Altria College Opportunity Fund Application and Program Information

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1 2014 Altria College Opportunity Fund Application and Program Information

2 What is the Altria College Opportunity Fund? The Altria College Opportunity Fund is a competitive scholarship program designed to help qualified Richmond Public School graduates afford college degrees and prepare for the 21st-century workforce. In order to receive scholarships from the program, students must show a combination of: financial need academic promise readiness for college leadership in their schools and/or communities Scholarships are available to a limited number of graduating seniors accepted into 4-year bachelor s programs, 2-year associate s degree programs, or 2-year vocational/technical certificate programs. Students interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, Education or Business will receive special consideration. Recipients of Altria College Opportunity Fund Scholarships will be eligible to renew for up to four years in a bachelor s degree program, or up to two years in a technical/vocational or associate s degree program. Renewal is contingent upon maintaining a 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 scale in a full-time course of study. Three (3) scholarship alternates will be selected and notified of their alternate status. Potential recipients and alternates will be notified of their selection. Recipients and alternates will be required to provide their college financial aid award letter. Alternates that are not chosen for a scholarship will receive a one-time non-renewable $1,000 award. Who Can Apply? To be eligible, a student must: Be currently attending and be a candidate to graduate from one of the high schools in the Richmond public schools system in Richmond, Virginia. Have attended Richmond Public Schools for at least their junior and senior years. Plan to enroll in full time undergraduate study at an accredited two year or four year college, university or vocational-technical school in the United States or Puerto Rico for the entire academic year. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. Have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.8 or higher based on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent). Be a legal resident in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Students will receive additional consideration if they: Have participated in academic enrichment and/or positive youth development programs in their communities, especially through Altria s partner organizations (see list on page 6); and/or Demonstrate promise in one or more fields related to STEM, and have expressed interest in a career in a STEM field, Business or Education Where Can the Scholarships be Used? Scholarships can be used for approved programs at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school in the United States and Puerto Rico. 1 What Do Scholarship Awards Cover? The scholarship amounts vary depending on the type of postsecondary education the student is pursuing: Up to $10,000 per year for 4-year bachelor s degree programs Up to $5,000 per year for 2-year technical/vocational or associate degree programs Up to Three (3) one-time non-renewable $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to scholarship alternates. Scholarship alternates that are not chosen for final Altria College Opportunity Fund scholarship awards will receive the one-time $1,000 award. Altria College Opportunity Fund scholarships will provide last-dollar support, including replacement of student self-help (loans and work-study). Scholarship awards can apply to tuition and fees, room and board, books and required study materials, including one personal computer per student if required. Scholarship amounts will vary based on college costs and other scholarship awards a student may receive.

3 How Many Scholarships will be Awarded? Altria will award up to 15 scholarships to eligible students in the Class of Altria will award up to 3 alternate scholarships to eligible students in the Class of How and When do Students Apply? Each applicant must register and complete an online application using the link below. Applicants must also electronically upload or mail the following documents to Scholarship Management Services by January 28, 2014: 1. A current, complete official transcript of grades. 2. Copy of your Student Aid Report from your FAFSA filing. The scholarship application must be submitted online no later than January 28, Students who do not comply with these instructions or who miss deadlines will be ineligible for consideration. While completing the online application, the student must submit the name and address of two individuals who will provide recommendations. After the application period has closed, Scholarship Management Services will these individuals and direct them to a website where the recommendation form may be downloaded, completed and then returned by to Scholarship Management Services. The recommenders must meet the following criteria: 1. A teacher, coach, counselor or school administrator 2. A leader at a youth development program, if the student has participated in one; If the student has not participated in a youth development program, the student can select another adult professional. To begin, access the online application here: https://www.scholarsapply.org/acof Altria College Opportunity Fund Scholarship Management Services One Scholarship Way St. Peter, MN Any questions about the Altria College Opportunity Fund should be directed to Scholarship Management Services. Phone: or toll-free Ask for the Altria College Opportunity Fund Scholarship Program. Who Selects the Winners? Selection of recipients is made by Scholarship Management Services. In no instance does any officer or employee of Altria and its companies play a part in the selection. Select fields in the Altria College Opportunity Fund application are subject to use by the program sponsor and its partners, Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc. (GRASP) and Partnership for the Future (PFF), for media and/or scholarship recognition purposes, contact and ongoing support for all successful scholarship candidates through their scholarship funding period. All information is confidential and available for reference by Scholarship Management Services and as appropriate by the program sponsor. 2

