Scholarship Overview

The Cleveland Foundation offers a variety of scholarships to eligible applicants with varied and diverse criteria. While most are for graduating high school seniors attending institutions of higher education, others enable individuals to pursue vocational training and professional 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 have a minimum grade-point-average of 2.0 (unless an individual scholarship states another specific GPA requirement)

While not a Universal requirement, many of our scholarships require residence within Cuyahoga, Lake, or Geauga Counties. Applicants must not be a relative of a member of the Cleveland Foundation staff or the foundation’s Board of Directors.


Common Applications: 
March 15, 2016
Corporate/Group Applications: 
April 15, 2016
Renewal Requirements: 
April 15, 2016

Some Corporate Scholarships list additional deadlines for single-class and vocational program opportunities. Refer to our Scholarship Listings page for more information. 

How To Apply 

Application Methods 

Refer to our Scholarship Listings page to view all available scholarships and their required application method. 

  • Common Application – using our Scholarship Gateway, apply with one application and be considered for multiple scholarships.
  • Corporate/Group Application – using our Scholarship Gateway, apply for a new scholarship through your affiliated corporation or special group. (For renewals, see below)
  • External Application – contact the affiliated school or organization. 

Renewal – Some Scholarships are renewable provided the student has met the requirements for continued support (See scholarship details). To renew a current scholarship for the next academic year, complete and return the Renewal/Verification form by April 15, 2016.

Basic Application Requirements 

Common and new Corporate/Group Applications require the following basic requirements to be considered “complete” and eligible for consideration. Some scholarships have additional requirements, and/or request topic specific essays. Refer to the Scholarship Listings to identify your scholarships of interest and learn of any special/additional requirements needed to improve your chance of award.  

  • Completed Online Application form
  • Current Transcript from your school
  • Essay/Personal Statement 
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) showing your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Letter of Acceptance from the School you plan to attend – if available 

After reading the “Requirement Details and Helpful Tips” below, click on the Scholarship Gateway box at the bottom to begin your application.

Requirement Details and Helpful Tips 

1. Complete an online application

Our common application will match you to funds you are eligible for, based on the information you submit. Please review the Scholarship Listings page for detailed information on the scholarships that are available and any specific criteria or documents that may be required. Be sure to look for any corporate or special group scholarships for which you might be eligible and submit a Corporate/Group application to be considered. Candidates applying for a Corporate/Group Scholarship may also submit a Common Application to increase their award opportunities.

Once you complete the online application, follow the instructions to upload your requirements. All requirements must be uploaded in a .pdf format.

2. Request letters of recommendation

Request two letters of recommendation from teachers, supervisors, colleagues, or community members. Letters from parents, friends, and relatives will not be accepted. Some scholarships may require a letter from a specific person (i.e. music teacher, minister, etc.). You can upload your Letters of Recommendation along with your other requirements (online instructions will be provided upon submitting your completed application form). Your references may also send their Letters of Recommendation directly to us at  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 a transcript from your high school. If you are in your second year of college or beyond, please submit a complete transcript of your grades from that college/school. Transcripts may be unofficial when accompanied by your school student ID number and permission to verify your grades with your school. 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, accomplishments, or challenges you have overcome
  • Your field of interest, career goals, and why you are pursuing a degree in that field 
  • How a scholarship will help you meet your goals
  • Why continuing your education is important to you
  • How you have served or plan to serve your community

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

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 generally available through your high school guidance or college financial aid office.

6. Getting started on the Scholarship Gateway

Proceed to the Scholarship Gateway and follow the specific instructions to Register (first-time users) or Login (returning users). Returning Users should login with the email address they used when they first registered and follow the instructions if needed, to recover your password. For Login problems, email us at Provide your full name, date of birth, and the problem you are having. Enter “Login Help” in the subject line and we will respond to you as quickly as possible. 

Scholarship Gateway


* 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.)