation are crucial to identifying deserving students. A “LOR” Form will be sent to the individuals you nominate.


Q:    Must my application be signed by school personnel?

A:     Yes. The counselor and parent/legal guardian must acknowledge and confirm high school enrollment of the applicant.


Q:    Will I be notified when my application is received?

A:     No. Due to the large number of applications, the Foundation does not attempt to notify all applicants. Some applicants may be notified for additional or follow-up information during the review process. The online scholarship application program will indicate if your application has been successfully submitted.


Q:    May a recipient live off campus? 

A:     No.  All scholarship recipients must live on campus all four years. Special accommodations may be made for students with disabilities or participants in cooperative educations programs.


Q:    Do I have to attend the same college the whole time?

A:     No.  It is preferred that the scholarship recipient attend the same school for four years in order to obtain a degree during that time frame. Requests for transfers may be made under SSF guidelines.


Q:    Can I work and go to school?

A:     Yes, if it does not exceed 15 hours a week or interfere with your grades. Please note recipients are required to perform substantial community service hours as part of their annual reapplication.


Q:    Will I be allowed to do work study?

A:     Absolutely. It is wise to apply for work study jobs at the institution as soon as possible as those positions fill up quickly. Work study jobs are encouraged since they are on campus and the need for a car is often avoided.


Q:    Will I be penalized for any other scholarships that I may have received? 

A:     Definitely not. This allows the Foundation to efficiently utilize its funds for the benefit of more students. The Smith Scholarship is a “last dollar supplemental scholarship.”  SSF remits payment only after all other scholarships and aid are applied to the student’s education costs.


Q:    What does the scholarship pay for?

A:     Payment for tuition, room, board, books, and required fees are calculated after application of all other available aid. Payments of up to $15,000 each year along with dorm packs and opportunities to receive professional attire, winter clothing, and study abroad conditioned on compliance with SSF guidelines and individual scholar needs.


Q:    May a recipient of the scholarship use the funds to attend any university, college, junior college or technical school?

A:     No.  Each situation will be evaluated on a case by case basis depending on the student’s preference, grades, test scores, anticipated major, proximity to family, and other available financial aid.


Q:    What if I am only interested in attending a specific University or Institution?

A:     The selection of an education institution should be based on a number of factors related to financial need and academic readiness.  Family or personal allegiance to a specific university (often due to sports) will not be considered an acceptable factor in evaluating a student’s desired school.  If an applicant is unwilling to consider a variety of educational options and is insistent on attending a specific school, they should probably not apply.


Q:    Are recipients guaranteed or entitled to a specific financial amount of funding?

A:     No. Funding and program participation varies pursuant to SSF Guidelines related to a student’s needs and compliance with SSF Programs.


Q:    What if I do not like rules and have difficulty adhering to instructions?

A:     The SSF Programs both reward and require continued focus on education and volunteer opportunities.  Being a Smith Scholar is a privilege and requires a very high degree of motivation, accountability and devotion to the SSF mission. Carefully evaluate whether this scholarship is appropriate for you before applying.

SSF guidelines answer many of these questions and will control and supersede the information contained herein.