4 How are Winners Chosen? Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic success and promise, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, a brief essay (statement of career and educational goals and objectives), unusual personal or family circumstances, and two outside appraisals. Applicants must demonstrate financial need to be considered. Recipients must demonstrate need as evidenced by information on their Student Aid Report after FAFSA filing. Additional consideration will be given to applicants that have participated in local enrichment programs, and demonstrate and interest in fields related to STEM, Education or Business. Applicants must accept the decisions of Scholarship Management Services as final. No exceptions will be made and no appeals will be permitted. The Altria College Opportunity Fund selects scholarship recipients without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship status, protected veteran status or status in any group protected by state or local law. Applicants must be legal residents in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be eligible. When will Winners be Announced? All scholarship finalists will be notified in writing no later than April 1, 2014 by Scholarship Management Services. As the Altria scholarship is a last-dollar award, finalists are required to notify Scholarship Management Services of acceptance of any other scholarships, including full scholarships, prizes or awards. Upon evaluation of other scholarships affecting financial need, Scholarship Management Services will make a final eligibility determination and notify recipients of the Altria College Opportunity Fund scholarships of the award amounts no later than June 1, Any recipient of an Altria College Opportunity Fund scholarship must enroll for the fall semester of the year the award is received. Altria scholarship finalists who accept a full scholarship from another source become ineligible for the Altria College Opportunity Fund award. How and When is the Scholarship Paid? Fall semester scholarship checks will be mailed by Scholarship Management Services on behalf of the Altria College Opportunity Fund no later than August 15, 2014 to the educational institutions in which the winners are enrolled, after the institutions verify enrollment. Scholarship Management Services will mail spring semester scholarship checks no later than December 30, All checks are made payable to the institution in name of the student. At no time is the cash payment released directly to the student. The scholarships will be credited to the student s account and will be applied toward the educational expenses paid to the institution. It should be noted, however, that the yearly scholarship award may not cover the full cost of the term. Should a student anticipate an early graduation or wish to accelerate his or her program by summer school attendance, arrangements can be made for scholarship awards to be granted for full-time summer study, provided that the student meets renewal requirements. Such plans should be outlined in writing and submitted to Scholarship Management Services for review at least six weeks prior to the early graduation date or start of the summer program. Scholarships are not retroactive and will not be credited to semesters already completed. If a student withdraws from school for any reason during the school year, the student must notify Scholarship Management Services. How and When are Scholarships Renewed? Scholarships are renewed annually provided the following conditions are met: The student continues as a full-time undergraduate candidate in good academic standing, according to the standards set by the institution he or she attends. The student submits a complete Renewal Report Form and a complete official transcript of his or her grades to Scholarship Management Services no later than February 1,

