Frequently Asked Questions about BCF Scholarship Programs

What scholarships and awards does BCF administer?

BCF awards 20 High Hopes scholarships to Berkeley students attending a four-year college or university.

BCF also administers the Jerry L. Adams Scholarship for Berkeley Community College Students transferring to four-year institutions.

How much money is given for a High Hopes Scholarship?

The High Hopes Scholarships are $4,000 a year for four years of college for a total of $16,000 per student.

What are the qualifications for a High Hopes Scholarship?

The qualifications are fully set forth on the High Hopes Scholarship Application Guide.  You must demonstrate financial need and be planning to attend an accredited four-year college or university in the United States as a full-time student, beginning in the Fall of 2014.

What are the qualifications for the Berkeley High School Class of 1951 Award?

The qualifications for this award are the same as for a High Hopes Scholarship, except that the applicant must have a 3.5 grade point average through high school.

Do I have to be a Berkeley High School senior?

You have to be a senior, attending a Berkeley public high school program, which includes Berkeley High School, B-Tech or independent study monitored by Berkeley High School.

Do I have to be a U.S citizen to apply?


Do I have to be starting college in the Fall of 2014?


Do I have to go to a four-year college or university?


Do I have to attend college full-time?


Do I have to go a school in the Bay Area?

No. You can go to any accredited 4-year college or university in the United States.

Do I have to go to a school in California?

No. You can go to any accredited 4-year college or university in the United States.

Are the scholarships and awards based on financial need?


Can I combine the BCF grants with other scholarship money?

Yes. We presume that the BCF grants will cover the gap between what students receive from other sources and what they need to cover the full costs of college, which now average over $22,000 per year at a public university. Because many of the students applying for BCF funds will receive financial aid from a variety of sources covering approximately 60% of these costs, the BCF funds should help bridge the remaining gap. We hope this will allow students to reduce the amount of money they and their families need to borrow and/or reduce their need to work during college.

BCF will ask for information (and confirmation) about other scholarships and loans available to applicants for High Hopes Scholarships.

What if I get a full scholarship from some other source? Can I still get a BCF scholarship?

If your entire college costs are covered, i.e., you receive a Gates Millennium Fellowship, you cannot also receive a BCF grant. The people who interview you will ask you about other sources of funds for college.

When are the interviews?

All applicants being considered for BCF funds will be interviewed in May. We expect that you will know where you have been admitted and the scope of your financial aid package by the date of the interview.

Will all applicants be interviewed?

Depending on the number of applications received, some students who apply may not be interviewed, but will be informed in writing that they are not being considered to receive an award. The awards are competitive and we expect to receive applications from more students than we can interview and will interview more students than the number of scholarships we will award.

What will happen at the interview?

The interviews will be conducted by members of the BCF Board and other members of the Berkeley community. They will last between 20-30 minutes and be conducted in locations close to Berkeley High School. The interviewers will have already read the applications of the students they meet.

If I get a High Hopes Scholarship, do I get a mentor?


What does the mentor do?

BCF selects mentors from the community to help High Hopes recipients succeed in college. Mentors will be trained by BCF and will spend between 3-5 hours a month communicating (generally by phone or email) with their designated students. They will provide a sounding board and will try to connect students with the resources they need to succeed in college. We expect mentors to meet with their students face-to-face twice a year (summer and winter break). We try to match mentors with students based on their interests and background.

What are my responsibilities toward my mentor?

You need to stay in contact with your mentor by phone or email and meet in person over breaks from school if you are back in the Bay Area. If you fail to communicate with your mentor and BCF, your scholarship may be revoked.

Do I have any other responsibilities if I get a High Hopes Scholarship?

There is an Award Ceremony in June, an orientation meeting for scholars and mentors in August and a reception before the second semester begins. You must attend all of them. You are also expected to write a letter or email to your donor(s) after each semester, keeping them up-to- date on your college experiences. You are required to submit copies of your transcript to BCF after each quarter or semester and will not receive your next check until the transcript has been received. You must continue to attend a four -year college full-time and maintain a 2.25 GPA to continue to receive funds.

When do I receive the funds?

Checks will be distributed directly to recipients at the beginning of each semester ($2,000 disbursed twice a year for 4 years). Students can use these funds only for education-related expenses and BCF will verify that the student continues to need on-going financial support over the 4 years of college. Students must maintain a 2.25 grade point average in college, continue to attend a four year college full-time, submit an up-to-date transcript and maintain contact with their mentors and donors to receive the next disbursement of funds.

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