We believe a thriving community depends on supporting the educational aspirations of students to help ensure they have every opportunity to become future leaders in a talented and skilled workforce.

Scholarships and awards at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona are as unique and diverse as the donors who establish them. These programs are made possible by the generosity of donors who want to support students in need of financial assistance to achieve their dreams.

To learn more about the selection process for any of the scholarships listed, please contact Natalia Gabrielsen, Program Manager, at ngabrielsen@cfsaz.org or call 520-289-8003.

Open Scholarship Applications
Contributing to a Scholarship Fund

The following scholarships welcome contributions from community members:


I want to help young people pursuing their education. Can I donate directly to the Community Foundation's General Scholarship Fund?

Yes! Every dollar makes a difference in the lives of young people in our community. Click here to donate.

What is a scholarship fund?

Scholarship funds are charitable accounts established at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona by individuals or organizations for the purpose of helping students pay for their higher education. Scholarships funds must comply with IRS guidelines. Scholarships do not need to be repaid by the recipients.

Are only graduating high school seniors eligible?

This depends on the specific scholarship. See the eligibility criteria for each scholarship on our website to determine who is eligible.  The CFSA General Scholarship is open to all graduates of Southern Arizona high schools from any year.

What are my chances of receiving a scholarship?

While CFSA would like to award a scholarship to all eligible applicants, the availability of funds limits the number of awards made each year. An applicant’s chance of receiving a scholarship depends on the number of applicants and the competitiveness of the applicant pool. These factors change each year. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements only guarantees that an applicant will be considered for the scholarship, not that they will receive one.

If I am awarded a scholarship, do I receive the check?

No. Scholarships are paid to the financial aid office of the recipient’s school upon return of a Scholarship Agreement. IRS guidelines prohibit CFSA from making awards directly to a recipient.

If I receive a scholarship one year, will I automatically receive an award the following year?

No. Some scholarships are not renewable. Others allow for renewal, but require submission of a new application each year. The scholarship agreement will confirm whether a scholarship award is eligible for renewal. Renewal, when possible, requires demonstration of continued eligibility.

Can I apply for a scholarship directly to one of CFSA's fundholders?

No. Fundholders are prohibited by IRS regulations from selecting scholarship recipients. All scholarship applications must be submitted directly to the Community Foundation and are reviewed by a committee of community members who determine the recipients.

How is financial need determined?

CFSA uses the Student Aid Report from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the primary determinant of financial need. Applicants also have the opportunity to provide additional information relevant to their financial need.

Applicants who are not eligible to complete the FAFSA may still apply for CFSA scholarships. Their financial need will be evaluated based on the additional information they provide.

What documents do I need to complete the online application?
  • A current transcript (high school or university, as appropriate)
  • The Student Aid Report (SAR) from the FAFSA, if available.
  • The Estimated Cost of Attendance at your institution.
  • For first-time applicants, a letter of recommendation.
  • For corporate scholarships, proof of eligibility.
What is the application timeline?

Applications typically open in January each year. Check back in December 2020 for information regarding the 2021-2022 school year application timeline.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Notification of awards will be made in mid-May.

What are my responsibilities if I am chosen as a recipient?

If selected to receive a scholarship, you will be notified by CFSA staff. You must complete a Scholarship Agreement which outlines the terms and conditions of the scholarship and confirms your enrollment information. We also ask for a digital photo and thank you letter that we may share with the scholarship donor(s).

Failure to return to Scholarship Agreement by the specified date will be interpreted as the recipient declining the scholarship.

How and when are checks issued?

Checks are issued directly to the financial aid office at the recipient’s institution upon receipt of the Scholarship Agreement. Checks are normally sent by June 30, though many universities will not apply the funds to a student’s account until the beginning of fall semester.

If you have not received your scholarship funds in your student account by the beginning of the semester, please contact first your financial aid office then, if necessary, the Community Foundation.