5 How Do Other Scholarships, Prizes and Awards Affect the Altria College Opportunity Fund Scholarship? An Altria College Opportunity Fund finalist may accept other scholarships, prizes and awards. Because the Altria scholarship provides last-dollar support, awarding of the scholarship may depend on other scholarships, prizes and awards the applicant accepts. Students initially selected by the review panel are named as finalists because they must report all other scholarship, prize and award amounts that determine how last-dollar awards are calculated. Failure to report acceptance of other scholarships, prizes or awards may disqualify the student from receiving the Altria College Opportunity Fund scholarship. Altria scholarship finalists who accept a full scholarship from another source become ineligible for the Altria College Opportunity Fund award. An Altria College Opportunity Fund recipient cannot receive additional scholarships from Altria and its companies. Do I Need to Submit a Separate Application to Attend Schools and Colleges? Yes, an applicant must submit a separate application for admission directly to the institution he or she wishes to attend. Each applicant is responsible for applying for admission on time and fulfilling all admission requirements. Scholarships are effective only after the applicant has been admitted to and enrolled in a qualified educational institution. What are the Conditions for Transfer? Scholarship Management Services will consider a transfer for a college student if the transfer is to occur at the beginning of an academic year. The student must notify Scholarship Management Services of his or her intent to transfer, provide evidence of good academic standing at the college attended and submit evidence of admission to and enrollment in the college to be entered. Mid-year transfers are permitted provided that Scholarship Management Services is notified in writing at least six weeks before the transfer occurs. It is the student s responsibility to request that the school return the unused portion of the scholarship funds to Scholarship Management Services. No check will be issued to the new institution until the unused portion of the scholarship is received by Scholarship Management Services. Students planning to transfer from a community college to a four-year institution may reapply through Scholarship Management Services for additional support from the Altria College Opportunity Fund to pursue a bachelor s degree, up to the program s 4-year maximum. There is no guarantee that the applicant will receive additional scholarship support; the program will consider the request based on the student s academic performance in the community college program in which he or she was enrolled. What if Studies are Interrupted? If a student s studies are interrupted by illness, accident or other extenuating circumstances, he or she may request that the scholarship be temporarily suspended during that time. Requests for scholarships to be suspended must be submitted promptly to Scholarship Management Services. Each will be reviewed and acted upon individually. Can a Scholarship be Terminated? Academic or disciplinary action resulting in suspension or dismissal from school automatically terminates the scholarship. Although honors level grades are not required, Altria College Opportunity Fund scholars are expected to do quality work in college. A record of D s and F s may result in suspension or termination of the scholarship. A Renewal Report Form and a transcript are required annually. Failure to provide this information when it is required may result in termination of the scholarship. 4

6 Can the Scholarship be Used to Study Abroad? Some students choose to study abroad, usually during the junior year. All study abroad opportunities must be associated with a full-time bachelor s program, sponsored by an accredited university in the United States or Puerto Rico and approved at least one month in advance by Scholarship Management Services. A stipend check cannot be disbursed to an institution located in a foreign country. If a study abroad program is approved, a check will be sent to the sponsoring home institution. Who Administers the Scholarship Program? This scholarship program is administered by Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America. Scholarship Management Services is the nation s largest designer and manager of scholarship and tuition reimbursement programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals. For More Information Regarding the Scholarship Program The important points of the Altria College Opportunity Fund Scholarship Program have been outlined in this brochure. The decision of the Scholarship Committee will govern in settling any questions that may arise. All questions and special information should be directed to Scholarship Management Services by at Phone: or toll-free Ask for the Altria College Opportunity Fund Scholarship Program. 5

7 Central Virginia Partners of the Altria College Opportunity Fund Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Richmond & Tri Cities Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond Communities in Schools of Richmond Performance Learning Centers Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) Partnership for the Future Science Museum of Virginia University of Richmond Math Science Investigators Program Virginia 4-H Virginia Advanced Study Strategies Advanced-Placement Preparation 6

8 Important Dates December 12, 2013 Altria College Opportunity Fund scholarship application accessible online. Applicants must have taken the SAT or ACT by January of their senior year in high school. January 28, 2014 Application deadline for students: must be submitted online by Midnight Eastern Standard Time February 14, 2014 Applications review by Scholarship Management Services selection committee begins Deadline for recommenders and Guidance Counselors to complete and submit applications April 1, 2014 Altria College Opportunity Fund award finalists and alternates are notified by Scholarship Management Services April 2014 Contact Great Aspirations Scholarship Program Counselor (GRASP) at your high school for assistance with financial aid preparation May 2014 Altria College Opportunity Fund Finalists must submit scholarship reply forms to Scholarship Management Services accepting award Altria College Opportunity Fund winners confirmed June 2014 Scholarship Management Services notifies scholarship alternates of their final award status Altria College Opportunity Fund recognition event for scholarship recipients and their parent(s) or guardian(s) June 16 20, 2014 Participation in Partnership For The Future s (PFF) On To College program August 2014 Scholarship Management Services sends first stipend check to the recipients institutions on behalf of the Altria College Opportunity Fund December 2014 Scholarship Management Services sends second stipend check to the recipients institutions on behalf of the Altria College Opportunity Fund For more information about Altria, visit altria.com.

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