Interested in Applying for a Scholarship?

The Cleveland Foundation offers a variety of scholarships to eligible applicants. These scholarships have varied and diverse criteria. While most are for graduating seniors attending institutions of higher education, others enable individuals to pursue professional and personal development opportunities.

Please note the following universal eligibility criteria for scholarships offered through the Cleveland Foundation:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen*
  • Must be attending an accredited educational institution
  • Must reside in Cuyahoga, Lake, or Geauga counties (unless otherwise noted)
  • Must have a minimum grade-point-average of 2.0 (unless an individual scholarship states another specific GPA requirement)

Getting Started

All new and renewal applicants will need to submit through our Scholarship Gateway. 

  • Register for access to our online application site by entering your name, e-mail, and creating a Login ID.
  • An e-mail will be sent to you within 5 minutes. Please check YOUR SPAM FOLDERS. Click on the link in the e-mail to complete the registration process.
  • Login to the Scholarship Gateway site to complete the application and upload your documents.

Before entering the Scholarship Gateway site, please read below for details on applying.

Some Simple Steps to Follow

1. Complete the online application

Our common application will match you to funds you are eligible for, based on the information you submit. Please review the Scholarships Search page for detailed information on the scholarships that are available and any specific criteria or documents that may be required. We also have specialized applications based on specific affiliations with a group/organization.

2. Request letters of recommendations

Request two letters of recommendation from teachers, supervisors, colleagues, or community members. Letters from parents, friends, and relatives will not be accepted. In some instances, a letter may be requested from a specific person (i.e., a music teacher, a minister, etc.). Allow two weeks for this step.

3. Request and submit a transcript

If you will be attending college or a vocational training program for the first time (or have been in college for less than a year), please request and submit one transcript from your high school. If you will be returning to college or a vocational training school and have previously submitted a transcript, please submit your latest grade report.Your grade reports may be unofficial when accompanied by your school student ID number and permission to verify your grade reports. Allow two weeks if requesting official transcripts.

4. Write a personal statement

Please include a personal statement (maximum two double-spaced pages, 12-point font size) that will help committee members get to know you better and learn more about your personal history, goals, and interests. In developing this statement, please be sure to address the following:

  • Your greatest strengths and opportunities and any challenges you have overcome
  • Your future career goals and why you are pursuing a degree in the field of your choice (i.e. ministry, social work, music, etc.)
  • How a scholarship will help you meet your goals
  • Why continuing your education is important to you

However, please be sure to thoroughly review the full description of the scholarship(s) for which you are applying to learn whether a special topic should be addressed in your personal statement.

RENEWAL APPLICANTS: Regardless of the fund you are applying for, your essay should describe your previous awarded school-year experience and whether your original area of study or career path has changed.

5. File the FAFSA form

File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You will need to upload the Student Aid Report (SAR) showing your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It is available to you after you complete the FAFSA. Do not send us your FAFSA. Help filing a FAFSA form is also generally available at your high school guidance office or your college financial aid office.


* The U.S. Department of Education defines an eligible noncitizen as a U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island), U.S. permanent resident (who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C [Permanent Resident Card]), or an individual who has an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations: “Refugee”; “Asylum Granted”; “Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending)”; “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980); Victims of human trafficking, T-visa (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.) holder; or “Parolee” (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.)